Comment: Pandora

PETER MANDELSON is close to selling his Notting Hill flat. According to agents Marsh & Parsons, Mandy's accepted an offer close to the pounds 785,000 guide price - but his buyer's stuck in a chain...

MANDY'S FRIEND Rupert Murdoch is experiencing similar frustrations with the sale of his rather grander pounds 12.5m, six-acre property in Los Angeles. The media tycoon has taken the 17-room house off the market after a succession of curiosity-seekers (some of them pretty high-voltage - they include studio heads Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, along with uber agent Michael Ovitz) traipsed through it . Murdoch is reported as saying: "I'm sick and tired of having moguls visit my house and rifle through my desk."

BATHROOMS ARE dangerous. According to the new issue of Good Housekeeping, 240 people every year on these shores end up in casualty after "incidents with bidets".

HAS FAT lady Clarissa Dickson Wright joined the Liberal Democrats? Pandora's taking the story with a pinch of salt, but as Wright's professional partner Jennifer Paterson writes for the camp Tory rag The Spectator, such a switch could add a much spicier tone to the duo's kitchen table discourse...

MEANWHILE CULINARY subversives the Nosh Brothers continue to add their own idiosyncratic piquancy to the saccharine confection that is celebrity chefdom. The brothers, who publish an alcoholicly flavoured cookbook called Summer Nosh this week, recently nominated their 15 least favourite things about British restaurants. Highlights include electric handblowers ("very motorway service station"), "poncey descriptions on menus" (like "smothered with a garnish of larks' tongues and a distilled jus of whatever"), Australian wine and... foreign waiters. They hate East European staff because "they've no concept of service or hygiene". And the brothers don't like Italians because "they chat up your crumpet".

WHICH WILL be the coolest shades to wear this summer? Fashionistas swear by the expensive new Chanel glasses: they have to be slipped over the head because the unit is essentially two monocles joined by wire at the back. But the smart money is on Kirk Originals with their amber-tinted "world-enhancing view" lenses. They're very popular among young people who like snow...

WE'RE USED to ladmags featuring acres of skin - but now it's women's titles that are moving beyond sexy coverlines into totty territory. The new Elle features a racy spread of naked thesp Keely Hawes while, over the water, Cosmo plans to take over a Manhattan department store window and fill it with lingerie models to launch its swimsuit issue... you've come a long way, baby! Nylon, the new femme-targeted title launched today by the cutting-edge RayGun-Bikini stable, features an eight-page lingerie spread in its debut issue. If money ever gets tight, Nylon can always recruit its talent in-house: the magazine is the brainchild of supermodel Helena Christensen (pictured).

PAUL McCARTNEY'S lachrymose Royal Albert Hall gig this week apparently presages us seeing a lot more of the old pothead. He's apparently been back to his Abbey Road stomping ground, laying down a disc full of Sixties cover versions with fellow dinosaurs Pink Floyd. Tell Grandma.

DURING THE Arabesque party at Momo restaurant the other day, Candace Bushnall, creator of Channel Four's Sex in the City, said that Brits are too sexually indiscreet. "I've never visited anywhere where the sexes are so disparaging about each other - English men say English women are bad in bed, and English women say English men are bed in bed." Yes Candace, but compared to your native New Yorkers what are we really like in bed? "Let's just say I haven't been disappointed," she replied. Ah, the joys of research...

Contact Pandora by e-mail: pandora@independent.co.uk

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