'If the trade of the gossip columnist is trivial, then all life is trivial' -- Nigel DempsterNo one is more responsible for Britain's current obsession with celebrity culture than the late, great gossip columnist Nigel Dempster (1941-2007). For a quarter of a century, as the editor of the Daily Mail's Diary, he was the man perfectly placed and qualified to record -- and accelerate -- the end of the age of deference. Indeed, for many people Dempster's Diary was the Mail. His page, with its scurrilous revelations about the great, the good, and the not-so good, was the only one to read.Bursting on to the national stage in the Seventies, in his kipper ties and too-tight suits, Dempster was the people's cad - exposing the infidelities of Harold Pinter and Lady Antonia Fraser or James Goldsmith and Annabel Birley, paying tipsters like the bouffant Lord Lichfield with crates of champagne. He was a consummate journalist, too, breaking such then-huge stories as the collapse of Princess Margaret's marriage and the resignation of Harold Wilson. But for all his convivial charm and canny ability to infiltrate the smart set, Dempster led a strangely isolated life. Marred by broken relationships and a dependence on drink, its ending was both pitiful and inspiring. In this riveting study of a man and his milieu, Tim Willis treats Dempster's bibulous journey through old Fleet Street and Society as a tragi-comic romp. And through it, he provides a portrait of a changing world.