Pandora: Floyd's man lets off steam
Tuesday 24 June 2008
Keith Floyd has long had a turbulent relationship with his manager Stan Green. Not for much longer, it would seem, as the two appear determined to go their separate ways.
As this column noted last month, Floyd was threatened with legal action by Green after revelations that the roguish chef was covertly offering cookery classes for £300-a-pop.
The lessons were hastily withdrawn, but the two haven't spoken for more than six weeks. Green now claims to be counting down the months until he can bid Floyd farewell. "I still represent Keith, but it's difficult when he doesn't return my messages," he tells me. "Our contract finally ends next May, and I can't wait. Then I'm finally free."
Dismissed Boris adviser races back to his homeland
James McGrath may be out of a job, but things shouldn't stay that way for long.
I hear that Boris Johnson's former adviser is soon to return to his native Australia, where a number of job offers await.
McGrath, right, had been asked in an interview about a claim before the mayoral election that a Johnson victory would provoke an exodus of older black Londoners to the West Indies.
He was quoted as replying: "Well, let them go if they don't like it here."
Indeed for anyone recalling the furore over Johnson's use of the word "picaninnies", few things could prove more awkward than a City Hall race row.
After accepting McGrath's resignation, Johnson was quick to claim that the comments had been "taken out of context".
In spite of the controversy, it seems that McGrath, who spent seven years working for the Conservative Party, has got plenty to look forward to. I'm told he's expected to receive a "number of offers" Down Under, where his work for the Tories has done his reputation no harm at all.
"James already has contacts back in Australia and it's logical he should return under the circumstances," explains a colleague.
"It's clear he isn't going to be without offers, and he's also talked of standing for parliament over there one day."
McGrath has also been enjoying support in the unlikely form of the ex-shadow home secretary David Davis, who spoke with him "into the early hours" following his resignation.
Ronnie faces up to lack of bids for old pal Rod
Not content with raking in the royalties, the Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has taken to flogging his art on eBay. There's only one problem: he can't find the buyers.
The latest piece put up for sale by the one-time Sketch Club winner (haven't heard of it? Think BBC circa 1959) was a limited-edition portrait of his pre-Rolling Stones band The Faces.
Depicting Wood alongside fellow band member Rod Stewart, the piece got a hefty plug on his MySpace page:
"We had such a great reaction from the last listing but it ended too quickly!" he gushed. "So here it is again: Your chance to snap up a real Ronnie print framed and ready to be hung, featuring your favourite rocker and his pal Rod."
Sadly, emotional appeal proved an insufficient spur: with the reserve price set at £1,300, the piece attracted only five bidders – and a maximum bid of just £511.
Wood has since had to withdraw the offer as well as his blog post. Pandora doubts, however, that this particular artist will be left to starve.
Dear, dear. More than a year has passed since actress and serial-dress-wearer Elizabeth Hurley married Arun Nayar, in the Cotswolds village of Winchcombe. Yet locals still complain about the nuptials' legacy.
In a ceremony that cost an estimated £2m, the couple were married by the Rev John Parkington at St Mary's Chapel in the historic grounds of Sudeley Castle.
Eyebrows were raised over Hurley's promise to donate 12 foot-kneelers instead of paying the customary £1,000 fee, but chapel officials explained it as a favour to the Dent-Brocklehurst family, mutual friends of Hurley, and the parish. In January the kneelers had yet to arrive; in June the situation isn't any better – much to the consternation of treasurer Sue Williams.
"It's very frustrating," she complains "We've just given up." Ms Hurley was unavailable for comment last night.
Pandora was not unsympathetic towards Kay Burley's reaction at being whacked in the face by a TV camera. The flame-haired Sky News presenter immediately grabbed the throat of her suspected assailant, leaving a set of large red fingerprints.
Local photographers, however, appear slightly less understanding. Indeed I hear that they have taken to calling her "the Uxbridge Strangler." How flattering.
* Judging by his interview in this week's The House Magazine, the Labour MP Harry Cohen was quite the prodigious talent.
"From the age of eight I wanted to be a politician," claims the representative for Leyton and Wanstead. He adds – somewhat disconcertingly – that he remembers "getting out of the bath as a child and thinking 'Mao's an interesting character'."
Also noted: his disappointment that "all those Blairites" remain in the Cabinet. Quelle surprise.
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