Pandora: Handbags in Soho as Moss and 'Mail' journalist clash

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The Independent Online

London's Groucho Club has played host to some of the most legendary celebrity bust-ups on record over the years, but few can match the shenanigans which took place at the livelySoho watering hole earlier this week.

On Tuesday night, a bizarre altercation took place at the bar between the supermodel Kate Moss and TV journalist Jaci Stephen, who was there as a guest at the Daily Mail's Christmas party.

The row kicked off after Stephen had finished a singalong at the club's piano with the actor Max Beesley and asked Moss if she could sign her cardboard invite to the Mail's party.

"She was really nice to me at first, but as soon as she discovered I worked for the Mail she refused to give the invitation back and started scribbling all over it," says Stephen. "Since I'm leaving the Mail on Sunday I really wanted to keep hold of it as a souvenir, but when I demanded Kate hand it over she suddenly began screaming at me, shouting 'I'm not going to give it to you.'"

A spokesman for Moss wouldn't comment on the incident yesterday, but by all accounts it sounds as though Stephen was lucky to walk away at the end of the night with both her eyeballs intact.

"Eventually I did manage to get the invitation back, but Kate almost had to be held off from hitting me," she adds. "In the end, her best friend went and dragged her off into another room."

Will hasn't got the ego for London's West End

Will Smith isn't usually one toduck a challenge after all, he piled on nearly three stone to play Muhammad Ali.

But the megabucks multi-media star is strangely reticent about the idea of appearing on the London stage.

"It's a good question, but it's really not something that I feel I need to do right now," he told me at the premiere of his latest film I Am Legend on Wednesday night

"I think it's something you need to take veryseriously. I don't have the arrogance or ego to work in the theatre, but I know it's something you need to work hard at and apply yourself like in a film."

Fellow Hollywood stars Christian Slater and Ewan McGregor are currently treading the boards in the West End. I fear they might want to have serious words about arrogance and ego with a chap who once named one of his albums Born To Reign.

Stone is down on support

Joss Stone has just signed up to be the face of Cadbury's Flake, but she is picky about how she is exploited.

Tonight, the leggy singer was due to perform a secret gig in a pub in her native Devon. But after discovering one of the other bands due to perform, called Yes Sir Boss, were selling tickets to the event on the back of her appearance, she dramatically decided to pull out.

"The band have taken the idea and pulled it into the next field and promoted the gig on the back of her own name," says a spokesman. "Joss feels completely compromised and never agreed to that approach."

Yes Sir Boss have supported Stone twice before. As they say in the business, there goes that gig.

Tate's form

Catherine Tate had a foot-in-mouth moment recently when she let slip to Jonathan Ross that her Doctor Who co-star David Tennant planned to quit the show at the end of the next series.

Tennant has since issued a denial, but it's worth mentioning Tate has form in this area. A couple of years back, she made comments about Hollywood star David Schwimmer, with whom she was appearing in the West End play Some Girls, writing in the New Statesman: "It's as much as I can do to smile at the man."

When reported in Pandora, it caused something of an international incident. A highly cheesed-off Schwimmer rang this column to enquire: "Do you guys print fact or fiction?" before hanging up.

Brandreth dries up, but won't shut up

Gyles Brandreth wisely abandoned his trademark teddy bear sweaters many moons back. Now he has turned his back on his other great vice. The former Tory MP, now a regular on the after-dinner speaking circuit, has decided to quit the demon drink.

"I'm out most evenings doing the after-dinner speaking, and as I can't have a drink before 11pm there didn't seem to be any point," he tells me.

"It's a mixed blessing, as you lose weight and feel better, but being the only sober person in the room means you do see some horrors. It really isn't a pretty sight."

Brandreth now only drinks tap water, but says he will occasionally push the boat out with a Tabasco-free Virgin Mary.