A footnote to Anthony Minghella's premature death is that the director will miss his beloved Portsmouth's humdinging FA Cup semi-final with West Bromwich Albion in 17 days. Tickets went on sale yesterday afternoon. Minghella planned to attend, according to the club, and hoped for vengeance: the only other time in his life that Portsmouth reached the same stage was in 1992, when they were vanquished at the last by Liverpool.
Memorabilia fills two bedrooms at Minghella's home. He contributed to club coffers, was a member of The Pompey Anorak Brigade fan group and went to games whenever filming commitments allowed. Pandora bumped into him at the London Film Festival and all he talked about was the future of Pompey manager Harry Redknapp. When he shot Cold Mountain in Romania he listened to commentary by calling friends who held their phones to the radio. As Minghella would have sung at the forthcoming Wembley battle: "Play Up Pompey! Pompey Play Up!"
Dylan biographer plans to sieve mucca from Macca
The ink remains wet on Sir Paul McCartney's divorce papers but already a British author is in advanced talks with a major publisher to write an updated biography.
Howard Sounes, who wrote 2001's acclaimed Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan, and the rather more macabre Cromwell Street book Fred & Rose about the serial-killing Wests, is in discussions with Natalie Jerome of HarperCollins's non-fiction arm regarding the UK rights to a tome that would give Macca "the epic treatment". Publication would be late 2010. Any deal would be a "substantial investment".
Sounes is represented by his agent Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown. "Howard will be putting everything into context," explains Wise. "Usually McCartney's story in books ends in the 1970s when he formed Wings. This will be a wide sweep of his career and show how he's an amazing artist." Wise adds: "John Lennon has been given the epic treatment several times over but no one has talked about Sir Paul in that way."
But what of the lady formerly known as Mucca? What will be printed about his recently terminated marriage to Heather Mills?
"Sounes will approach this with an independent eye," cautions Wise, "but it will not be a muck-raking biography."
HarperCollins is edgy about the project and points out that nothing has been signed. "The agent has rather jumped the gun," says a spokeswoman for the publisher. "We are in discussion but we still haven't bought it."
Sarko's ex tells Versace to shut their torta holes
Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz, the former Madame Sarkozy, appears to be engaged in a cheering rumpus with the Italian fashion house Versace.
A fortnight ago, Versace's zealous publicists boasted they would dress the bride, groom and party at Cécilia's marriage this weekend to the Moroccan-born events organiser Richard Attias. It was the first the world knew of their New York nuptials.
The unilateral declaration went down like a tin of stale frogs legs chez Céci, who had yet to make public the wedding. The word in Paris: she has threatened to cancel the contract.
Versace's London office is more reserved than its French one. "As far as I'm aware," says a spokesman," there will be an announcement in the next couple of days. "So at the moment, I can neither confirm nor deny."
Trying times for Mike
I hope Mike Tindall's brush with Thames Valley plod on Saturday does not hamper any handy product endorsement arrangements he has.
The England rugby international was arrested on suspicion of drink driving after being pulled over on the M4 driving a silver Range Rover Sport.
It just so happens that Tindall's royal squeeze, the bounding equestrienne Zara Phillips, has a sponsorship deal with Range Rover. "We've no direct affiliation with Mike, but we provide Zara with two vehicles," says a spokesman for the company. "One's a Land Rover Discovery and the other is a Range Rover Sport. So I suspect it was most likely to be Zara's car." Fruitier things have happened in Range Rovers on motorways.
The Wolf Man returns! Walter Wolfgang, the obstinate octogenarian who was famously ejected from Labour's 2005 party conference, is back taunting his bête noire.
Wolfgang, who sits on Labour's ruling [sic] National Executive Committee, has tabled a motion expressing Blair's unsuitability as a candidate for President of the European Union. "They may find a way to avoid it being called," says a source, "but it's been tabled and the lefties are determined to discuss it."
* Further to yesterday's story that frockstress Alice Temperley is pregnant, delighting to hear her lil sister, Mary, is also blooming, and ordering disposable nappies. Good work!