Pandora: Zephaniah unmoved by appeal of Cowell

Alice-Azania Jarvis
Friday 05 February 2010 01:00 GMT

Can Simon Cowell do no right? The squillionaire music magnate recently organised the recording of a star-studded charity single to raise money for Haiti at the behest of Gordon Brown, though the move has failed to win over everyone within the charity world.

Dub poet and animal-rights activist Benjamin Zephaniah – who appeared at Wednesday's TUC concert to raise funds for the earthquake-stricken nation – is one person who's still sceptical of Cowell's capacity to become the new Bob Geldof.

"You know, a lot of these people talk to their managers and they say, 'Is it worthwhile, is it a good career move for me?'" he reflects. "They obviously raise money, so they do a bit of good – and you can't ignore the bit of good that it does – but why didn't they do one for China?"

Fair point. Zephaniah, in the meantime, sounds like he is some way off his next release. "I spend most of my time running an office. A poet should go through life, be inspired and just write poetry, but I'm always talking to agents, doing interviews.

"When a young writer comes to me and they ask for some tips on what to do, I say, 'enjoy yourself now'. I hardly ever get any free time."

Breaking news! Burley apologises

*Kay Burley appears to be regretting her encounter with Peter Andre. Sky's most hard-hitting newsreader (literally: she once grasped the throat of a photographer who accidentally bumped her with a camera) has posted an unusually contrite blog on the channel's website. "[Peter] sobbed on my shoulder in the Green Room," Burley writes. "I was mortified at having upset such an obviously doting family man. He said he was relieved he'd finally vented some of the pent-up tension he'd been feeling and I sympathised." The violins, please.

Naomi's such a nice girl ...

Are Naomi Campbell's phone-throwing days long behind her? Pandora can't help noticing that the fiery supermodel has been experiencing something of a renaissance; Sarah Brown rarely appears without her (or so it seems).

Now Erin O'Connor, sensible voice of the fashion world, has come out as La Campbell's cheerleader. "She's one of the people I most admire in the world," she gushed at the 10th anniversary party of the charity TRAID at the Richard Young Gallery. "I watch her operate and it's a sight to behold. She just gets things done. She never delegates. She picks up the phone and organises things herself."

Kids Company boss reserves her vote

*Given her enduring work helping marginalised children, one would think that Camila Batmanghelidjh's electoral endorsement would translate into political gold dust.

Alas, the colourful founder of the London charity Kids Company tells us that no such support will be forthcoming this May.

"I won't be voting in the general election," she tells Pandora. "I'll work with any party which will help the needs of the children, but if they don't then God help them. I will be shouting it." Watch out!

Bacchanalian festivities?

*Nice to see that the generous souls at the Greek Tourist Office aren't letting the odd planet-sized deficit get in the way of festivities. We hear that they have just agreed to fly two of their country's most famous chefs, Christophoros Peskias and Stelios Parliaros, as well as "the world's best barman" Aristotelis Papadopoulos into London next week for the launch of their "A taste of Greece" festival. Lucky guests will even get the chance to enter a draw for an expenses-paid trip to Greece. Cheers!

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