Pandora: Rushdie's an open book over his love life woes

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The Independent Online

One Fatwa, an assassination attempt and a, ahem, string of photogenic girlfriends: Salman Rushdie is no stranger to attention.

Still, this latest development seems bizarre even by his standards. Following the break-up of his relationship with towering actress Pia Glenn, it appears that the womanising author has become embroiled in a tabloid spat of Katie Price proportions.

Earlier this week Glenn, who had previously branded her Booker-collecting ex "cowardly, dysfunctional and immature" for his decision to dump her via email (tsk!), gave an interview to Rupert Murdoch's screeching American tabloid the New York Post, in which she accused Rushdie of harbouring lingering emotions for his leggy ex-girlfriend, Padma Lakshmi.

"He would talk about her day and night," Glenn alleged. "He would talk about her so much I'd ask him to stop."

The heart bleeds. But... what's this? Yesterday Rushdie decided to hit back, with a hasty call to the paper's gossip hotline. Glenn, he claimed, is "an unstable person who carries around a large, radioactive bucket of stress wherever she goes," adding that "when my marriage to Padma ended I was saddened and hurt, that's true, but that was two-and-a-half years ago, and, like any adult, I have accepted the world as it is."

As yet, there's no word from Rushdie's people on why he retaliated in such a public way; though, judging from Glenn's volubility, this one could run and run.

Bradshaw gets into the groove

The smooth-moving culture secretary Ben Bradshaw (or, as Pandora likes to refer to him, the Minister of Sound) was, according to reports, to be found at the Roundhouse on Tuesday evening, enjoying Robbie Williams' comeback performance for the Electric Proms. Of course, it isn't the first time Bradshaw has shown his music-loving credentials.

He was spotted at this year's Latitude Festival "doing a Bez" during a performance by Grace Jones. Did Robbie get him similarly exercised? Tragically, his office failed to comment.

A case of mistaken identity

"I'm Welsh, I'm a working class hero," bellowed Welsh scruffbag Rhys Ifans into Pandora's ear before complimenting us on our outfit (always appreciated).

Ifans was, apparently, due to attend the launch of Pearl Lowe's new line of dresses at up-market bar Sketch on Tuesday night.

Instead, however, he found himself at the 80th birthday celebrations of condom manufacturers Durex.

A bemused Ifans squawked: "I've found myself at a party for johnnys, I can't believe it." No doubt the other guests were just as surprised.

Literary mischief from Dorries?

Just what is Nadine Dorries up to?

The Tory bombshell claims to be meeting with "a man who is writing a book on John Bercow". As he knows only too well, Ms Dorries is no great fan of the new Speaker, promising, when he was elected, "to make sure that it is one of the shortest served appointments in the grand and glorious history of that coveted chair". Could this all be part of the plot? Ms Dorries's office is playing coy. No doubt Mr Bercow's £107,000-a-year media handler will be taking an interest.

Before I kill you Mr Bond...

We feel a Pandora campaign coming on. Emma Thompson tells us she has been lobbying the makers of the Bond films to allow her a role. "I keep writing to Barbara Broccoli saying I should be a villain, a proper villain with a prominent scar," she said at Tuesday's London Film Festival screening of An Education. "I would like to explore more of a dark side. I think definitely someone should write me something really awful. God knows I am not going to be a Bond girl am I?" How could they resist?