Pandora: Grossman, the naked punk

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The Independent Online

The tattooed corpses of punk legends will spin in their graves. Before Loyd Grossman stuck his name on jars of curry sauce and began snooping around the houses of the slightly famous, he fronted a riotous punk outfit called Jet Bronx and the Forbidden. A former colleague, Nicholas Coleridge, recalls finding a photo of a stark-naked Loyd from the era.

This August, Grossman will reform the band at Blackpool's Rebellion punk festival. The drawling presenter has written new material. "It's true," he says. "But it's too early to disclose details."

The band reached dizzying heights (No 49) in December 1977 with their debut single "Ain't Doin' Nothing". Sadly, their follow-up, "Rock And Roll Romance", fell flatter than one of Grossman's soufflés.

'Gorbals Mick' toasts an end to the men in tights

A satisfied smile on the red chops of Michael Martin, the Speaker of the House of Commons, as he toasts the demise of his enemies in the office of the Serjeant at Arms, the ancient department of security officials known as Parliament's "men in tights".

The previous Serjeant at Arms, the respected Maj-Gen Peter Grant Peterkin, was informed last summer that his contract would not be renewed after a series of clashes with the Speaker.

Buckingham Palace yesterday announced that Gen Grant Peterkin is to be replaced by Jill Pay, the lofty office's first female incumbent – or "woman in tights". Uniquely, she can carry a sword about the Commons.

This historic moment would be a celebration after 600 years of men, but for the bloody context. The department has been cut from hundreds of staff to 40. When Pay pulls on the black stockings, a minefield awaits.

Diplomacy will be required. To win the post, she leapfrogged the Deputy Serjeant at Arms, Muir Morton, who has been overlooked for the second time.

Morton praised his boss Grant Peterkin at the latter's leaving party in December, from which Glaswegian Martin was absent.

"When others would have packed it in, gone back to the glens and said, 'Blow this for a load of Highland cow droppings,' he has played the gentleman and hung in there," Morton told staff. Not a job application.

Martin says the comings and goings have nothing to do with him. Nevertheless, Pay may find that the skills of acrobatic diplomat would come in handy.

McEwan offers Coogan atonement

Should Ian McEwan be daring or (un)fortunate enough to find himself on a night out with Steve Coogan, he should insist that the actor picks up the tab.

The seven-times Oscar-nominated adaptation of McEwan's best-selling novel Atonement hasn't just boosted the profiles of Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. It also administers a much-needed shot in the arm to Coogan's flagging Hollywood career.

Distribution rights to Coogan's new film, Hamlet 2, were bought at Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival by Focus Features for $10m.

It's an eye-watering sum, since Sundance is usually the preserve of low-budget indie films, but Focus's coffers heave with Atonement's success.

All in all, it has been a dandy week for the priapic Coogan, who has canoodled China Chow, the tender daughter of fashionable Los Angeles restaurateur Mr Chow.

Lights, camera, cut!

Why are the bosses at BBC3 feeling so sluggish about recommissioning the surprisingly clunky and dull Jennifer Saunders comedy, The Life And Times Of Vivienne Vyle? Have they already canned plans for a second series?

The digital channel says it is unsure whether or not to buy further instalments of the ill-received satire, about a lowlife talkshow host and her powder-snorting apparatchiks.

A spokeswoman for BBC3 explains that Saunders, right, "is developing scripts for a possible second series but no decision has been made yet".

Which is telly code for: the boardroom suits don't want any more of this low-ratings rubbish, but nor do they want a story about it being axed.

Charm school

Has the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone chosen wisely in selecting Mike Figgis, the Leaving Las Vegas director, to make a public service film calling for more politeness?

When Pandora spoke to Figgis at the weekend, he was rude about Nicolas Cage, his colleague on that film. Not only did Figgis describe Cage as "a sad man" and "totally fucking insecure", he added: "His neurosis comes from losing his hair at a young age, which must be devastating to an actor, especially one so image-obsessed."

* Writing about how the MP Ed Vaizey took 'herbal Viagra' on telly last week, Neil Hamilton says the shadow arts minister was "a fine upstanding young man" when he "worked for me as a research assistant in the Eighties".

Informed of this at a rap concert in London, Vaizey said in horror: "I never even worked for Neil as a researcher!"