Why Corbyn is a big fan of the Osmonds! CRAIG BROWN on nine things you didn’t know about the Labour leader
1 Jeremy Corbyn first rose to prominence playing second bass for the Seventies prog-rock band Hawkwind, best known for their lengthy hit Silver Machine.
Over the years, there has been a great deal of speculation as to the exact nature of the ‘silver machine’. Corbyn recently confided to friends that it was, in fact, a washing-machine. ‘They can sometimes come in very handy, particularly on an eco-wash,’ he told friends.
2 His first marriage was to a political activist. They met at a demonstration. Sadly, the marriage did not last long.
Jeremy Corbyn first rose to prominence playing second bass for the Seventies prog-rock band Hawkwind, best known for their lengthy hit Silver Machine
‘It transpired that Jeremy and I were, politically speaking, miles apart. We had stupidly forgotten to look at each other’s placards. Some time later, we discovered that while his said “Against”, mine said “For”, says Ann Widdecombe. ‘It’s a crying shame, because in other ways we were peas in a pod.’
3 His election as leader of the Labour Party was as much of a surprise to Corbyn as it was to everybody else. Up to that point, he had been booked to appear in a theatrical revival of the long- running TV show Steptoe And Son at the Theatre Royal, Brighton, playing the role of the elder Steptoe. ‘Jeremy brought real pathos to the part,’ says the show’s producer.
Sadly, he was obliged to pull out of this long-standing commitment. ‘The demands of Westminster would have wreaked havoc on the Wednesday matinees,’ he explained.
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But in a gesture of goodwill, the theatre management let him keep two of his costumes — a threadbare suit and a moth-eaten old jersey. To this day, he wears them when entertaining foreign dignitaries.
4 Many have wrongly supposed that Corbyn wears his trademark peaked cap in tribute to Lenin. In fact, it was inspired by Donny Osmond making his first appearance on Top Of The Pops singing Puppy Love in 1972.
‘Let it never be forgotten that it was the month of the counter-insurgence in Nicaragua,’ he told The Morning Star, ‘and I was determined to “do my bit” to commemorate the event by wearing a garment associated with the time.’
To this day, he can sometimes be seen silently mouthing the lyrics to Puppy Love as a confidence-booster before getting up to challenge Theresa May at the Dispatch Box.
5 A searing new biography of Jeremy Corbyn claims that, for all his public support of the feminist cause, he once failed to do the washing up, even though his wife at the time had done the cooking.
Many have wrongly supposed that Corbyn wears his trademark peaked cap in tribute to Lenin. In fact, it was inspired by Donny Osmond (pictured) making his first appearance on Top Of The Pops singing Puppy Love in 1972
‘It was a shocking betrayal of feminist values,’ confides a former aide. Corbyn later claimed to have helped with the drying, but many now believe that he merely left the plates on a rack to dry themselves.
6 Every night, Corbyn still sleeps in the same sleeping-bag he has had since his 18th birthday.
‘Frankly, I’d have a restless night in anything else,’ he tells friends.
The sleeping bag is bedecked with badges from all the different countries of the world he has visited over the years, including Cuba, Venezuela and East Germany. Contrary to speculation, he launders his sleeping bag regularly.
‘I just pop it into my silver machine on the first Tuesday in November, and it comes up beautiful, though obviously it loses a bit of its character in the process,’ he says.
7 Corbyn once owned a koi carp called Lenin and a goldfish called Trotsky, but, left unobserved one afternoon, the one ate the other. However, Corbyn applauded Lenin, and awarded him more spacious accommodation, saying that such unfortunate events were a necessary part of any social revolution.
8 Senior aide Seumas Milne is quick to rebuff any suggestion that Jeremy Corbyn is dim, as some of his critics have suggested.
‘In fact, I’ve seen Jeremy finish his Rubik’s Cube in five minutes,’ counters Milne. ‘Though it would obviously take him quite a bit longer to get all the different colours into place.’
9 This year marks Corbyn’s third anniversary as Chair of the All-Party Jeremy Group, an informal gathering of MPs who share the same christian name. Initiated by Jeremy Thorpe in 1971, the group currently boasts Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt as its treasurer.
The speaker at this year’s annual JD, or Jeremy Dinner, was due to be Jeremy Clarkson, but following strong objections from the Leader of the Opposition’s office, Jeremy Irons was invited instead.
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