Pandora: What autobiography? Ozzy forgets his lines

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The Independent Online

Despite acknowledging that, "it takes me 18 months to read a fucking pamphlet", Ozzy Osbourne last year agreed to join the ranks of CS Forester, Evelyn Waugh, PG Wodehouse and JD Salinger at publisher Little, Brown, by signing a lucrative deal to write his memoirs. It was to be released in time for our stockings this week.

Unsurprisingly, for a man who has slow-cooked his cortex in adventurous chemicals, there were hitches in collecting the rocker's thoughts. Seven months ago, Pandora reported that Ozzy (busy touring) had missed his deadline, requiring wife Sharon to pen an emergency follow-up to her own autobiography.

The publisher rescheduled his bingeing, bat-biting extravaganza for release on 1 May 2008.

Alas, in a great whine of feedback, Ozzy's book has expired. Little, Brown says the project remains in, "the very early stages", but I hear Ozzy has not written a word on it or employed a ghostwriter, nor does he have any plans or desire to do so.

Might the clue lie in a recent obscure interview he gave? "My memory isn't what it used to be... because of the drugs and alcohol I've been living on for the best part of my adult life.

"I often get asked: 'Is it true you snorted a line of ants?' Knowing me, there's a very good possibility. But do I remember it? No way."

Although he adds: "I can now remember the phone number of my ex-wife's mother."

Goodwill to all, from a monster of rock and roll legend

Further evidence arrives that Robert Plant is, in fact, the nicest man in rock.

Where others demand champagne, cocaine, scantily-clad models and silk cushions on their concert "riders", the Led Zeppelin frontman is reportedly content with a kettle, a box of PG Tips and a pint of full-fat milk. He has also been spotted sharing his sandwiches in an airport.

The latest account of Plantian goodwill comes from a Putney rehearsal studio, The Ritz. The rock band Van Tramp were pretty pleased to realise that none other than Jimmy Page and Plant were playing in the room next door. They were too shy to introduce themselves, but when they left they were told by reception that a certain man with long, grey-blond locks had already paid their fees.

Reports that Papal insiders have dropped their campaign for the canonisation of John Paul II and replaced him with Plant could not be confirmed.

From couch to GMC

How will Raj Persaud prepare for his surprising appointment with the General Medical Council in the new year, to answer charges of plagiarism? The genial psychiatrist and All In The Mind presenter, 44, has made various "cutting and pasting" errors while authoring articles and books.

Interestingly, court regulars at another plagiarism showdown last year's Da Vinci Code trial, in which Dan Brown was cleared of ripping off a similar book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail spotted a huddled observer familiar from daytime telly sofas: Dr Persaud! First-hand research this time? Perhaps it will prove useful when he steps before the beak himself.

Foreign affairs

Last year's entertaining and disturbing Murder in Samarkand, the memoir by Britain's renegade former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, was Carry On Up the Khyber-meets-expos of state torture. The kilt-wearing "boozed-up, randy Scot" (his words) led a colourful life, whistle-blowing the boiling of dissidents opposed to despot President Karimov, and crawling round the bars of Tashkent.

He has written a prequel, The Red Soil of Africa, covering his time there for the Foreign Office. He developed interesting habits, while involving himself in the arms-to-africa inquiry, meeting Sierra Leone rebels, and negotiating with Liberian warlord Charles Taylor. Identified as a troublemaker, he was sent to Uzbek-istan. What mischief could he cause there?

Readers are promised, "several lovers, a variety of alcoholic beverages, green mambas, cerebral malaria and an Ashanti ghost".

Wheels in Motion

The Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, gets about by car someone else's car. He has signed up to the WhizzGo club, where members share a fleet of pay-as-you-go Citroë* C3 runarounds (5 an hour, 40 a day). "It's brilliant for the planet," he says. Motion, remember, is paid for his services to poetry in sherry, "a butt of sack per annum", which is 110 gallons a year. James I began the remuneration in 1616 to invigorate ( surely deaden? Ed) the royal household poet's muse. The stipend amounts to almost two bottles a day, which I suppose could make having your own car rather pointless.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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