Geldof tells Spice Girls: 'What do you think we are - a charity?'

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* Bob Geldof has blown a resounding raspberry at the biggest showbusiness "story" of the year so far. For despite all the speculation, he says there's absolutely no chance of the Spice Girls' reforming for next month's Live8 concert in London.

* Bob Geldof has blown a resounding raspberry at the biggest showbusiness "story" of the year so far. For despite all the speculation, he says there's absolutely no chance of the Spice Girls' reforming for next month's Live8 concert in London.

At the Hay Festival on Saturday, Sir Bob said he'd put the kybosh on the mooted pop comeback because - oh, the shame! - Geri Halliwell, Victoria Beckham and chums simply aren't popular any more.

Although the Spice Girls may guarantee column inches, they apparently won't put sufficient bums on the turf of Hyde Park.

"I can't afford to have bands who won't pull the crowds," he explained. "This is a political event, not a cultural one."

"If I get people who are currently selling 15 million albums, then there's an audience of at least 15 million people for the concert. It's a question of who is popular right now; that's the way it is.

"The whole thing with the Spice Girls isn't about my personal taste: my kids sing their stuff. But there just aren't enough people out there who would want to watch them."

Sir Bob's comments will fuel rumours that the "reunion" was little more than a publicity stunt, to coincide with the launch of Geri Halliwell's new album.

Asked why the group was not on the list of confirmed acts for Live 8 released last week, Spice Girl Mel B - who doesn't have an album to plug at the moment - said recently: "I've no idea how this story started."

* Hard hats time! It's just gone "right off" between two of the biggest beasts on Pandora's radar. Peter Bazalgette, right - the media tycoon responsible for Big Brother - has launched an unprovoked attack on Greg Dyke, below right.

"Greg needs therapy," he said, at the Hay Festival. "All he talks about any more is the Hutton inquiry and how much he hates Tony Blair. Maybe I should stick him in the Big Brother house."

Over to Dyke: "I haven't seen or spoken to Peter for two years so don't know how he knows what I talk about," he tells me. "It just isn't true. I write every week and don't mention Hutton. I write about democracy and that's what I care about."

Apropos Big Brother, he adds thoughtfully: "I thought the first series was quite good but I don't like it much any more."

* I hope it's not facetious to say that the fat lady is about to start warbling about one of the most colourful political careers in modern times. After 22 years as an MP, Clare Short has decided to leave Parliament at the next election.

The Brummie superstar, who resigned from the Cabinet over the Iraq war, originally planned to leave this year, but decided to stay to annoy her New Labour puppet-masters.

"I thought of not standing at the last election, but then they started briefing the press that I was going to be deselected, so I thought, 'sod it, I'll stay'," she reports.

"I'll keep making noises for now, but after this Parliament I think I'm finished in politics, and I'll exit."

* Sir Mick Jagger's legendary prudence doesn't just lead to careful housekeeping, it also has an impact on his spiritual wellbeing.

According to his ex-wife Jerry Hall, ol'rubberlips followed Kaballah in the days before it became Madonna's religion of choice. But his relationship with the celeb-friendly sect came to an end when he was asked to dig into his pocket.

In an interview with the US magazine Index, Hall reveals: "We had a fantastic time with the Centre for about a year, but couldn't go through the door of miracles unless we gave the Kaballah people 10 per cent of our money, so we stopped going."

Asked if it was an acrimonious parting, she adds tactfully: "It's not like we fell out with them - they're very nice people."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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