Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Any Other Business

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Any Other Business

Article excerpt

Byline: By Peter Young

Newcastle councillor David Wood has returned from the US with a signed copy of ex-president Bill Clinton's autobiography, My Life.

The Labour councillor for Walker also managed to fulfil a long held ambition when he visited Elvis Presley's Memphis mansion, Graceland.

Back to Mr Clinton, though. Coun Wood was a guest at the opening of the new Bill Clinton presidential centre and library in Little Rock, Arkansas, last year and he took the book hoping to get it signed. He had no luck but left the book with one of the Clinton team, John Yates, an attorney in Little Rock, who said he would get it signed.

A year later, Coun Wood and wife Margaret met up with John in Little Rock where he presented him with the book, signed by Mr Clinton, with a personal message to Coun Wood. However, the main purpose of the trip was the pilgrimage to Memphis where Coun Wood, 55, a big Elvis fan, was determined to pay homage to the King.

The couple paid $28 each for a guided tour of Graceland, visited the Peabody Hotel where there's a display of Elvis clothes in the lobby, and went to the Sun Studio where Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash began their careers.

"I'm a big Elvis fan and I thought it was terrific though Margaret said it was all a bit sad," said Coun Wood.

Blaydon Labour MP Dave Anderson, an outspoken critic of public-private sector partnerships, was delighted when his office called to tell him he'd been chosen to sit on a European Standing Committee on PPPs.

His euphoria didn't last long. When he picked up the paperwork he discovered the PPPs involved were in fact pre-packed products.

"After 10 years of talk, I thought this was a chance to get my teeth into the problem," he said. "How wrong can you be. So much for the class struggle."

Newcastle Council's deputy Labour leader, Coun Nick Forbes, who was at Westminster for an anti-smoking lobby, dropped into the Commons bar for a pint with Hartlepool MP Iain Wright. …

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