That takes bottle, Mr Rushdie

Richard Kay

Last updated at 00:00 06 April 2004

HOW much luck can one man have? A brilliant career, riches in the bank and, in under a fortnight, marriage to an exotic model and actress 25 years his junior.

All this is already Salman Rushdie's good fortune but things have just got a little bit better.

Following my disclosure about plans for his unconventional female-only stag night, I can reveal that the evening passed off in a blur of luscious frosted lips, some passionate kissing and risquE adult games.

And just to round things off, this unlikely ladies' man disappeared into the night with gorgeous Australian singer Dannii Minogue, Kylie's younger sister.

But then in 56-year-old Rushdie's life, truth is often stranger than fiction. With three failed marriages behind him, the author of The Satanic Verses marries wife number four - Indian beauty Padma Lakshmi, 31 - in New York in 11 days' time.

Last Saturday - without his fiancee, of course - bearded Rushdie arrived at the Hampstead home of noisy Kathy Lette, naughty writer and wife of QC Geoffrey Robertson.

Inside, some of Rushdie's favourite and well-connected female admirers had been assembled by the perky novelist.

They included the newly-svelte domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, Caroline Michel - aka Lady Evans, wife of Lord (Matthew) Evans, former chairman of publishers Faber & Faber and founder of the seen-betterdays Groucho Club in Soho - Philippa Walker, partner of the BBC's head of drama Alan Yentob, and Lady Jane Wellesley, onetime squeeze of the Prince of Wales who is now dating republican commentator Anthony Holden.

It was not quite a Rushdie full house - husky-voiced TV presenter Mariella Frostrup and ravenhaired model Marie Helvin, two of his regular companions, were no-shows.

Happily, it didn't hamper the evening's revels. Miss Lette had engaged some highbrow entertainment, from the 'puppetry of the penis' team with their 'genital geometry' to a lesbian floor show.

But the highlight of the night was the sophisticated party game of 'spin the bottle' in which kisses are exchanged. Rushdie, naturally, was an enthusiastic participant, especially when he was required to kiss Miss Minogue, with whom he shares a passion for Scrabble.

'It was a full-on snog, tongues and all,' I am told. When the other ladies were required to kiss one another, the exuberant Miss Lette was, I understand, urging them go beyond mere chaste pecks. . .

As for the party boy, he was last seen clambering into the back of a minicab with the charming Miss Minogue.

Dannii's agent tells me: 'I know nothing about this. . .'

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