A Childish spat: 'Whingy' White calls in the lawyers

A week after Pandora first revealed details of hostilities between the two, White has taken legal action against the Aquarium, an east London art gallery that exhibits Childish's work.

At issue: the gallery's decision to sell a "tribute" poster commemorating the row, which cheekily purports to promote a fictional boxing bout between "bitter" Billy Childish and Jack "whingy" White.

Lawyers acting for the White Stripes claim that the poster violates their intellectual property rights. They have also prevented the internet auction site eBay from offering them for sale.

"It was just a bit of fun but these people don't seem to have a sense of humour," complains the gallery owner, Steven Lowe.

"I did the poster to entertain Billy and our customers really, but then we go and get this letter. I've written to the White Stripes' management to see exactly what copyright we're infringing."

The incident marks an escalation in a row which began when Childish, a musician, artist and poet, told GQ : "I can't listen to Jack's stuff."

White responded by using his internet site to accuse "lonely" Childish of "plagiarism" and "garage rock bitterness".

Said White's spokesman last night: "This particular poster was a bootleg and that is why it was removed from sale."

'Daddy Cool' goes missing for summer

Reports of Boney M's imminent return to trendiness appear to have been exaggerated.

The producers of Daddy Cool, a West End musical about the 1970s power-pop combo have delayed their opening night, a highlight of next month's showbusiness calendar, until September.

It's bad news for the stars who were recruited to their cast, who are already in the middle of rehearsals. They include the EastEnders actress Michelle Collins, the pop star Javine, and a singer called Harvey from the band So Solid Crew.

Asked about the delay, the producer Robert Mackintosh blames problems with finer details of the script.

"It was still only 80 per cent right," he says. "As you only get one shot at a first night, we felt it would be best if we postponed.

"Unfortunately, September's the earliest we can now go for, since the summer's a terrible time to open in the West End."

He'll need deep pockets. The Shaftesbury Theatre, the show's venue, has now been empty since mid-January.

* The recent "Dolly-gate" case is about to send a ripple through the fusty world of publishing.

In July, Little Brown are scheduled to release After Dolly, a guide to stem-cell technology by Professor Ian Wilmut, the "father" of Dolly the sheep.

Unfortunately, last week, Professor Wilmut made headlines by telling an employment tribunal: "I did not create Dolly."

Instead, he admitted that one colleague, Dr Keith Campbell, devised the idea of freezing cells for cloning, while another, Bill Ritchie, carried out the crucial experiments.

All of which threatens to make things awkward for After Dolly, which will carry an entire chapter on the world's first cloned mammal.

Sources at the publisher say their lawyers are keeping a "weather eye" on the employment tribunal.

"Thankfully, Wilmut's manuscript gives credit where it's due," I'm told. "So with a bit of luck, the pulping machine won't be called for." Here's hoping!

* Like every recent Spectator editor before him, Matthew D'Ancona faces an old conundrum: what to do with Taki.

The "high-life" columnist's right-wingery has a habit of causing bother. In 2003, a police hate crimes unit investigated his description of "black thugs, sons of black thugs and grandsons of black thugs".

Now the Greek swordsman is telling chums that his Speccy days are numbered. "If D'Ancona gets rid, he'll try to go out with a bang," says one.

All of which could be fun. In this week's American Conservative, Taki expresses a desire to see "Christians torching the Saudi embassy, or sawing off the head of some mad mullah preaching hate in Tottenham."

* The new-look Conservatives might have lurched to the left, but it's come to something when they start singing socialist anthems.

On Saturday, the party's chief whip, Patrick McLoughlin, did just that, though, belting out "The Red Flag" at a sing-song in his native Derbyshire.

The occasion was a memorial service for a local Labour activist called Bill Moore.

"Bill was an old-fashioned socialist who ended his political life as an Independent, raging against Tony Blair," I'm told. "The end of the ceremony was marked by a rendition of "The Red Flag". McLoughlin obviously decided it would be best not to sulk, and was to be seen singing, slightly sheepishly."

Sources close to the Tory grandee deny that he knows the words, though. "Patrick was provided with a crib sheet," I'm told.

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