It’s World Book Day and everyone is dressing up as their favourite literary characters. Except for the Culture Secretary, who hasn’t read any books.
Nadine Dorries – professional drunk, part-time Culture Secretary and amateur flamingo impersonator – has been told she needs to take part in this year’s World Book Day festivities.
“It’s vital that the Minister of Culture is seen to be actively involved in this celebration of reading,” said Ms Dorries’ advisor, Simon Williams.
“I explained this to Nadine at ten o’clock yesterday morning – that’s when she’s at her most lucid at it falls halfway between her champagne breakfast and the scotch she has for elevenses.
“‘So who’s your favourite book character?’ I asked her
“She stared at me, a glaze over her eyes of which Mary Berry would be proud.
“‘Why are you asking me that?’ she said, her default response to any and all questions (oh, the baffled looks on waiters’ faces when they come to take her order).
“‘Because tomorrow is World Book Day,’ I explained patiently. ‘And you need to dress up as something book-related.
“‘Okay,’ she said. ‘How about Paul McCartney?’
“‘No, he’s an actual man,’ I replied.
“‘She’s from a film.’
“At this point I snapped.
“‘You must know something about books!’ I yelled. ‘You’ve written several novels, for God’s sake!’
“‘Oh, that was an accident,’ she said. ‘One morning, after a particularly heavy night of red wine and fondue, I vomited all over my laptop. Little chunks of cheese hit the keys and I had the results published. Does that help at all?’
“I eventually got her to agree to dress up as a bookcase by pretending it was also World IKEA Day.
“I should have known she’s not a book person given her huge support for the PM.
“She obviously prefers things without spines.”