Sandie Shaw versus the EU: could one ask for a more fantastic feud? Yet it seems that this one is a reality, after the right-on Sixties singer – lately a campaigner for musicians' copyrights – found her attempts to lobby the European Parliament thwarted by Brussels bureaucracy.
"I've never dealt with it before and it isn't easy," she tells me. "I'm surprised at the lack of accountability. If they were to run a fan club in such a way they would be out of a job."
Faced with a string of brush-offs from Britain's MEPs, Shaw has turned to her website, taking the unusual step of rating members' performances. While the Greens' Caroline Lucas gets "First Prize for Best Response" and the Tories' Daniel Hannan a "gold star" for efficiency, the independent candidate Ashley Mote – who left UKIP after his conviction for benefit fraud – is granted a measly nul points.
"Perhaps [he] is so inundated with fan mail that he finds it difficult to keep up," Shaw speculates.
A charming lookalike
Pandora wouldn't be the first to remark on Danny Boyle's eerie similarity to Morrissey. Apparently, the Slumdog Millionaire director gets mistaken for the singer all the time.
"People have often thought that I'm actually him," he tells me. "It doesn't tend to happen so much these days but it used to be all the time. To be honest, I'm very flattered by it."
Naturally. Who wouldn't want to resemble a preternaturally irritable Mancunian crooner?
A dinner date with the Duchess
Following last week's reports that Kate Moss had auctioned off a kiss for the not-to-be-sneezed-at sum of £5,000 (all in the name of charity, apparently), further news of celebrity love-for-money.
Sarah, the Duchess of York, offered bidders a dinner date as part of last night's Lighthouse gala auction at Christie's in St James. All funds raised will go straight to the HIV/Aids charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust.
While the word is still out on whether Fergie managed to trump Moss in the profitable pulling power stakes, early predictions were of a close-run contest. I'm told that the minimum expected bid for the Duchess's lot fell somewhere in the vicinity of £3,000.
Detention time for Norris and Hughes
Oh, to have been a fly on the classroom wall at the Harris Academy this weekend. The school in Peckham, south-east London, played host to a round of the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge – a public-speaking competition for year 10 students.
Among the distinguished figures invited to judge were two former mayoral candidates, the Tories' Steven Norris and the Liberal Democrats' Simon Hughes. After the pupils had done their bit, Norris and Hughes were invited to deliberate in the privacy of a nearby classroom. Once they had come to their conclusion, however, I'm told they were unable to find their way out.
"They were given security passes to get around the building," explains one Harris teacher. "Unfortunately, their passes had expired, so they were stuck in there, hammering on the door. No one else could get to them because they didn't have the correct pass. In the end, we had to call the premises officer to rescue them."
Old rivals reunited
Alastair Campbell's guest editorship of the New Statesman has certainly livened things up. Included was a piece by James Macintyre, branding David Cameron a "hollow-gram". Not surprisingly, it hasn't been met with universal agreement, with the Spectator's Fraser Nelson quickly penning a fierce rebuttal. Since then, the pair have been locked in a ferocious blogosphere battle. Now the Fabian Society's Sunder Katwala is arranging a public debate for them to have it out in person.Reuse content