Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Pandora: Wintour <i>sans</i> fur (and shades) for the NPG

Anna Wintour has placed a Louboutined heel on yet another rung of the Establishment ladder.

The frosty editor of American Vogue – whose personal schedule is being single-handedly blamed by officials for Milan Fashion Week's truncation to just three days – is to have her portrait displayed at the National Portrait Gallery.

The piece, by the American artist Alex Katz, features a rare picture of Wintour sans Chanel shades. She joins such greats at the gallery as William Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, and, ahem, Rio Ferdinand. Sadly, though, Wintour is unlikely to be sporting her Spring/Summer best to the painting's unveiling in May. "She doesn't have any plans to, unfortunately," we're told.

As well as determining the status of the world's fashion weeks, Wintour has been known to spend time as a walking target for anti-fur protesters' flour-bombs. Happily, the NPG is not anticipating the portrait will fall victim to any such activistic stunts.

We haven't heard anything yet so fingers crossed," giggles one staff member. "She's not wearing fur in the picture!" Never stopped them in the past...

No donut: Fabricant's on fire

Michael Fabricant has eye for spectacle. Earlier this week, the Tory MP could be seen waving a donut in the air at a Commons debate. "I brought it to illustrate that alcoholic drinks are as fattening as donuts," he explains. But had he, we wonder, considered using a KitKat? After all, they are the PM's favourite. "You've got me thinking!" he enthuses. "I could lug in a fire hydrant and spray foam to illustrate the need for fire safety. Or chuck a fax at a colleague to show the dangers of manhandling office equipment?" Sounds like a splendid idea.

Lydon enjoys the good (country) life

"I wouldn't use that stuff as a sexual lubricant," exclaimed an indignant John Lydon (Johnny Rotten RIP) when presented with a box of olive-oil spread during an interview with Q magazine.

Lydon, lest we forget, enjoys the bountiful position of brand ambassador for Country Life, the second least expected endorsement in rock 'n' roll history (the first being Iggy Pop's insurance wheeze).

"I know the people of Britain have a problem with me as a butter ambassador – but I eat it every day, mate, and I'm proud of what I've achieved for that industry. I'm putting it on me toast with a spade these days..." We bet.

Hannan toes the party line (at last!)

It appears Daniel Hannan is finally mastering the art of staying on-message.

The controversy-courting MEP – whose NHS-bashing has been well-documented by Pandora – was adamant in his refusal to answer uncomfortable questions at Wednesday night's talk by Theodore Dalrymple. "We are not going to mention immigration," he snapped at Pandora's probe. "It has been decided that this issue will not be discussed. If you are waiting to hear anything about that from us, you will wait a long time." Well: If you can't say anything nice, etc.

A role universally acknowledged

Colin Firth knows on which side his bread is buttered. Asked whether the string of gongs he has collected for his recent performance in A Single Man had dispelled his long-term association with Mr Darcy, the actor chirped: "Nope! It's not mine, it's yours." Not, of course, that he's complaining. "It's perfectly pleasant," he tells Pandora. "I rather like Mr Darcy, from what I remember. He has been around for 15 years now. I lost interest quite a while ago – but if other people want to carry him around then I'm very happy for them."