THE ECCENTRIC Paco Rabanne's senseless trashing of Stella McCartney has only temporally deflected interest from a livelier issue on Planet Fashionista. Rabanne has already bought in two young men with complex Greek names to run his eponymous ready-to-wear division. But now that Wacko Paco qualifies for a London bus pass, who'll assume control of his flagship couture label? One school says it's a loss-leader and should shut. The other likes the idea of the handle being passed on - in the tradition of Galliano, McQueen and, indeed, McCartney herself at Chloe - to a talented fresh face. How about Hussein Chalayan? This 29-year-old Turkish-Cypriot-born Brit has a retro-futurist sensibility that's in tune with the Zeitgeist, and suggests rhythm with Rabanne's own predilection for outer space.
DRUG PEDLARS II. This time it's business. Richard Virenque, sports fans will recall, left the Tour de France last year under a cloud of drug-related allegations. They are due to be resolved in court in January. This year race organisers excluded him from the invitation-only tournament. But UCI, cycling's equivalent of Fifa, ruled that they couldn't. With the wheels off the ban, Virenque hit the cranks and is currently winning the King of the Mountains Pyrenees section. You'll also be astounded to learn that Virenque has cannily trade-marked his name... to produce "pharmaceutical products".
THE CAR POET Andrew Cunningham's model verse today highlights the BMW Z3: "OK; you're great; I'm gob-smacked, I'll admit;/ but face the facts, you're owned by little twits;/ by dull, rich nonentities at play/ who couldn't turn heads any other way."
CUE THE Twilight Zone sig tune: in 1985 JFK Jr was an aspiring thesp, and appeared in the Irish Arts Centre's production of Brian Friel's Winners. He and his co-star played lovers who drowned.
TONY BOOTH, the nation's No 1 father-in-law and jaw, has agreed to address the firm-left Tribune event at Bournemouth's Winter Gardens during the Red Party's conference. The Millbank Mafia will collectively hit the Valium at 1900 hrs on 22 September.
OH, AND did someone say "Henry Root"? Rupert Fawcett mailed Spy-style spoof letters to celebs. Posing as "Oscar Wendlow", who wants to switch from driving a cab to reading the news, he writes to Michael Buerk. Here, (from The Letters of Oscar Wendlow, published today by Boxtree) is Buerk's hand-written reply:
"Dear Oscar: You'd hate it. Trust me, it's like cabbing without the variety - and the only people you get to meet are BBC people. Real life out there on the streets is much more interesting, even if it does throw up in the back of the cab on Saturday nights.
"Newscasting is a doddle - it's basically just a matter of reading out loud. Any gabby cabby could do it - particularly with their famous grasp of current affairs. It's tricky when things start to go wrong - but then your present job is, too, I dare say.
"The money's not bad; more than the job's worth, to be frank - but don't tell the BBC or ITN. Enough, anyway, to return your fiver. It was a kind thought, but if I kept it I would end up over-tipping cabbies out of guilt, and it would cost me more in the long run.
All the best,
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