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West End Extra - THE XTRA DIARY
Published: 27 November 2009
One of the fleet of John Lewis electric shuttle buses One of the fleet of John Lewis electric shuttle buses
Certain postcodes
green with envy

IF our national identity were a department store, John Lewis would be in with a good shout.
Dependable, understated, reserved, the sort of qualities we like to imagine make up our national psyche.
This year JL in Oxford Street is strengthening up its green credentials by laying on a fleet of electric shuttle buses for its more conscientious customers. The assumption that all these eco-shoppers are confined to just three postcodes: Primrose Hill, St John’s Wood and Holland Park, may rankle other customers.
If you live in unglamorous sarf London, looks like you’ll have to cart your white goods on the top of the bus.
Counts Diary out then. What we want to know are when these leather-seated, wi-fi’d up chariots (GUTSi shuttles is their official name, see above) are going to be more democratically spread? It costs £5 for a ride and runs between 10am and 4.30pm. London mayor Boris Johnson is a fan. He said: “It is fantastic shoppers will be able to travel in style this Christmas in a super, clean and green electric shuttle bus.”

Is Bonnie really at a loss for words?

FRESH from her Big British Castle showdown with Nick Griffin on Question Time, author and playwright Bonnie Greer was in the all the more comfortable surroundings of the Sanctum Hotel in Soho this week to launch her new book Obama Music.
Ms Greer could be said to be cashing in on the great man’s marketability, although her book doesn’t seem to have that much to do with the US president. Still, a shared age, culture, and musical history in the south side of Chicago is enough, we concede.
She was in attendance on Tuesday evening along with the artist Keira Rathbone who created the spectacular cover image of the book (above) with her signature “typewriter” style.
Ms Rathbone spent hours familiarising herself with the world’s most famous face before setting to work on the portrait.
Praising the work, Ms Greer said: “Keira is one of the most influential artists working today. It’s rare that a writer can find and then work with a visual artist who feels a work and can then translate it. Looking at her artwork during the finishing stages of the book, I gained an even clearer idea of what I was trying to do. That’s the highest form of collaboration to me. Working with Keira was like having someone finish my sentences before I could begin to know what to say.”

Greetings from Al

REMEMBER Al Pillay: camp, hair gel, diva-ish.
Well he’s back.
The self-proclaimed “micro celebrity and galactic talent” has been working on his inimitable drawing skills to bring out a range of 12 rather unusual greetings cards in time for Christmas.
The cards feature caricatures of showbiz celebs like Mae West, Danny La Rue and Barbra Streisand and are now available to buy from the Dress Circle store in Covent Garden.
If you’re fed up with nativity scenes and snowmen, a trip to Dress Circle could be just the tonic.

How it all clicked for Wolfgang - Gulliver

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