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

John Walsh

John Walsh: <i>btw</i>

Mrs Irina Ivanova, mother of the lovely Ekaterina, the cocktail waitress and model who has so beguiled Ronnie Wood, isn't happy about how her daughter has been portrayed in the British media. "The way she is described is as a Russian waitress," wails Irina, "but what it means is she is a bitch." It will be news to many Russian catering staff in Britain that the terms are synonymous but there you are. Mrs E continues: "Jo Wood said that she is a bitch but she is only 20 –she is just a normal girl." Absolutely. Nothing could be more normal than for a young woman to link up with a 61-year-old legendary booze-hound and shag-monster, pose naked for him and decamp with him to his Irish mansion to live in innocent bliss for ever. What mother would argue with that?

Crackpot idea of the week is "pitvertising" in which tiny digital TV screens are incorporated into the armpits of shirts: when a chap on the train seizes the overhead rail to steady himself, the screen will appear before your eyes, urging you to purchase Right Guard deodorant. It's quite shocking to find a TV commercial appearing on someone's person under your very nose, so to speak. But just wait until they start finding bits of clothing on which to advertise condoms and haemorrhoid cream ...

Best real-life crime story in ages is that of Thomas Hickman, found dead in New Mexico with his mouth taped up and a bullet in the back of his head. A clear victim of execution-style homicide, though there were no signs of a scuffle and his car was undamaged. Then police found a curious thing – a bunch of balloons, tied to a gun and tangled in a cactus. What the hell? The chief investigator asked around, and was told to watch an episode of CSI from 2003, in which a man conceals his suicide by tying his gun to helium balloons which, after the deed is done, float away the vital evidence. The police checked it out, and discovered Mr Hickman had bought the balloons and the gun, and taken out an insurance policy that would pay $800,000 if he were to die "accidentally." Sadly, high winds and too many cactuses thwarted his fiendish plan.

At the Idea Generation in September, the Fender guitar burnt on stage by Jimi Hendrix in 1967 is up for auction (expected price: £1m); also the last drum kit played by John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, and a notebook containing the final musings of Jim Morrison of The Doors. Fans will doubtless snap them up – but the trophies, once home, will look like any old burnt guitar, drum kit or notebook. At the Profiles in History auction house in Hollywood on 31 July, by contrast, you can bid for the Superman costume filled by Christopher Reeve, the silver suits worn by Dr Evil and his henchman Mini-Me in The Spy Who Shagged Me, and a Star Wars fighter plane which could go for £100,000. Megalomaniacs can even buy the stone tablets brandished by Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments for £25,000 or so. And smart-alec friends won't be able to say, "They look like any old Ten Commandments to me."