Pandora: A fruity night out in Manchester
Thursday 15 May 2008
The celebrations of Manchester United's players after they won the Premier League on Sunday were relatively low-key, considering the ruckus at their Christmas party, which was 13 hours long and cost £25,000, with the final score: rape allegations, one; arrests, one; prosecutions, nil.
Still, the young Man U luminaries would not be 21st-century footballers unless at least one arrangement for Sunday's entertainment was in questionable taste. Rather than the traditional spit-roast, the food on offer at Manchester's Circle Club was fruit, to be eaten directly off the nude women lying on the tables. "Naked beauties gently graced the tables, buried in luscious, fresh fruit to devour," says the nightclub. What would Sir Alex Ferguson do?
Advisers consider a car but Boris insists: no limo for me
Boris Johnson has for years had impeccable cycling credentials. Although he does not wear lycra to work, he has suffered uncounted bike thefts, refused to wear a helmet and routinely infringed traffic laws – most recently documented in a weekend newspaper, which filmed him flying through six red lights, failing to stop for a pedestrian at a zebra crossing and mounting the pavement. (It recalls David Cameron's "lycra lout" episode in Parliament Square in January, when he jumped a light and incurred a pedestrian's wrath.)
What to make, then, of noisy whispers that Boris's advisers in the London mayoral office have sought a quote for a new car to ferry him about. The reasoning behind such an acquisition is two-fold: safety, and, primarily, the new mayor's late arrival for official engagements.
At a cocktail party celebrating his victory, Boris denies he will get a limo, telling Pandora: "Quite the opposite, in fact, I am getting back on my bike."
Queries to Johnson's press office at City Hall eventually get the disclosure that aides have been looking into a chauffeured vehicle – but their boss has decided against.
"The Mayor has no intention of having his own car," explains a spokesman. "Any request has been misunderstood – we were looking for savings to be made so that is why costings were asked for."
When the chips are down for the Naked Chef...
Celebrity chefs, despite what they claim, are not renowned for their composure at moments of tension. Perhaps Jamie Oliver is different.
Emboldened by his friend, the actor Dexter Fletcher, the cook has taken up poker as a hobby. Oliver was a surprise contestant at the One to One Children's Fund PKR charity tournament. He has signed up for poker lessons and spends long hours playing chums when restaurant commitments allow. "He comes to our home games and cooks for us," says the poker writer Shelley Rubenstein, "which makes a change from cold pizza."
As reported in this column, Oliver has embarked on an ambitious renovation and extension of his home on Camden, north London, knocking through to the house next door (he paid off the neighbours first). He is apparently considering installing a salon privé, with a poker table for private games.
Figgis and the fashion crowd
So that's what Mike Figgis was up to last week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's costume ball in New York. Pandora's Yank correspondent, remember, was surprised to discover the Carlisle-born director sharpening his elbows in the press pen outside the bash, hosted by George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Usually, Figgis would be indoors, tucking in to a prawn cocktail.
The wiry-coiffeured scruff, 60, tells me he is making a short film about the fashionista Candy Pratts Price, the executive fashion director of the Vogue website Style.com. "It is for the Council of Fashion Designers of America fashion awards next month," says Figgis, pictured, at his Glenmorangie "5 Senses" exhibition. "I needed to get Stella McCartney and Gisele Bündchen on camera talking about her."
He adds: "I must get a move on with it. I have got to submit it next week. I have about two hours of footage that needs editing down to three minutes."
Nice to see you
Chiropractor to the Commons! The rubber-necking at Prime Minister's Questions yesterday was not to see the latest secret document in Caroline Flint's transparent folder. (Arsene Wenger's summer signings? The results of the 4.20 at Doncaster?) Rather: Bruce Forsyth was in da house.
Yep, Brucie, his Puerto Rican wife Wilnelia (Miss World 1975) and daughter Debbie were guests of the right-wing MP for Romford, Andrew "Rozza" Rosindell. The Shadow animal welfare minister, who campaigns with Spike, his Union Flag waistcoat-wearing Staff bull terrier, promotes Forsyth's Vets Get Scanning charity, which combats dog theft (Debbie's mutts were stolen).
"I knew Bruce was a big fan of PMQs so suggested he come," says Rosindell. "He was thrilled. We had a champagne reception in the bar and David Cameron popped in, so he met him." A Brucie Bonus. Forsyth will present the round-up on Andrew Neil's This Week tonight.
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