All efforts to avoid Katie Price are futile. The frenzy of tabloid attention that surrounds the model known as Jordan rose to a new level this week after she let slip to OK! that she had been the victim of a celebrity rapist. Since that disclosure she has been a constant fixture on the front page of every red top newspaper.
The popular news and entertainment media had already made the break-up of Price's marriage to Peter Andre its story of the summer, with the public slanging match that ensued being played out in reality shows, magazine cover stories and gossip websites. To outsiders it must seem as if Price's career is being propelled by a publicist with the powers of Barnum & Bailey.
But it's not quite like that. Jordan feeds the popular media because she immerses herself in it. When channel Five's The Wright Stuff began debating the rape story yesterday, Price herself put in a call to the host Matthew Wright. "The press have gone on and on about it," she complained. "I'm absolutely livid, they dig and dig and dig." Never mind the fact that she herself gave the story to OK! Jordan has a book coming out next month – on her look, her life and style – and, well, all publicity is good publicity right?
It is true that Price this year hired the entertainment PR company Outside on a recommendation from her divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton. Outside and Shackleton both worked for Paul McCartney during his divorce from Heather Mills. Yet while McCartney's calculated PR campaign wiped the floor with his ex as the divorce was played out in the press, it has been Andre – advised by Claire Powell of Can Associates – who has performed better in this year's bust-up PR battle, with a drip-feed of well-placed stories winning public sympathy for the dumped dad.
In column inches, though, Price always wins hands-down. Surrounded by an entourage of well-meaning friends and advisers whose mobile numbers are in wide circulation among the gossip writers, her every move is being relayed to the media, sometimes with her blessing, judging by some obviously staged photos. These "close pals" can be induced with hefty payments because the Jordan industry is currently big business.
Having filled a gap left by the late Jade Goody, who had a similar popular touch, Price has the sassiness to go to a higher level of fame, being already well-known on the West Coast of America. But unlike bigger stars, Price can't help but put everything on show. In an age of immediate news, maybe her public will appreciate the constant outpourings. Or maybe they, and the media that has become her life, will eventually have their fill. But it hasn't happened just yet.
Wheeze while you work
Snow White's diminutive forest pals didn't have names in the Brothers Grimm story, published in 1812: they were just seven little men. It was Walt Disney who gave them their identities when preparing his first-ever feature-length cartoon, Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, in 1937. They were, of course, Doc, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy, Dopey and Sleepy. Now, as Disney re-release it (in November) for the next generation of tinies, they reveal that three of the names rejected by Walt were Jumpy, Baldy and Wheezy.
You can understand why they didn't make the grade. They're a touch too personal. Jumpy suggests a neurotic disposition, possibly the result of shell-shock or childhood trauma, and not to be treated lightly – as you might laugh without malice at Sleepy. The same goes for Wheezy: it's hardly a matter of levity that one of the dwarfs is chronically bronchitic yet employed down a mine. Baldy, meanwhile, is a pure insult (like Spotty or Fatso) and is unfeeling towards alopecia sufferers.
A shame, all the same, not to have their presence. Were they to feature in a modern re-make, we'd enjoy the distinctive voices of Woody Allen (as Jumpy,) Sean Connery (as Baldy) and Tom Waits (as Wheezy) advising Snow White on thwarting the evil plans of her stepmother. One can only speculate what would have become of the plot had Walt elected to include Busty, Sleazy, Ditzy, Gobby, Hotsy, Foxy and Paedo...
Do we sell courgette flowers? Fried not
Here's a new challenge for those metropolitan foodies still struggling to find a reliable source of cavalo nero. As the nights draw in and thoughts turn to recreating those dishes that made August in Arezzo so delightful, the latest cookbook from the River Cafe's Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers hits the shelves. Centre stage is a recipe for fried zucchini flowers (or zucchini fiori fritti) – a dish guaranteed to make the sun shine in rainy Britain. It'd be perfect with some chilled vermentino and a crisp insalata verde. But does my (brilliant) local greengrocer stock courgette flowers? He does not. Waitrose or Sainsbury's? No. Whole Foods Market, London's cathedral of organic gastronomy? No again. Rose, Ruthie, darlings – suggestions please!