Ringo Starr hasn't made the most – how to put it? – concerted of efforts to nurture his fan base in recent years.
First there was last year's assertion that he missed "nothing" about his home town, Liverpool, weeks after playing at the city's inauguration as European Capital of Culture (the claim provoked torrents of abuse in the local media, and prompted vandals to behead a foliage sculpture of Starr). Then came fan mail-gate (Starr posted an angry video on his website, threatening to throw away any fan mail and autograph requests sent after a specified deadline. "I'm warning you with peace and love, that I have too much to do," he explained). And who can forget Starr's churlish appearance in an advertising campaign for Aviva insurance ("don't call me by my stage name...") Still, it seems that the former Beatle will be looking to brush up on his charm skills over the festive season; he may be in need of those spurned fans' support in the new year.
We're told the now LA-based Starr – whose post-Beatles musical efforts haven't quite proven the groundbreaking material he might have hoped – has been working on recording his next solo album, Y Not, which he plans to release ahead of his being awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. An official release date has yet to be confirmed, though some sources are citing January. Fan mail at the ready, then.
Mario gets to grips with reality (TV)
*Mario Testino collected a Medal of Excellence at Monday's Walpole awards. Still, it's not all glamour for the Peruvian photographer. "I watch the X Factor!" he insisted. "I would love to photograph [last year's winner] Alexandra Burke. Why not? Sometimes you hear somebody's voice and you want to photograph them just because they're so magical, no?" Whatever you say, Mario.
Agassi serves up an endorsement
*With his tell-all autobiography Open awaiting a spot atop the Christmas bestseller lists, Andre Agassi reveals his own preferred reading material in this month's Vanity Fair. So just which authors are the tennis champion's all-time favourites? CS Lewis and, er, JR Moehringer. An American journalist, Moehringer has authored just two books – one a memoir of his childhood, and the other a ghostwriter's job on... Open, the autobiography of Agassi. Who would have thought it?
Suits you, Sir Ben
*Ben Elton is soon to depart these shores in favour of sunnier climes down under; one thing he won't be taking is that spangly suit worn during his Friday Night Live days. "I gave it to Annie Lennox," he tells us. "She wanted something to auction. She didn't tell me how much it went for. I didn't want to hear that it was a couple of measly quid."
Bell's dark side
*"I only have one other suit in my wardrobe," proclaimed the white-clad Martin Bell yesterday. "A black one. For funerals. I find myself wearing it more and more." Bell, who continues to play it coy as to whether he'll stand at the next election, was the guest of honour at the Oldie Literary Lunch. They must have asked him to lighten the mood.Reuse content