Is it love you're after?

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The Independent Culture
One & Only Internet Personals

"Sweaty palms, a racing heart, a quiver in the voice" are possible side- effects of a visit to this Lonely Hearts site. For a monthly fee, you can respond to any of the thousands of personal ads posted on the site, or have a mailbox where others can reply to your plea for lasting love and affection. Honesty is encouraged here, so let us confess that this a fascinating and often enlightening peek at human nature ("Lezzo-queer not-vanilla"!). After choosing the combination a deux, (disabilities, pen-pals and same-sex are included), you can go to Picture Pot Luck, which is frighteningly like a missing persons list. Romance Central offers written introductions to your cupid choice, but watch out, as says one such man- hunter, "if you are just out for a cyber [sex], please skip me". The site also includes tips for writing your ad, search by country, and an Agent of Love bot searches for ads that meet your requirements. If success is as straightforward as the site, then it will certainly have an effect on singleton statistics.

Althorp - The Official Web Site

The black-and-white photograph of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a pearl- trimmed dress, and the quote from Earl Spencer - "Diana is safely back at home, where her mortal remains can be cared for, and where her memory lives on forever" - add a sombre tone to this new site, designed to provide information for those wishing to visit Althorp when it opens to the public next summer. The pompous invitation from "Earl Spencer at home" is perhaps an attempt to re-establish the Spencer family as English patriarchs. But speculation as to the Earl's motives should be left to the tabloids, who will be pleased to know that this site offers a visit to Althorp that doesn't cost pounds 9.50. The site provides details on admissions, directions, maps and photographs, international travel information and some history on Althorp. Be warned, though, Althorp is not for impulsive day-trippers, as all of the 1998 weekends are already sold out.

The Arkhive

This is for anyone who wants a fun-hit, with an obscure sprinkling of information. Billed as "the place to find all the long-dead TV shows you thought you'd seen the back of forever", not only does it list more than 1,100 such programmes but also makes some very astute comments and places the shows in the context of other programmes and trends. (See Airwolf and, it advises, "also Blue Thunder, Streethawk, Nightrider etc", for further variations on the 1980s black pointy vehicle obsession..."). The site's funky Sixties design probably indicates that its creators do not share the Nineties penchant for media worshipping. Links are given for any show that has its own Web site. Search is via an alphabetical list of names, or by a list of programmes. It is not absolutely up-to-date, but as this is Cult TV it seems entirely appropriate.

Bengal Cat Magazine

One of the uncontroversial qualities of the Internet is that it gives people the chance to share unique passions. Hence in this site, edited by experts from the International Bengal Cat Society and the Bengal Cat Club, genuine passion comes through in its design and the emphasis is on reader interaction. There is more than a little Doctor Doolittle in Bengal Breeder, Anne Randall's introduction to an animal known to "coo and chirp, and likes to jump and somersault". Information is in-depth, from a Beginners' Introduction with details and pictures on this relatively new breed, links to other sites, readers' letters and the chance to add your cat to the gallery, information and advice on breeding, Bengal qualities and how to buy one. Purrfect.

Jennifer Rodger