In what may be the most creative post-expenses show of bravado yet, the Labour MP Tom Levitt – ranked eighth in recent accounts of the most claim-happy MPs – is to cut his teeth as a stand-up comic with a high-profile slot in the West End.
We're told that the aspiring funnyman will make his London debut next Monday at the 450-capacity Leicester Square Theatre, as part of a pre-Edinburgh gala by the musical comedy duo Frisky & Mannish. It will be only his second-ever performance since spending time honing his skills at the Amused Moose comedy school, alma mater of that other renowned parliamentary wit Lembit Opik.
"It's all been rather last minute," explains an excited Levitt, pictured. "I've been doing a show at the Buxton Fringe Festival and Frisky and Mannish just asked me to do a few minutes with them. I think if I had time to think about it I'd be petrified but at the moment I haven't."
Tickets for the show start at £10 with all proceeds going to the Notre Dame Refugee Centre. "I won't be doing any political jokes that's for sure!" says Levitt. "But you can expect lots of parrots." Pandora can hardly wait.
A cold-blooded work of art
*Jo Wood dealt admirably with her wayward husband Ronnie's desertion, substituting him for a regular spot on the London party circuit. Her brother, the artist Paul Karslake, appears to be having a little more difficulty. He's just finished work on a painting depicting the Rolling Stone as a vampire, feeding off the flesh of a young blonde. Painted in blood, the work was, says Karslake, "one of the most cathartic" of his life. Currently showcased on the Fox Entertainment website, it will, we're told, be available for sale on eBay.
Call me Spangles: Blair limbers up
*Time, we think, for a Pandora campaign: Let's Get Tony Blair On Strictly. Honestly, we couldn't think of anyone more perfect, an opinion only cemented by recent revelations that he is wellversed in the intricacies of the cha cha cha. Touring Durham at the weekend with a group of local media, the former PM is said to have pointed up a side street and commented: "Just up here is where I used to go to dancing; waltzes, foxtrots and all that sort of stuff." This, surely, is too good an opportunity to miss? What do you think, Tone?
Will Fry follow in Tsar Alan's footsteps?
Stephen Fry raised eyebrows at the weekend's iTunes Festival, after admitting to using illegal download sites to watch his former cohort Hugh Laurie in the American drama, House.
His revelations do not, however, appear to have done Fry a disservice as far as the Government is concerned. Indeed, shortly after his speech, Fry was asked by Brown bulldog Tom Watson to share his views for a government consultation on file-sharing. Is Fry to become the Government's latest celebrity "tsar"? For the time being, it seems not: he has yet to reply to Watson's invitation.
Alarm bells ring in the Commons
*No running as you reach the exits! Members of Parliament enjoyed 10 minutes of relief yesterday morning when a fire alarm forced them to evacuate the House of Commons.
Alongside hundreds of parliamentary staff congregating outside the main entrance in Old Palace Yard was the new Speaker John Bercow who (admirably, in Pandora's opinion) was the first to get back to business once the cause of the alarm was discovered. Others, we are told, were rather less diligent.