Pandora: Can't buy me lunch: Roman holiday leaves Chelsea owner feeling hungry

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The Independent Online

Roman Abramovich's billions may have secured him property, boats and one of the world's most fashionable football clubs, but it doesn't always open every door.

The Russian billionaire has recently been holidaying in the glitzy resort of Forte dei Marmi on Italy's Versilian coast.

According to one local report, Mr Abramovich was none too pleased last week to find himself unable to reserve a spot at local eatery called Bistrot, after the owner failed to recognise his name.

"A member of his staff called us up but I am afraid I did not know who Roman Abramovich was," admits the owner when I call.

"I didn't recognise the name. He wanted a table for three people on Thursday night but we were full.

"They asked if we could make an exception but we wouldn't because I don't really know much about him."

Abramovich, who is a regular visitor to the resort, was less than impressed by the restaurant's indifference. One local paper, somewhat unrealistically it should be said, claimed he even threatened to leave the area.

It isn't the first spot of bother the poor billionaire has faced on his summer holiday. A few weeks ago, it was reported he was left red-faced after being turned away from Portofino's Splendido Mare restaurant.

He and his fashion-designer girlfriend Dasha Zhukova had arrived too early for their table and were forced to decamp to a nearby brasserie instead.

When asked about the incident yesterday, a spokes-man for Mr Abramovich replied: "It sounds out of character. I'm not sure I want to comment."

Here comes the pain again

For all Annie Lennox's boundless energy, even she is not immune from the snaps and creaks that greet impending middle age.

The former Eurythmics singer put her back out over the weekend whilst attending an Aids conference in Mexico City. By a stroke of luck, the hotel she was staying in happened to be hosting a chiropractors' conference.

"A nice doctor from Cancun had given my aching vertebra some adjustments, and a big cortisone shot, which should help me to get to the airport." What a trouper!

Too much Tequila for Edinburgh drinkers

Britt Ekland's neckerchief-wearing Chihuahua, Tequila, has become the talk of the Edinburgh Festival.

As I reported last week, Ekland has taken to carrying the pooch around town everywhere she goes.

Although most night spots have been happy to accommodate Tequila, I'm now told he's beginning to test the locals' patience.

Eyebrows were raised on Sunday night when a rowdy Tequila started yapping at customers in Assembly Rooms' Club Bar.

Says one staff member, "Some customers weren't happy. If it was anyone else we'd have asked them to keep quite, but to be honest it was Britt Ekland and we're all a bit scared of her."

Bannatyne banishes bags

Duncan Bannatyne has gone on the record to dismiss rumours – first mooted in this column – that he once had a facelift.

However, the multimillionaire star of BBC's Dragon's Den is willing to concede that he has twice been under the surgeon's knife in the past to remove the bags from beneath his eyes.

"The Bannatynes have bags under their eyes like John Prescott," he confesses in this week's Hello magazine.

I only hope the business guru's refreshing candour doesn't invite now-unfair accusations that he's less Dragon than wee Scotch jessie.

Throwing punchlines

A delightful row loomed last week in Edinburgh between comedians Brendon Burns and Michael McIntyre.

The trouble began when Burns requested posters for his Assembly Hall show be moved to a more prominent position, the Aussie comic even offering staff at the venue a crate of wine as part of the deal. When McIntyre announced he would be doing a one-off show at the venue, organisers decided to paste some of his posters over Burns's, much to the latter's annoyance. On his next visit to the venue, Burns' publicist called ahead requesting McIntyre's be taken down in advance. Boys, boys!

Germans cling to Peaches' frocks

Peaches Geldof's musical outfit Trash Pussies is yet to worry too many jobbing DJs out there, but – rather like David Hasselhoff – it seems that they are big in Germany.

The precocious young scamp recently auctioned off her vintage frocks on ebay to raise funds for endangered turtles.

Much to her surprise, a large chunk of Peaches' togs ended up being shipped out to the Continent where she apparently has an avid, but previously unnoticed, fan base.

"Bizarrely, most of the dresses went to people in Germany," she tells this week's Closer magazine.

"I guess I have a bit of a following out there."