Calm down, dear! You can stay with Jodie Kidd

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The Independent Online

Much concern among perma-tanned slebs who frequent the Sandy Lane hotel in Barbados, about rumoured industrial action at the five-star joint in March to coincide with the Cricket World Cup there.

Help has arrived in the admirable form of the supermodel Jodie Kidd. At the London launch of the Holders Barbados arts festival - organised by her mother, Wendy Kidd - Jodie consoled celebrities worried they'll find themselves dragging luxury suitcases through the silver sand in search of a room.

"Poor Michael [Winner], he's been very ill. Of course he could stay with us," she said. Although she gave a nervous laugh afterward.

And how about another Sandy Lane regular, Simon Cowell? "I don't know Simon that well," she conceded, "but he'd be fun to have around." Kidd added that the gorilla-chested pop baron (my words) will get an invitation in the post the moment he organises a Barbados Idol competition with her on the judging panel.

The whole Kidd family mucks in to set up the Holders festival, which this year includes Sir Tim Rice and the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Jodie was practising her family duties at the launch party, insisting: "I was here really early, helping Mum put out all the chairs and laying the tables."

I hope that Messrs Cowell and Winner (get well soon) have a splendid vacation chez Kidd; consider Pandora's intervention a public service, gents. And should they be unable to take up your kind offer, Jodie ... well, the e-mail address is at the top. Bottoms up!

Blumenthal bites off more than he can chew

When dining at The Fat Duck in Bray, home to gastro-scientist Heston Blumenthal, don't send back the bacon-and-egg ice cream or sweetbreads coated in fried baby eel.

Asked in an interview with Arena magazine about the "last time you fired a gun", the chef replies: "It's a long story because I ... actually, I better not do that one. Let's just say I had some dodgy people turn up to my parents' house."

Blumenthal is in Las Vegas on business and unfortunately unable to elaborate. When he returns, I suspect that even a firearm would not be enough to protect him from his wife, when she reads his exposé of how she "returns a pair of shoes she's been wearing for two years, says, 'They're not working', and somehow gets replacements."

Thanks, darling.

Wood on fire for Jimi's guitar

The security guards at Harrods, more used to stopping posh shoplifters from nicking tins of caviar, seem to enjoy shielding rock stars from screaming girl groupies. The store's Harrods Rocks guitar exhibition opened at the weekend and Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood could be found in the Dom Perignon bar surrounded by his customary large entourage of "glamazon" blondes.

Instruments played and signed by the likes of Carlos Santana, The Edge and Keith Richards are on display, alongside others customised by Sir Peter Blake, Rankin, Lord Richard Rogers, David LaChapelle, Bryan Adams and Jennifer Lopez.

"I want to buy one of Jimi Hendrix's guitars," Wood told Pandora, after a rendition of "Start Me Up". "I used to own one of his guitars when I shared a flat with him in London." Effortless.

High on power

"Your paper called me a love rat!" hissed Lembit Opik, when Pandora cornered him at the Parliamentary Palace of Varieties, a politicians' talent (?) show in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Reaching into his right pocket, he added: "I'll be having a little blow on this" - producing a silver harmonica. Hazel Blears cried off her tap-dancing routine. An "Afro" wig transformed Stephen Pound into Brian May.

Labour rebel Bob Marshall-Andrews QC, the boil on Tony Blair's left buttock, delivered a 15-minute monologue in the persona of an illegal immigrant from "Bogostan" imprisoned for 20 years for kidnapping, drug-dealing, etc.

He was told to vacate his soft-porn-papered cell because they needed it for someone very important, "Mr Big", who hadn't been selling cannabis, coke or heroin but something called "peerage". Tag: "It's very expensive, but one deal and you're high forever."

Browne under pink pressure

Last week, the gay affairs website Pink News rather unkindly exaggerated Ruth Kelly's age after the Catholic minister (for equality) threw spanners into the machinery of gay adoption.

I hear of another "pink pressure" gag, this one at the expense of our similarly Vatican-facing Defence Secretary, Des Browne.

Fellow MPs chuckle that Browne is under pressure from several Scottish Catholic bishops, who have appealed to their congregations to campaign against the Government's proposed new nuclear weapons to replace Trident.

"Right," said one conspirator, a fellow MP, "let's start a rumour that nuclear weapons are gay. That should give Des something to think about."

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