Pandora: Fred the Shred jets back into limelight
Thursday 11 March 2010
Sir, the champagne! Motor racing enthusiasts were treated to the sight of a distantly familiar face aboard yesterday morning's Gulf Air flight to Bahrain, departing just in time for the start of the 2010 Grand Prix season.
The former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive (turned pantomime villain), Sir Fred Goodwin, could be seen settling into a business-class seat – though he was not, we are told, sporting his trademark tartan trews.
The flight represented a rare public outing for "Fred the Shred". Since his mauling for presiding over the biggest annual loss in British corporate history, Sir Fred has succeeded in maintaining a low profile, only recently returning to his Edinburgh home and assuming a post as an adviser to architecture firm RMJM who, conveniently, are in the middle of opening a new office in Bahrain .
Of course, before his luck turned, Sir Fred was something of a regular on the F1 circuit, cheering on the RBS-sponsored Williams team alongside "brand ambassador" and former F1 champ Sir Jackie Stewart.
At one point, he was even tipped to succeed Max Mosely at the helm of the sport's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. Then news of his £16m pension pot broke and he was passed over in favour of Jean Todt. Funny that.
Another cause without a rebel?
"Being a rebel is boring," Grayson Perry told Pandora yesterday. It seems fellow artist Jake Chapman agrees. Jake, one half of the Chapman brothers, enfants terribles of the art world, is famed for his genitalia-faced mannequins and Nazi-themed installations. Now, however, he appears – quelle horreur – to be embracing the Establishment. He will address Berkeley Square's über-exclusive members club, Annabel's, this Sunday. Art for the people? Perhaps not.
Gambaccini flies flag for British talent
"The British are unrepresented in the winners!" complains Paul Gambaccini of this year's Oscars haul. "The Hollywood nominees are for American films, you just have to get used to that."
The "Professor of Pop" is doing the backstage interviews at this year's Olivier Awards; he hopes the same problem will not be repeated. "The only people I'll be interviewing are the winners, so therefore they'll all be happy." Fingers crossed!
Allan profiles his assistant
In an inopportune spot of recruitment, Facebook – currently under fire for the lack of security it offers its younger users – is using the House of Commons staff website to advertise for a new assistant to work alongside its European policy director, the former Liberal Democrat MP Richard Allan. Still, it's not all bad. As well as a generous starting salary of £30,000, the lucky candidate will get free meals and contributions to dry cleaning, transport and gym membership. Who could resist?
Nighy's still Blunt and to the point
*Bill Nighy's affection for Emily Blunt continues apace. The bespectacled smoothie has long admired the young actress from afar, and appears alongside her in Wild Target. "I adore her," he tells us. "I teach Rupert Grint how to be an assassin, but we can't kill Emily Blunt, she is too good looking." Blunt will be flattered, we're sure.
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