Hero Brown's Column

Oh how we laughed (in the second half anyway). Steve Coogan's new stand-up show, "The Man Who Thinks He's It", created quite a stir this week when it opened in the West End. Yours truly did her duty and went along for the opening night, along with a celebrity audience whose collective cashflow could sort out the entire Russian deficit. Plus change for bortsch all round.

Goldie, whose teeth alone must be worth several thousand, was posing alongside Kate Moss; the Gallagher brothers, who collectively managed to raise one bushy eyebrow and a couple of fingers for the photographers outside the Lyceum Theatre, were on comparatively good behaviour for their mum (no tears, then). Meanwhile, a rather meek-looking Jamie Theakston lumbered along with All Saints' Nicole Appleton, along with enough comedians to keep the British Psychiatric Society in business for the next five years.

Alan Partridge and friends were on form, and while Kate Moss seemed to enjoy the ribbing of her pals when her on-off amour Johnny Depp flashed up on screen, Liam Gallagher went over to the dark side on viewing a three second imitation of his walk. His eloquent expression of his dismay and disappointment outside the theatre - "It was f***ing terrible!" - has, thanks to The Big Breakfast "news", already entered official Liam folklore.

Still, the general reaction was kinder to Coogan, who's riding it for what it's worth. At the after-party he quietly admitted, with careful look over shoulder at fellow comics Ben Elton and Skinner and Baddiel, "I'm dipping my toe in other areas." Which sounds rather disgusting but, according to my spies, is firm evidence that he's trying to break into film. Let's just hope that those toe-athletics don't make it onto celluloid.

Nicholas The Horse Whisperer Evans is a lucky mucker. Come on, what's so difficult? You scribble a few chapters, add a few horses, a cowboy or two from Montana and a smattering of romance and watch your book sales go through the roof.

Evans obviously knows a good plot when he sees it because his new book, The Loop, keeps the same formula. This time it's wolves, not horses, we're still in Montana and there's an affair (this time between an older woman and a teenager - enough material there to keep the women's mags going for months).

The book launch this week in the West End was full of the usual superlatives, the agent virtually dribbling with gratitude while Evans stood sternly in long black jacket, eyes drilled to the floor with hands clasped together, looking like an undertaker at a particularly grisly funeral.

Still, he cheered up when the official stuff was out the way and, flushed with champagne, turned out to be very good-natured. "Oh God, I hope you're going to write something nice!" he mumbled hopefully. Well, love, there's no guarantees. But then again, a man who's sold a million books and whose most famous friends are still Trevor Eve and that bird from the Gold Blend ads has got to have something going for him.

The launch of John Mortimer's new book, The Sound of Trumpets, was held in a function room which could easily have doubled as a community badminton court. I half expected Mr Mortimer to step out in his best whites, but no such luck. Dressed in blazer and tie, Mortimer enjoyed the attention as old friends such as David Lodge, Roy Jenkins and PD James (resplendently knocking back the champers) paid their respects. "We've known each other for years," PD said. "Great man, even greater writer." Alas, the Kinnocks, close friends of Morty apparently, couldn't make it. They were, poor loves, stuck in their villa in the south of France. Those European parliamentarians just don't know when to stop working, do they?

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