Pandora: Rushdie's former guard is being forced to apologise

Alice-Azania Jarvis
Sunday 23 October 2011 01:54

Curious news from the Strand. We hear that Salman Rushdie and his former wife Elizabeth West are to be reunited at the High Court today. The pair will receive an official apology from a former bodyguard over allegations he made regarding their marriage.

The move follows an emergency hearing in which Rushdie demanded that the first run of Ron Evans's book be pulped and the offending claims withdrawn.

Evans, a former police officer, worked as a driver and bodyguard for the couple after Iranian religious leaders declared a fatwa in response to Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses.

Relations turned sour when Evans's memoirs, including several scathing attacks on the Booker Prize-winner, appeared in a national newspaper.

Included were false claims that West only married Rushdie for his money and that he was nicknamed "scruffy" by his bodyguards.

No doubt eyebrows will be raised at the prospect of Rushdie and his third wife being reunited – he left her abruptly after falling for the dancing charms of model Padma Lakshmi – though the couple have stayed in contact for the sake of their son.

"He wants her to be there," insists a member of Rushdie's legal team. "The allegations concerned her too, so it's appropriate, and she has always been very supportive."

Smile like you mean it

Disappointment at the Reading Festival this weekend, with headline act The Killers stubbornly refusing to pose for photographers, even imposing a ban on all on-stage shots.

"It's ridiculous," complained one disgruntled snapper. "Even Leonard Cohen lets us take a couple, and if there is anyone in the world who doesn't need the publicity it's got to be him. They are being divas ."

It isn't the first time that Brandon Flowers, left, and his Nevada rockers have attracted the wrath of photographers; last year they requested that similar restrictions be imposed at Chelmsford's V Festival, as well as at Ledbury's Big Chill.

Press day for Kelly

Meanwhile Kelly Osborne tried to boost her media credentials, attempting to use the Festival's press entrance rather than joining the mile-long VIP queue.

Looking particularly striking in black skinny jeans and a vintage blouse, the petite scenester cited her presenting gig on Radio 1 as proof-of-hack-status.

Sadly for Kelly, the bouncers couldn't be convinced and she was swiftly dispatched to the back of the queue.

Are you 'avin' a laugh?

Ricky Gervais appears to have forgotten his table manners. As Pandora noted last week, the comic was spotted dining out at The Ivy ordering only salad and making eyes at others' decadent choices. Was he on a diet, we wondered? Alas, Gervais has taken offence: "What sort of sad idiot watches someone eat then phones a newspaper?" he rages on his blog.

Of course, no one means to be seen at The Ivy.

Happy returns for Fry

Pandora was pleased to note birthday boy Stephen Fry's fruitful Facebook haul over the weekend.

The self-confessed technophile and all round dork not only received several dozen well-wishing "wall posts" from his 400-odd "friends", but also a range of virtual presents. Some of the highlights: some jelly babies, a cocktail, and a gold medallion.

Well-suited: Agyness and Albert

The supermodel Agyness Deyn seems to be influencing her boyfriend's personal style.

Never a fashion zero, Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr admits to taking a particular interest of late, sounding off on the quality of men's suits sold on the high street.

"People hate wearing them because they fit terribly and feel strange," he complains. "You end up looking like an out-of-date parent."

Hammond, whose trademark skinny jeans and Converse trainers have won a devoted following among indie-kids, recently made his own sartorial debut, collaborating on a line with Ilaria Urbinati.

And from the sound of things, there will be plenty more to follow. "I want to make more that I'd wear myself," he says.

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