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The Independent Culture
GEN X OLYMPICS? San Francisco has just held a mini-Olympics for generation Xers featuring competitions such as "Snowboarding Big Air" "Street Luge Downhill" and "Bicycle Stunt Street". Perhaps this could feature on the calendar of some enterprising British city next year. It'd boost the local economy, improve its tourist profile and may be cool fun. Let's face it, all a community needs to qualify are a few waterproof banners, and a

7-Eleven or a shopping centre with a car park to hold the games in. But couldn't we Brits devise some sassier events to entice the global demographic? Pandora's edgy eight suggestions: Intense Caffeine Dog-on-String Racing; Street McBurger Throwing; Extreme DJ-ing; Extreme Refusing to Get a Job; Freestyle Refusing to Get a Job; Passive Showing No Respect; Aggressive Passive-Aggressiveness; Extreme In-Line Unemployment.

GREG DYKE'S pledge to exterminate overpaid consultants and their focus- groupie culture at the BBC could ultimately be more important to William Hague than allegations of political bias. Guess which consultancy enjoys a pounds 1m annual retainer with the BBC? McKinsey and Co, sometime employers of... William Hague.

OH, AND if the new Director General's agenda has a bold-face reminder saying "Don't let drama drift", one sure-fire short cut to beef up the schedules would be to commission Jane Austen Powers.

TONY WILLIAMS, the bent finance director who defrauded Scotland Yard out of pounds 5m, is now working on the buses in Kingston upon Thames.

JEREMY NORTHAM, of An Ideal Husband fame, on his co-star Cate Blanchett: "Can't stand her."

LOS ANGELES drivers have begun turning on their hazard lights to alert others that they're on the phone while on the road.

CELEBRITY SPELLCHECK: here are some more "suggestions" supplied by an antediluvian (but kosher) Word 5.1 spellchecker. Melanie Blatt - Melon Bleat; Julie Burchill - Julie Brutal; Charlie Dimmock - Chorale Gimmick; Alan Duncan - Alan Dunce; Fergie - Freebie; Alex Ferguson - Alex Freemason; Kilroy - Killjoy; Monet - Money; Taki - Tacky; David Yelland - David Yelling.

READERS' INDIGESTION - This week's limited readership journal is Ocean Navigator, a must-read for those involved with large ocean-going yachts. The most recent issue of this glossy 104-page mag features coverlines such as: "Avoiding Collisions" (hmmm... probably a good idea), "Multi-Speed Marine Transmissions" and a special section on "Autopilots". The top feature is headlined "Two Years Before the Mast".

Any hopes of a 21st-century update on rum, sodomy and the lash are dashed by the rather stern standfirst: "A sailor discovers that building a carbon- fiber spar takes more time than originally planned." Looking at the ads for products such as KVH TracVision 3 ("a new generation of marine satellite TV") Pandora's reminded of this paraphrase of an old adage: if it flirts, if it flies or if it floats - hire it

NOTTING HILL... a place? A movie? Or a state of mind? All of the above may be correct. Following Ann Treneman's recent coverage of a slightly peculiar residents' meeting in W11, further particulars of the powwow emerge. How many other residents' groups can boast participants like JC001, who astutely saw the event as an opportunity to up his profile: "I'm the fastest rapper in the world I'm making a film it's not called Notting Hill it's called Ladbroke Grove." Another Gatey Matey, James Brennan, declared apropos of nothing: "I'm a big fan of Oprah Winfrey." A third resident confided: "I like Woolworths. I actually shop there." Next week in these columns, the Poshopolis diet - Beggar: "I can't eat!" Female Passerby: "My good man, you must force yourself."

WINNER OF Pandora's Extreme Freestyle McSaucer of Milk this week is Roseanne Barr's hair and make-up girl. When a journalist asked her, "How do you do Roseanne's hair and make-up?", she deadpanned back: "Quickly." Miaow!

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