- Ed Miliband is confidently expected to attend the Acevo party at Labour's conference in Liverpool, not least because sponsorship by the trade union Community has upped the quality of the booze and stretched to the hiring of a Beatles tribute band. But this raises the intriguing question of the erudite former third sector minister's musical tastes (if he has any, that is). He's surely too young to have been into the Fab Four first time round, and you can't quite see him as a drum and bass or dubstep fan. Radiohead and Coldplay, perhaps? Or just a nice long Mahler symphony while curled up with a tome of political philosophy? The usual At Large crumpled fiver for the inside track on this one.
- Wit is not the everyday territory of the Charities Aid Foundation, but they've excelled themselves with a wheeze for the party conferences. They spotted figures from Bristol University and Cass Business School showing that UK households spend as much on cheese as on charity - 0.4 per cent of household outgoings - and have devised an unusual game for people to play at the CAF stand. You spin a wheel of cheese (not a real one) which lands on mind-boggling questions about charity and cheese. The reward is a nice bit of cheddar or brie to fuel you onwards through the parties and fringe events.
- Those who think the word 'chugging' is a dreadful slur on charities and fundraising should brace themselves for another one: Rosamund Urwin, a columnist on the London Evening Standard, last week described door-to-door fundraisers as 'churglars'. You can dodge chuggers in the street, she complains, but the only way to avoid churglars is the more problematic tactic of never being at home. The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association is unmoved, tweeting that it coined the word itself some years ago.
- The civil society minister, Nick Hurd, opened a speech last week saying he was going to talk about the general funding environment. Pause. Worried glance at David Senior, the Action Planning conference organiser. "Is that right?" Hurd asked. Yes, came the reply. Hurd: "I'm never entirely sure." They laughed.
So was this the usual panto from the thespian manque, or are the demands of office addling his brain?