Barring a Christmas miracle, this year's yuletide No 1 will be a cover version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", sung by the winner of Simon Cowell's X Factor talent show. But in a potentially awkward development for Cowell, pictured, one version of the song is already making its own assault on the British hit parade.
This week's mid-week chart reveals that the late Jeff Buckley's hauntingly beautiful cover has surprisingly re-entered the Top 40 at No 34 following a recent wave of downloads. It is thought the track has attracted a new audience thanks to its current use in a BBC trailer for its online iPlayer service.
Any normal-minded record company might think this was a prime time to re-release the song in the shops to further its climb up the charts. However, Buckley's back catalogue is published by SonyBMG, the same company which looks after the X-Factor artists.
"There is no way they would re-release it because there is too much at stake with the X Factor version," reckons one industry expert. "Though it would be great if Buckley could posthumously give them all a bloody nose."
Gordon discovers his quiet side, suddenly
Shy little thing, Gordon Ramsay. Brave too. After the recent nasty headlines linking him with a professional "other woman", it was cockle-warming to see him bounce back yesterday at the Excel London exhibition centre, presenting the "Gordon Ramsay Christmas Theatre" cooking session (£19 a head, £25 on the door).
Quite how festive his wife Tana feels after the revelations remains to be seen – but at least the sweary chef's publicists were in helpful damage-limitation mode.
For once, they seemed reluctant to nurture attention for their boy, who customarily adorns a glossy mag a week in the Yuletide run-in. The PRs seemed keen to "lock down" any troublesome publicity his return to the limelight might attract. Such as from irksome diarists, for instance.
When Pandora turned up at Ramsay's "Christmas Theatre" (having rung ahead) there was, sadly, no room at the inn. A bit of idle chatter with those in the queue – Did they still buy into the Ramsay dream? – led to a quick eviction from the venue.
"You are not accredited!" an event publicist hissed, throwing this diarist out into the cold, declining to assist with accreditation later and turning down an attempt to buy a ticket.
"We'll send you a picture."
Anyway, to all those who do make it down to see Gord: may you learn how not to burn the sprouts, and come away feeling all warm inside.
Pike turns a hand to politics
Whilst George Osborne enjoys mixing it with the filthy rich, some of his minions also prefer to keep lofty company. At the recent Spectator/ GQ Politics Meets Style party, dainty actress Rosamund Pike, pictured, was spotted on the arm of Ozza’s highly rated economic adviser Rupert Harrison. “They’re defintely not a couple but they are chums,” says a friend. “Rosamund is good mates with Rupert’s girlfriend, though I don’t think we’ll be seeing her canvassing for them anytime soon.” Maybe so, but Osborne’s office is certainly not bereft of glamorous young beauties. It also employs William Shawcross’s toothsome daughter, Ellie.
Naomi's 'charm' offensive
When Naomi Campbell opens her cakehole, the form book usually requires chroniclers of the wince-inducing celebrity gaffe to reach for their notepads.
Her latest howler comes from Miami, where she is in town for the launch of Art Basel's retrospective of her career – her first visit to the city since her designer friend Versace was gunned down outside his home in 1997 .
"I'm getting to like Miami again," she told one reporter. "It was very hard to come back here after they killed my friend."
Hell for Teather: Butler moves in
Whichever parliamentary pen-pusher decided to relocate the Labour MP Dawn Butler's Commons office to the same floor as the Liberal Democrat frontbencher Sarah Teather clearly has a sense of humour. Ever since it was announced that the pair would contest the redrawn seat of Brent Central, their offices have exchanged regular mortar fire. Last year, Butler accused Teather's lackeys of making several unflattering changes to her entry in the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Mandy recalls his pre-Corfu days
Peter Mandelson was on nostalgic form at the Hugo Young lecture in London on Wednesday. Addressing the audience at Chatham House, he said that Labour's election victory in 1997 came during a more innocent time: "John Sergeant had not danced a step on national TV and I had not yet met my first oligarch." Or so he says, anyway.Reuse content