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Who’s Got Juicier Gossip?

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London, obviously. In fact, in a city with thirteen daily newspapers, it can be easy to feel swamped. To throw visiting New Yorkers an anchor, Naomi Campbell gets accused of assaulting underlings in London too.

No charges will be brought on the latest set of allegations to trouble the combative supermodel, though this news was almost lost in blanket coverage of a race row that engulfed the recent celebrity version of the TV show Big Brother. The alleged bullying of a Bollywood actress by three Brit contestants sparked a diplomatic incident with India, with Tony Blair forced to intervene in condemnation. Producers say the storm “saved the show from being boring,” while in order to save her career, the bullies’ ringleader entered the Priory. Hitherto viewed as our glitziest rehab facility, it’s now associated with a D-lister, and thus hopelessly out.

Should you need to check into rehab during your stay, the city’s Capio Nightingale hospital has recently been graced by singer Pete Doherty, boyfriend of supermodel Kate Moss. It is a tribute both to the energy of our gossip columnists (that they still synthesize shock at “celebrity takes drugs” stories) and to Doherty’s constitution that he provides them new material on an almost-weekly basis, often obliging with a related court appearance. A bewigged judge usually observes that Doherty is a talented poet and lets him off with a fine. “What would Pete Doherty have to do to get jailed?” is a voguish question, especially now that “How big will Heather Mills’s divorce payout from Paul McCartney be?” appears to have been answered.

Under more pressure are the prime minister’s closest aides, several of whom have been arrested and released after questioning by police investigating the sale of honors—lordships and the like—to party donors. With the government thus engaged, sex scandals have of late been provided by the Liberal Democrat party, who have notched up an M.P. leaving his long-term partner for a young Transylvanian songstress (only hit: “Touch My Bum”), and a series of gay exposés, the details of which are referred to euphemistically in newspapers.

Incidentally, no one of any interest thinks the royal family is of any interest. Prince William’s girlfriend, Kate Middleton, is an accessories buyer for the clothes store Jigsaw, which is basically analogous to being the person who thinks up necklines for J.Crew. The de facto royal family is David and Victoria Beckham, the soccer star and his Spice Girl wife, who are leaving a power vacuum now that he’s signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Wry Londoners suspect this is a trade for taking Madonna off America’s hands. Quick Madge update: The English accent’s fooling no one, and despite donating millions to establish a Kabbalah HQ in the city, Madonna remains the only famous U.K. practitioner of the “faith.”


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