Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Pandora: Draper's losing out in battle of the box office

More bad news for Derek Draper, as it emerges that his new, post-Smeargate infamy has done little to boost his box office earning potential. Early reports from the Hay festival suggest that the controversial blogger's question-and-answer session is proving a difficult act to sell.

Draper is due at the world-famous Welsh literary gathering to promote his latest book, Life Support: A Survival Guide For The Modern Soul, but has, we're told, been trumped in the sales department by a host of worthy competitors, including Robert Peston, Alan Bennett and, er, Dara O'Briain.

"We've seen moderate ticket interest but it's far from being one of our better performers," claims a box office spokesman. "It's not even close to selling out – and that's given that it is in a rather small venue too. It could have been better."

By far the most impressive sales, apparently, are those for Archbishop Desmond Tutu's appearance. Priced at more than 10 times the amount Draper is charging, tickets for Tutu's lecture and dinner – £50 and £75 respectively – have nearly all sold out.

Diana biographer 'has eyes on Jolie'

*Controversy-lovers rejoice: Andrew Morton is back. The last time we heard from Princess Diana's biographer, he was winding up the Church of Scientology with claims of Tom Cruise's various "idiosyncrasies". Now it seems he has another, even more glamorous, subject upon which to lavish his attention. Reports from America suggest that Morton will shortly embark on an unauthorised biography of Hollywood leading lady Angelina Jolie. As far as Pandora is concerned, it couldn't hit book stores soon enough.

Noel follows Liam's fashion footsteps

*Pandora was among the first to jump aboard the enthusiasm bandwagon when Liam Gallagher, Oasis's leopard-print-loving frontman, declared his intention to launch a fashion label. Now it would appear he may not be alone in harbouring such sartorial ambitions. His slightly less sullen brother, Noel, was spotted at the weekend dining at New York's Waverly Inn. By his side? The celebrity über-stylist Rachel Zoe and her fashion-minded husband Rodger Berman. Could the House of Liam have a familial competitor?

Quintessential pitfall of being Stephen Fry

*Fighting talk, now, from Stephen Fry, during a speech at the Royal Geographical Society in London: "Sometimes I wish I had a gold sovereign for every time that phrase is used – so I could put them in a sock to smack over the head the next person who says it."

Goodness. But to what was Britain's favourite brainiac, pictured above, referring? The source of his displeasure, it seems, is the term "quintessential Englishman." Specifically: when used in a reference to himself. Apparently, nothing is more likely to put him in a foul mood. So now we know.

Will Shakespeare: is he hot or not?

*A curious quiz catches our eye: "Historical Hotties" brought to you by the lovely folk at People magazine. Asking the undoubtedly prescient question "Would Cleopatra be a babe today?", the American gossip rag invites readers to rate a selection of historical figures. Martha Washington and Nefertiti both fare well ("HOT!"), although there is no such praise for William Shakespeare, Mozart and Mary Tudor, all of whom, tragically, Find themselves branded "NOT!". See? Gossip can be fun and educational.