Pandora: Yes, minister: A ribbing for Byrne

Poor Liam Byrne has put up with his fair share of flak this week, after details of his demands on civil servants were leaked to the media at the weekend.

Apparently, the newly-promoted Cabinet Office minister provided staff with an 11-page instruction manual back in 2006, complete with advice on what type of coffee he prefers and how he likes his papers arranged.

Sadly for Byrne, the ribbing is far from finished: his fellow Labour MP Tom Harris has decided to rub salt in the wounds by publishing his own tongue-in-cheek list of orders on his blog. Under the headline "Understanding the Joy of Tom", Harris, who was sacked as transport minister last month, requests deep-fried Mars bars ("in large quantities before, during and after every meeting") and chips ("optional") as well as briefing colleagues on his other personal habits. "If I appear to faint at the despatch box, don't panic: this is simply a clever strategy I have devised for avoiding difficult questions," he writes.

He also threatens to answer the phone in a "fake foreign accent" if bothered at the weekend.

For his part, Harris claims that the temptation to poke fun at Byrne, the MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, was simply too great. "I just thought it was such a comedy opportunity," he tells me.

Wyman can turn stones into treasure

Who would have guessed it? Bill Wyman, the Rolling Stones' legendary bass guitarist and renowned ladies' man, has been exposed as a closet archaeology nut. So much so that the Culture Minister Barbara Follett has hailed him as being partially responsible for the boom in amateur bounty-hunters across the country.

"You wouldn't think it but he's an obsessive treasure finder," she informed guests at the launch of this year's annual Treasure Report.

So dedicated is the rock veteran that he has created his own website about the topic, complete with a detailed breakdown of his "signature metal detector" which, handily, fans can order online for the tidy sum of £125. That's certainly one way of seeking treasure, Bill.

Clegg joins the political fringe

Nick Clegg's new barnet has been turning heads in the House of Commons this week. The Liberal Democrat leader has abandoned the floppy, Hugh Grant-esque style of old for a new, altogether more cutting-edge look, complete with an on-trend short fringe – and Pandora, for one, is a fan.

Clegg's staff, however, are quick to assure me that their man does not have expensive tastes when it comes to the upkeep of his locks, and any nods to fashion are a mere coincidence.

"He just went to a barber's shop in Putney – no top hair salons or anything.

"He just wanted it shorter, that's all – and I'm certainly not going to say how much it cost."

Skinner raps at Sadler's door

Damon Albarn isn't the only pop star to experiment with more esoteric pursuits, it seems.

Following the success of the Blur frontman's move into opera, Mike Skinner of The Streets is preparing a surprise composition to perform at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London this Saturday as part of a concert organised by the youth charity Ctrl.Alt.Shift.

I'm told we can expect a move away from Skinner's typical urban rap music into previously uncharted territories.

Incidentally, it has been widely reported that The Streets' latest album is their last.

Oddie's not fussed about deadlines

Fans shouldn't expect the next book from Bill Oddie to hit shops in time for Christmas – either this year or next.

The gregarious bird-watcher tells me he is still a long way from completing his next promised work, and he has no plans to get his skates on anytime soon.

"I have wangled a rather hefty advance out of the publisher, so I'm in no hurry now!" he explained.

Jerry's a long way from home

Texan-in-exile Jerry Hall was a keen supporter of Barack Obama during the US presidential campaign, making the effort to cast her vote from abroad. Of less interest, clearly, were the political inclinations of her fellow Texans, who voted in favour of the other candidate.

"Did they really?" she says when I mention it. "I didn't know that."

pandora@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine