A veritable surfeit of celebs: the latest on the Frank Gehry and Brad Pitt ‘collaboration', the Tebbits set up shop and Lord Brockett in the house of wax
Gluten for punishment
John Tebbit, the Construction Products Association's industry affairs director, is a man who can't sit still. Despite his full-time job and the fact his wife Penny has just started a job as a headteacher, the couple have just set up an internet-based mail order business. Apparently, on a recent holiday in Spain, they came across a shop specialising in gluten-free cakes, pasta and bread. Penny is allergic to gluten and was so delighted to find tasty gluten-free products that the Tebbits were inspired to import and sell them. The couple now spend their weekends in a warehouse packing up orders. Their son inadvertently helped with the marketing strategy by filling in a comment form at sandwich shop Pret a Manger complaining about the lack of gluten-free options. As a result, John is meeting Pret's creative chef this week with a view to supplying the shop with his products. Just the sort of "on your bike" can-do attitude that would please John's dad, Norman.
Brad and Frank: the truth
It's official: Brad Pitt is not working on the King Alfred Leisure Centre scheme in Hove. Actually, it turns out that he never was. US magazine Newsweek managed to collar the great Frank Gehry, who revealed that his actor buddy has had slightly less than bugger all to do with his creation on the waterfront: "The guys at Brighton knew I knew Brad Pitt and knew he was interested in architecture," Frank recounted. "They asked me if he would like to participate and design the bar, or an apartment or something. So I called him and asked him and he said maybe. And he came by the office and looked at it and somebody here took a picture of him leaning over the model next to me. I don't know how it got into the press." Oops, sadly Mr Pitt has a tendency to do that.
A miraculous transformation
Staying with Gehry, he is in Brighton today to drum up support for the King Alfred scheme, which has received lukewarm reviews from English Heritage and CABE. The two gave the project a "cautious welcome". Frank is hoping to use his clout as The World's Greatest Living Architect™ to change this, according to sources close to the scheme. "We're hoping Frank will turn this into, well, a welcome," one says.
Procure 21's prognosis
The government's pronouncement that Procure 21 is in robust health have caused much eyebrow-raising. One concern is that the troubled programme, which is being run by the Department of Health, has been put under the control of director of estates Rob Smith, who has half a dozen other jobs to do. Also, nobody knows what happens once the five-year life of Procure 21 ends. All of which may point to the framework being downgraded and, eventually squeezed out.
‘Two words' Prescott
Another caning for poor old John Prescott, who has long been the British press' political punchbag of choice. Prezza's two favourite words "sustainable community" are in a list of mindless buzzwords to be found in the Dictionary of Urbanism, compiled by Robert Cowan, a former special adviser to the ODPM House of Commons select committee. "The words ‘sustainable' and ‘community' are the most overused and meaningless words in the ODPM's lexicon," the entry scolds. "Prescott has recently taken to using ‘sustainable communities' as a compound noun in the singular (as in ‘sustainable communities is the way forward'). This allows him to treat it as a concept, rather than expecting any such places to actually exist." Or, to put it another way, "Take that, you northern oik!"
Professional bounder Lord Brockett became quite the star after his appearance on I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! so it's heartening to hear that he has made it into Madame Tussauds. My spies, loitering at the belated Christmas party held at the museum by developer Minerva, tell me that several guests were confused by the sight of the company's directors gathered with interest around a waxwork of the good lord. It is unclear whether this confusion was quelled or exacerbated when, on closer inspection of the Carribbean tan and twinkly smile, it became clear that Brockett was an actual, breathing guest.