Landlady to the stars pillories dodgy pub review

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* Disquiet in the East End after a write-up of Shoreditch's Golden Heart - the BritArt-favoured saloon frequented by Kate Moss and Pete Doherty, Tracey Emin, Gilbert and George, Sarah Lucas, Sam Taylor-Wood, Rebecca Warren, and Jake and Dinos Chapman. (Oh, and the benevolent ghost of the Quaker prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, who turns off beer taps in the cellar.)

The pub's earthy, "valiantly maternal" landlady, Sandra Esquilant - Britain's most culturally important publican, whose gaze upon a Young British Artist is said to be "like a benediction from the Pope" - is mightily displeased about a review in a guide to London published by Wallpaper* design mag.

The book lists the Golden Heart as a "great old boozer", adding, problematically: "It has a fantastic landlady and they do lock-ins."

The Golden Heart is an "early" pub, licensed to open from 6am for the benefit of workers at Truman's Brewery and Spitalfields Market. But lock-ins attract the unwanted attention of council clipboard-wielders.

Comments Esquilant, angrily: "Who said I do lock-ins? I've never done a lock-in in my life. How horrible. Why would they say that?

"I just dismiss things like that. It's rubbish. That's not the type of pub this is. I run the Golden Heart the way I always have and I'm very lucky to be surrounded by beautiful people." Indeed, anyone who has arrived close to last orders seeking a pint knows of her stringent refusal to serve late patrons.

Please raise your glasses, then, to a revised edition of the Wallpaper* guide...

* A fortnight ago, Pandora reported that the Imperial War Museum was considering exhibiting a portrait of the anti-war protestor Brian Haw, who has heckled Tony Blair over Iraq for 2,036 consecutive days from his one-man campsite in Parliament Square.

I hear, however, that the museum has diplomatically decided not to accept the painting by Nick Botting.

"It is a big shame, but I respect their decision," says the artist. "I think the picture captures Brian Haw's strong quality of engagement, whilst having the air of one of Don McCullin's photographs of war-weary soldiers.

"I tried to understand a man who believes so passionately that he will not give up. I find it hard to accept that he stays, regardless of weather, and is there right now."

Perhaps another museum will recognise Haw's historical significance in the protest movement.

* In July, when the LAPD arrested Mel Gibson on suspicion of drunk-driving, an officer claimed that the actor had launched a tirade of anti-Semitic abuse, including the claim that "the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world". Gibson apologised for his "untrue" and "despicable" remarks.

Raised eyebrows in North London's swish Highgate district, then, at rumours that Gibson is househunting in the area, a few minutes from Hampstead Heath (known to locals as "God's back garden").

Residents are bored by celebrity neighbours, who include Sting, George Michael, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, Emma Thompson and Thierry Henry. But one who might upset the Jewish community would be another matter.

Gibson's London office says a purchase is "highly unlikely".

* I did not find room yesterday in the first part of Pandora's Christmas special, Simon Fanshawe and the Profligate Profanities, to congratulate our hero on his appointment as chair of Sussex University's ruling council, surely the first steps in a dazzling political ascent, and arguably a promotion fromThat's Life. His first task: to appoint a vice-chancellor.

Fanshawe has been smoothing the feathers of guests invited to his birthday party (who, you may remember, were invoiced £35 for the pleasure). He has assured them that everyone is welcome, whether or not they leaked the invite to Pandora. (And assuming they are happy to cough up.) Perhaps he has mellowed since asking me to "fucking tell them they need not come".

Pandora is barred. Unbelievable.

* In what may be an instructive survey telling us what our parliamentary representatives are currently watching, slouched on the couch filling their faces with Quality Street and Brussels sprout sandwiches, Sky Movies has polled 175 MPs across the political spectrum to find their favourite film.

The runaway winner, with one in eight votes, is Casablanca, the Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman tale of ideals, war, booze, violence and sweet lurve. Star Wars comes second, followed by One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, set in an asylum, and the "cross-dressing gangster classic" Some Like It Hot.

Says the Tory MP Stephen Crabb: "Star Wars is a timeless masterpiece. Princess Leia was the first girl I fell in love with." Lib Dem Norman Baker says: "Casablanca is an inspirational classic. I still cry at the 'Marseillaise' scene."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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