Mystic Deb: Next week's big stories, direct from the City's top speculator

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The Independent Culture
Thursday 21 May

Mobile phone users are warned of yet more health risks. Doctors admit that the side-effects of having your Nokia rammed up your own backside by other public transport users can be more severe than previously thought.

A survey marking Adult Learners Week reveals that one in every five people would like to take music lessons. Speculation ensues as to which one of the Spice Girls this might be.

A top investment banker is tipped as Britain's newest soul-singing sensation. The young star admits that he's found it difficult to break into such a sleazy, drug-ridden, competitive business - which is why he'll probably quit investment banking if the record takes off.

An international convention of Tall People takes place in London. Robin Cook denies all links with the organisation.

The French purchase Christie's for pounds 721m. Asked what they planned to do with their windfall, the former owners said they'd probably put the money towards a ticket for France '98.

Friday 22 May

The international convention of Tall People runs into problems, when all the attendees complain that they're sitting behind a tall person and can't see the presentation.

Richard Branson attempts an even more barefaced plan to delay the launch of BA's "Go". He gets a job as a Heathrow baggage handler.

Think-tank Demos publish their "Future of Privacy" report, but mark it Top Secret and refuse to tell anyone the findings.

The International Convention of tall people breaks up in disarray, when everyone starts picking on the Chinese delegate.

Chris Smith returns from Cannes. When asked whether he enjoyed his trip, Mr Smith admitted that it was nice to get away from all those media types in New Labour.

Elizabeth Hurley proudly unveils the opening of her latest skirt.

A government ban is imposed on Vitamin B6 supplements. Youths in tracksuits start surreptitiously pushing "tabs of B" in top London healthclubs.

Saturday 23 May

As a mark of his admiration for the traditional English pub, Bill Clinton announces that the presidential residence will henceforth be known as "The White Horse".

Thousands of new VW Beetles are recalled for safety checks. Engineers blame a Bug.

Consumers protest at being charged pounds 200 for water-meter installation, pointing out that this is almost as much per meter as Lord Irvine's wallpaper.

Sunday 24 May

Barristers are accused of being unnecessarily rude and abrupt. Asked to comment, a spokesman for the Bar Council replies "piss off, four-eyes".

Monday 25 May

The tearful mother who found her son on the Internet after 47 years reveals all to a Sunday paper. "I wondered what he was doing shut in his bedroom all that time", she comments.

Allied Carpets issues its first profit warning. Signs outside all the stores are changed to read "Share Prices - Slashed!"

Astronomers discover a huge diamond, similar in size to Planet Earth. Liz Taylor puts in an insurance claim.

The investment-banker-turned-soul-singer, Abi Kuku, sees his first record shoot up the charts. Abi prepares to make his debut performance on Top Of The PEPs.

Tuesday 26 May

The house-building industry introduces its first loyalty card scheme. Clients collecting enough points can exchange them for a set of coffee mugs to replace all those broken by the builders.

The NHS promises to do more to tackle the problem of back pain - admitting that what they really need is a good Spine Doctor.

William Hague plays down reports of a showdown with the Tory Left in Europe, insisting that he didn't think there were any Tories left in Europe these days.

TV schedulers unveil details of a blockbuster new series based on the Bible. Adding that if it's a success, they hope to get a spin-off book into the shops in time for Christmas.

Debbie Barham