Richard Littlejohn, bile-secreting gallbladder of the Daily Mail, is used to life as a conspicuous figure. Not usually conspicuous, however, by his absence.
So when the great and good of the self-styled "commentariat" gathered yesterday morning for the inaugural Comment Awards, hosted by super-PR Julia Hobsbawm's Editorial Intelligence agency, one particular chair was notably empty at the champagne breakfast.
Littlejohn had been nominated for the "Poison Pen" award, which aims to honour "a commentator whose style of writing is witty but has the desired effect of ruffling feathers, and who has managed to deliver an unexpected twist on a regular basis". So where was he? "Well we rang his office," says a source, "and they just said, 'Er, Poison Pen, no I don't think so.'"
Perhaps that's why, when the man himself won the award, beating the Times' David Aaronovitch and Johann Hari of this publication, there was no pre-recorded message or live video link-up. Was he embarrassed to be the only winner not there to collect his award? Was he at least pleased to have won? "Won what?" he tells us when we call. We explain. "Poison Pen? What's that? I didn't know anything about it. Champagne breakfast? No one's told me." Just can't get the staff these days...
Waxing lyrical about Brown
Gordon brown looks set to become the least three-dimensionally rendered PM in modern times. He is the first prime minister not to be set in wax at Madame Tussauds, and now Shenda Amery, the British artist who sculpted busts of John Major and Maggie Thatcher, has revealed she has no plans to immortalise the embattled Scot. "No one's asked me," she tells us. "It's a shame, he'd be very straightforward. He has very clear definition, and a very large head."
Cameron outfoxed by campaign?
David Cameron's promise of a free vote on fox hunting has created a splash in the bubble bath world. Lush Cosmetics, which has donated large sums to direct action groups such as Plane Stupid and Sea Shepherd, has launched its latest campaign, a Fabulous Mrs Fox bubble bar, with the proceeds going to the Hunt Saboteurs Association. A wasted effort, according to our fox-hungry friends at the Countryside Alliance: "Let's be honest, hunt sabs are not the biggest consumers of soap," says a spokesman.
One of the great mysteries of the world has been solved by Pandora. Just how does singer-songwriter VV Brown achieve that trademark retro 1950s fringe? "I used to roll it myself, but now my hairdresser makes me special velcro rollers to slot in," she reveals. "We're thinking of launching our own VV roller range."
BBC on the blower
The BBC calls to answer our query regarding the shelving of a "Stop The Tour" 40th anniversary documentary, featuring a youthful Peter Hain. "There were never any plans to make a documentary on this subject," they say. So who was masquerading as the BBC when they approached Hain in February and he agreed to take part? "Erm, [long pause] I'll get back to you." Keep up guys...