Pandora: It's an ill wind that blows a novelist good

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The Independent Online

As the financial crisis deepens, the race to write The Bonfire Of The Vanities de nos jours is already beginning.

Tom Wolfe's 1987 novel captured the drama and excess of Wall Street's high-flying bankers before the recession of the early Nineties.

Now the novelist Sebastian Faulks tells me that his next book will perform a similar task, chronicling a week in the life of a wealthy hedge fund manager shortly before the Noughties boom turned to bust.

"It was impossible to keep up with events so I've had to root it in December 2007," he explains. "That way the writing is already on the wall – it's after Northern Rock, so people know what's coming – but the party in the City is still going on.

"Each chapter will be a day of the week. It's not all about money but hopefully it will capture a very specific time of our lives."

Originally, says Faulks, the work was going to take quite a different form. He began before the first whiff of a credit crunch, and was going to set the book in 2008.

"I started writing two years ago without any idea of what was about to happen. It was coincidence but it has made it very interesting."

Art is niece work if you can get it

With her daughter Elizabeth now a bona fide international supermodel, Jerry Hall is turning her attention to nurturing her niece's career as an artist.

The flame-haired ex of Mick Jagger has opened her doors to Elaine Ferguson, the Texas-born daughter of Hall's twin sister Terry, while she stays in London to promote her work.

She also turned out to support Ferguson's first London showcase at Mayfair's Scream Gallery, bringing with her a host of A-list friends from London's art world.

And it seems her efforts may have paid off.

I hear that Ferguson, who has only exhibited twice before, may soon find her efforts putting in an appearance on the hallowed walls of the Tate Modern.

"We managed to get a buyer down here earlier," Hall informs me with a proud smile. "They seemed very interested – which is just great."

Who has TPT fallen for? Yeah, You!

*It seems there's a new man on Tara Palmer-Tomkinson's arm. Pandora hears the energetic socialite has fallen for the charms of musician Mike Kintish, who she met when filming Comic Relief Does Fame Academy. The pair have since worked together on TPT's upcoming album.

"They're trying to keep things under the radar for a while" says my source. "But they're definitely together." Kintish has been hotly-tipped as one to watch next year with his band the Yeah Yous. I only hope the romance is more successful than Tara's last music-industry liaison; relations with James Blunt reportedly cooled rapidly following reports that he lied to her about his previous girlfriend.

*Laurence Graff, so-called "King of the Diamonds" was celebrating last week after forking out £16.4m for a stone at an auction at Christie's in Central London. Back in the office, he's having to fend off advances from pressure group Survival International. The organisation has written to him over his involvement in Gem Diamonds. They say its mining operation in Botswana threatens the area's native Kalahari bushmen.

*An unlikely sideline in travel advice from George Osborne. I hear that the Shadow Chancellor volunteered as a reader for his local Wilmslow Talking Newspaper, offering details of his activities as an MP and passing on some summer holiday tips to the listeners. Presumably Yachtgate was off the agenda.

Floods? Laurence plays a Venetian blinder

No longer quite so busy "renovating" our homes with purple paint and a truckload of MDF, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen occupies himself crafting hand-made Christmas cards for each of his friends.

"They're in the style of an Advent calendar," he explains.

The interior designer's festive season didn't, however, get off to the smoothest of starts, after he got caught up in the Venice flooding. "It was extraordinary. We still managed to get some shopping done – coming from Gloucestershire, we're used to flooding."

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