In a move which will be met with dismay by long-haired counter-culturalists everywhere, Bob Dylan has finally caved in to the inevitable pressures of commercialism.
The enigmatic singer is to allow the Co-Operative Group to use his famed protest song "Blowin' in The Wind" in a new series of television adverts.
It's a surprising development, since Dylan has always jealously guarded his intellectual property rights. When he gave permission for his song "Knocking On Heaven's Door" to be used to help raise funds for the victims of the shootings at Dunblane in 1996, it was the first time in his career that he allowed his lyrics to be altered. Although his music has recently featured in two high-profile campaigns for Victoria's Secret and iTunes in the US, the Co-Op commercial will be the first time one of his songs has been used in an advert in Britain.
When I contacted Dylan's record company, Columbia, yesterday, its staff appeared as surprised as anyone. "He doesn't talk that much so I doubt he will be providing any official explanation," said a spokesman. However, I am told the Co-Op's "ethical and fair trade" credentials were supposedly a factor behind his decision.
'Hello!' gets it in the face from Joan
Oops. Hello! magazine was in the soup yesterday after photos of Joan Collins mistakenly ended up in this week's press. "They weren't theirs to use," explains a spokesman for the actress. "They were borrowed from an American advertising campaign for Cellex-C face cream. They really are wonderful pictures, though."
Dispute staggers to Commons
The row over the New Statesman's extraordinary decision to refuse recognition for the National Union of Journalists – branded "astounding" by the NUJ – has reached the House of Commons.
Labour backbencher John Cummings has posted an early day motion condemning the left-wing weekly magazine for its "cavalier treatment of staff".
So far, the motion has attracted 20 signatures, mainly from Labour MPs. Not surprisingly, the mag's owner, Geoffrey Robinson, isn't one of them.
Marco ups the cost of a posh pint
Real ale campaigners have been unfavourably compared to drink-soaked trainspotters, so they will no doubt be delighted at news that Marco Pierre White is backing their cause. The volatile chef has decided to charge £5 a pint for ale at his Berkshire pub, the Yew Tree Inn– a price he describes as a "steal".
"I think most pubs undercharge. On the average price of a pint, with duty and VAT now topping 70p, plus the cost of buying the beer, and other overheads, some publicans are left with less than 60p," he says.
"When you have a pint, you're not just paying for delicious beer, you're paying for the place you drink it and the people who serve it."
Why Winslet won't win it
Kate Winslet's chances of nabbing that long-awaited first Oscar have been trashed by no less an authority than Barry Norman.
Speaking on yesterday's Loose Women programme, the veteran film critic said: "I have a nasty feeling that she's blown her chances with that silly, silly speech at the Golden Globes.
"The thing is there are about 5,000 Oscar voters, most of whom are Americans. And when push comes to shove, Americans will vote for the local boy or girl rather than the foreigner."