Pandora: Sir Elton calls in the lawyers as satirical piece strikes a wrong note
Wednesday 09 July 2008
Sir Elton John is used to being lampooned by comics around the globe, but his sense of humour only seems to extend so far.
Lawyers acting for the colourful singer have fired off an angry letter to The Guardian to complain about a spoof item that appeared in its Saturday magazine, part of a series titled, "A Peek at the Diary Of... ", with Elton the object of the writer's satire.
Among other things, the article poked fun at Elton'sannual White Tie and Tiara Ball, which took place at his home in Windsor a fortnight ago. Elton is upset that the article implied that the overheads required to put on the bash, which raises funds for the Elton John Aids Foundation, were excessive.
"Naturally, everyone could afford just to hand over the money if they gave that much of a toss about Aids research – as could the sponsors," it read. "But we like to give guests a preposterously lavish evening, because they're the kind of people who wouldn't turn up for anything less... Once we've subtracted all these costs, the leftovers go to my foundation. I call this care-o-nomics."
Sources close to the singer describe the piece as "unpleasant". It's not the first time he's locked horns with the press over the party. In 2006, he successfully sued the Daily Mail over claims that he'd ordered guests at the party in 2005 not to approach him.
Meanwhile, The Guardian confirmed that it had received a lawyers' letter, and was now deciding how to respond.
Nancy's wedding march
Is Nancy Dell'Olio trying to tell us something? Last week, she admitted she still wore her engagement ring despite splitting from Sven-Goran Eriksson more than a year ago.
Then on Monday, Dell'Olio made her catwalk debut in Rome, modelling a wedding dress by Ettore Bilotta.
"He's a friend whose new collection was inspired by me," she explains to me in transit at Heathrow. "I'm very passionate about fashion."
"Would I marry in this? Why not? I don't really go for the traditional type of wedding dress."
Oldman's Hollywood future not set in Stone
Gary Oldman owes his Hollywood breakthrough to director Oliver Stone, who cast him as Lee Harvey Oswald in his Oscar-winning film JFK.
Strange, then, that the notoriously intense pair appear to be non-speakers.
"Oliver Stone thinks I've lost my edge," Oldman tells this month's Total Film magazine. "Yeah. But then I've looked at the last couple of things he's done and I could perhaps say the same thing to him."
The British actor is on refreshingly candid form, and is also happy to burn his bridges with the James Bond franchise.
Addressing the possibility of appearing as a villain in the lucrative series, he adds: "It's not something I would do. Once you do it, you're sort of at an end of a line."
Johnny's other trick
My story yesterday about Johnny Vaughan's vanishing hairline appears to have opened a can of worms.
The Capital radio breakfast show presenter recently gave an interview with a weekly glossy in which he admitted to adopting a comb-over in order to conceal his baldness.
Now, a nark from Channel 4 reports that during his time presenting The Big Breakfast, Vaughan had a fondness for spray-on hair products. "These packages would arrive for him at the studio, I don't think he realised we used to open his post," says my informant.
It's an intriguing detail, and one that Vaughan's agent wasn't able to deny in returning calls yesterday.
The President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, stands accused of stealing a colleague's seat en route to this week's G8 summit.
Adrian Lovett, a Save the Children delegate, claims he was forced to move from his seat on the plane after Zoellick's entourage flexed their diplomatic muscles.
Writes Lovett in The Independent's Open House blog: "We were told to move because the plane wouldn't be balanced. Then we see Zoellick being ushered into our seats at the front."
Zoellick, to his credit, has had the good grace to go on-line to apologise about the incident.
"Sorry we somehow ended up taking your seats," he writes. "Hope you otherwise had a good summit."
Plaque to the future
John Thomson has waved a little white flag and surrendered to the Hollywood glamour monkeys.
The Mancunian actor, best known for his role as Pete Gifford in Cold Feet, has just finished filming Iain Softley's new fantasy epic Inkheart opposite Helen Mirren and Brendan Fraser.
In an effort to woo the Hollywood money men, he has since had his teeth straightened, capped and bleached by the celebrity dentist Dr Kailesh Solanki.
Six years ago, Thomson was the subject of a lurid "three-in-a-bed-romp" tale in the News of the World.
I hope the happily married star's flashy new smile won't facilitate any further deviations from the straight and narrow.
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