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'Dreamboat' Dave replies

David Normington, head honcho at the Department for Education and Skills, aka the Smiling Assassin, dances a mean tango, likes Dusty Springfield and met his future wife in Barbara Castle's bedroom.

This is much less salacious than it seems. Government departments had ministerial rest rooms in the days of interminable beer-and-sandwich meetings. Overcrowding meant that Normington found himself working at a fancy dressing table, perched on an ornate chair.

These revelations and more come courtesy of an obsequious interview in fb, the DFES house magazine. This was the penultimate question: "Did you know your nicknames are Rocking DJ (David John); Stormin' Normington; Homeboy and Dreamboat?" (Normington's incredulous response: "Dreamboat?") Impossible to surpass such brown-nosing? The shameless interviewer continues: "Women in the London office called you that and, I hear, hung around corridors in the hope of bumping into you." Dreamboat's answer is robust. "All I can say is 'how sad. Get a life!'"

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