Pandora: A single serving for Mr Freud

Despite Lucian Freud's reputation as Britain's most celebrated portrait painter, the reclusive artist prefers to keep himself to himself. Still, diners at The Wolseley restaurant were surprised to see Freud eating alone at the chic Piccadilly eatery last week.

"It's happened a few times; he was in on his own just a couple of weeks ago too," I'm told. "I suppose there's nothing too unusual about it since Lucian uses the place like a canteen, but he usually pops in with beautiful young girls."

Perhaps it's an artistic thing. David Hockney often dined solo over the road at Langan's, where he used to scribble doodlings on the paper table covers, which enterprising waiters would pocket once he'd gone.

The verdict of Chris Rea: Blair's on the road to hell

Of all the revelations that spewed forth from Lord Levy's memoirs over the weekend, possibly the least surprising was that Tony Blair was a devoted fan of veteran rock warhorse, Chris Rea, pictured right.

It's a feeling which, these days, is definitely not reciprocated.

According to Levy, when he informed Blair that he had invited Rea to his house one Sunday back in 1995, the then leader of the opposition made a mad dash back from Scotland to meet him. He was so keen to impress, apparently, that the ever image-conscious Blair even popped upstairs to change out of his suit and into jeans and a T-shirt.

But it's unlikely he'll ever get a repeat audience. In an interview Rea conducted just weeks ago, he branded Blair a "bastard murderer".

"I hate Tony Blair," he said. "There is nothing more heartbreaking than a frightened child. He talks about this international shit while our country has children who are living on the poverty line and battered women with nowhere to run. Can't we deal with our own backyard before we go to Africa? It makes me froth at the mouth. It slices me up."

It's not the first time Blair has sought the approval of rock stars who have later turned on him.

He famously invited Noel Gallagher round to Number 10 for a celebratory drinks party soon after the 1997 election, only for the Oasis songwriter to later brand him "a politician like all the rest".

Acting rules strike fear into heart of Lincoln

Like many British actors before him, Andrew Lincoln finds plying his trade across the pond can be a demanding experience.

The blokeish star, best remembered for his role in cult series This Life, is currently working on an as-yet untitled TV series with Men In Black creator Barry Sonnenfeld.

"It was very difficult though, I have to admit," he told me at a recent party in aid of Barnados.

"It's not just the accent, it's completely different culturally. It's like playing baseball. You are under so much pressure to get the take right – three strikes and you're out. It has been more like controlling one's own fear rather than acting."

No matter, since Lincoln will be back working on these shores soon. He informed me he's just been cast as Edgar to appear alongside Natalie Portman in the latest big-screen adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

Gwyneth is ice cool in Alex

Interesting to see Gwyneth Paltrow is still lending her influential patronage to British designer Alexander McQueen.

The dainty actress arrived on the red carpet at the recent London premiere of her new movie Iron Man sporting a rather dangerous-looking pair of stilettos which she told reporters had been designed by the sulky Londoner.

Now I'm no fashionista, but I'm pretty sure McQueen was responsible for Paltrow's "frock horror" at the 2002 Oscar ceremony, where she wore a morbid see-through outfit that led to the fashion police unfavourably comparing her look to goth-rocker Marilyn Manson.

Clearly all is forgiven and, as my picture shows, on this occasion she looked positively fragrant.

Daffy McGowan

Time for the latest stunt by endearingly bonkers performance artist Mark McGowan.

This Saturday, McGowan, whose previous feats include crawling across New York dressed as George W Bush wearing a sign saying "Kick My Ass", is to be buried in the sand on Margate beach for 48 hours.

The performance, he says, is an attempt to save the great British seaside holiday and the environment.

"The traditional British seaside holiday is in decline and everyone is flying abroad. This year, 30 million people will go on holidays abroad. This is due to cheap flights, sunnier climes and bargain bucket destinations," he says. "I want to encourage people to think, and don't just book a holiday abroad, come to Margate." Rather him than me, but best of luck all the same.

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