Party-pooper Karl picks a fight with Sir Elton

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It's the mother of all hand-baggings! Sir Elton John is at war with a crown prince of queeny Euro-trash: the fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.

The volatile duo have fallen out in spectacular fashion over an interview Lagerfeld granted to this month's Elle magazine.

In it, the German designer launched an unprovoked attack on John - hitherto a close chum on the celebrity circuit - saying that his recent wedding was ruined by over-zealous security arrangements.

"I refused to go to Elton's civil ceremony," Lagerfeld said. "I got a paper saying no gifts for the couple, and I like to make a gift. Cameras are forbidden; cell phones are to be deposited at the arrival. No smoking.

"I will not go where things are forbidden and I'm told how to behave. They say it's security. I went to the White House, I went to the court of Monaco, and I never got this. You feel not like a guest. You feel like an unpaid extra. You're hostage for a party."

Yesterday, Sir Elton, left, returned fire, saying that Lagerfeld, right, had himself insisted on elaborate security arrangements.

"He was invited and requested that he had his own security for the dinner," says a spokesman."This was not a problem for Elton and David [Furnish], but he still cancelled the day before. They were saddened that he didn't attend."

Lagerfeld is becoming quite a controversialist: last month he announced that former client Princess Diana - a chum of Sir Elton's - was "sweet but stupid".

* When Hollywood stars take to the London stage, they're supposed to leave their egos back home.

Not so Delroy Lindo, the Eltham-born star of Get Shorty, who recently completed a short run in The Exonerated at Riverside studios.

The show's producers are still counting the cost of agreeing to fly Lindo, right, across the Atlantic.

"Delroy caused a bit of a stink before he'd even got here by demanding to fly United Airlines," they say. "The theatre wanted to book him on another airline, but he was quite insistent, claiming it was a superstition. Having to buy another first-class seat at such late notice wasn't exactly cheap."

Thankfully, Lindo's positive reviews offered some recompense. And in any case, the producers had the last laugh.

"United Airlines went and lost Delroy's baggage," they add. "I'd be lying if I said we didn't think it served him right."

* Lord Archer doesn't mind a bit of humiliation, so long as it'll help sell a few copies of his novel.

The "shamed" peer, as we must now describe him, has been forced to discuss his dodgy past with officials at the US embassy.

It's par for the course for any former convict who wishes to visit the US. Archer is off there to promote his new book False Impression.

"Anyone with a criminal record will need to come here for a visa interview," says the embassy. "The outcome's always dependent on the crime committed, and how the interview goes."

Either way, Archer seems to cut the mustard: he lectures the Oxonian Society in New York on Tuesday.

* For an undisclosed fee, Geri Halliwell invades the privacy of her unborn child, in an "exclusive" for this week's Hello! magazine.

Bizarrely, the former Spice Girl refuses to disclose the identity of its father, from whom she's now separated.

"He's not a famous person. I want to guard his privacy," she says. "We just dated for a bit, but then I found that I'd been left with a beautiful gift."

It's all very discreet. But a touch unnecessary, since the screenwriter Sacha Gervasi has already claimed responsibility for the nipper.

Still, having made her position clear, Halliwell, left, moves on to earthly matters: "I've put on between 10 and 12 pounds in weight," she adds. "Each of my breasts now weighs around three pounds."

How does she know?

* Bill Wyman has prompted a public relations crisis in the dusty world of amateur archaeology.

The former Rolling Stone is on the verge of hanging up his metal detector after several years as Britain's best-known backyard treasure-hunter.

Only last year Wyman, left, published Treasure Islands, a book on the unfashionable pastime revealing how he'd discovered a collection of Roman coins in fields near his Suffolk home.

Sadly, he now has better things to do.

"I've not done any archaeology for ages," Wyman tells me. "To be honest, I just can't seem to find the time. I've got about 12 projects on the go, involving restaurants, music and all sorts, so it's been neglected."

Fellow enthusiasts are worried by the comments, made at the opening of Come Again at The Venue theatre.

"We're sorry to hear Bill's finding things difficult," says the National Council for Metal Detecting. "Metal detecting is like other hobbies: you've got to fit it in when you have time."