Coe discovers that Olympic shooting events are 'illegal'

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According to an article due to appear in the next issue of The Field magazine, the law even calls into question whether the events - the 50-metre men's, the rapid fire, and the women's 25-metre - will be permitted during the Olympics themselves.

A shooting lobby group, the Sportsman's Association, has written to the International Olympic Committee, calling on them to campaign for a change in the law, which dates from the Dunblane high school murders.

"Please use what influence you can to persuade the British Government to amend the two Firearms Acts of 1997," reads their letter. "So that the British people may, in line with the Olympic ideal, prepare themselves properly for the Olympic Games."

According to a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, there is unlikely to be any such change.

However, he points out that the Firearms Act will allow the home secretary of the day to make a special allowance for the duration of the Games. "It's true that they can't train or practise in this country," he admits.

"But the Home Secretary has indicated that the events will take place for the Olympics themselves."

* The rap artist formerly known as Puff Daddy has had more names (or "corporate identities", as cynics might say) than Pandora has had hot meals.

In the course of his career, he has been called Puffy, plain old Sean Combs and, until yesterday, P Diddy. But it's been a little while at least since he last changed his moniker.

Now, clearly anxious not to disappoint, the redtops' favourite music mogul has declared he wishes to be known simply as Diddy.

"One word. Five letters. Period," he explains, eloquently.

His last change of mantle, back in 2003, has been causing him growing concern. I need to simplify things," he goes on.

"I'd notice that people were uncomfortable when I'd meet them for the first time, and they'd ask me what they should call me. I even started to get confused myself. I realised I had a problem. Let's just say the name P Diddy didn't quite flow."

Not like Diddy does.

* Pete Townshend made his name smashing guitars on stage, so it is good to see the old boy still has it in him.

These days, however, the Who guitarist, who famously destroyed instruments with carefree abandon in the group's Sixties' heyday, prefers to attach himself to more worthy causes. The veteran rocker has agreed to take his frustration out on a Gibson guitar in aid of a children's charity, the Pediatric Epilepsy Project.

"Pete doesn't tend to smash up guitars any more, but he made an exception in this case as it was such for a good cause," I'm told. "True to form, when it came to destroying the instrument at his studio, he didn't hold back. The guitar is now well and truly messed up."

It is apparently worth more money in small pieces, and is to be auctioned for the charity.

* Just days after the Mann Booker Prize longlist was announced, sniping in the literary world has already begun.

Nicholas Mosley - son of Oswald, and a nominee for the first ever Booker back in 1969 - steps forward to take a swipe at this year's hopefuls.

"Ian McEwan's novels don't make any sense as far as I can see," he tells me, charitably.

"His plots are ludicrous. As for Julian Barnes, I can't get on with his books at all. I hear his latest is something to do with Conan Doyle. So what? Who cares?"

Neither McEwan nor Barnes should be too upset by this. In 1991, Mosley was asked to sit on the Booker judging panel, but resigned when none of his favourite books was included in the shortlist.

* In a bid to toughen up his image, the diminutive jazz pianist Jamie Cullum has called in a selection of trendy collaborators for his latest album.

Among others, Cullum worked with the tough front man of the rap group N* E* R* D, Pharrell Williams, recently named the Best Dressed Man in the World by Esquire magazine.

Sadly, it turns out that their composition (an edgy track called "Wifey") has now been dropped from Cullum's album, after the two musicians' publishing companies couldn't agree on the legal details in time for the track to make it onto the finished record.

"I'm still in touch with Pharrell," explains Cullum. "But I don't know where our collaboration will end up."

Pandora can only leave you to speculate.