Pandora

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The Independent Culture
FIRST GORDON Brown managed to lose Charlie Whelan, but now it's his girlfriend, Sarah Macauley, whose has mislaid a dear friend: her cat, Felix. Many hoped that the tom would follow in Humphrey's paw prints and become the new Downing Street cat. Unfortunately, he has been missing for the past two weeks. Macauley has used her extensive PR experience in an effort to find Felix. Posters of the four-year-old black and white tom cat have been posted around the South London area where she lives. According to friends, Felix bears a striking resemblance to the Iron Chancellor. Sarah has transformed Felix into a friendly, confident, outgoing creature and friends speculated about the "Felix factor" which seemed to be working on Mr Brown. Cats have always been associated with superstition. Could this be an omen?

FRANK JOKLIK, president of Salt Lake City's scandal-ridden bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics, is a British Honorary Consul. Pandora has learnt that Joklik, who resigned amidst (denied) allegations of corruption earlier this month, receives an "honorarium" (paid expenses) from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for his services and has done so since 1994. The allegations against him - that he helped bribe International Olympic Committee officials to win Salt Lake City's Olympic bid - have been investigated by the British Consulate General in Los Angeles, and he is due to make a report shortly. A call to the boys at the FO revealed they were "taking these allegations seriously, but we have not seen any evidence to support them".

PANDORA IS always happy to lend a helping hand to a desperate man, which is why she is launching a campaign to allow the adorable Piers Morgan, editor of The Mirror, to gain membership to the Groucho Club. Morgan was persuaded to apply for membership to the media hang-out by his uncle. His membership was turned down. His new year was blighted by what Piers called a "fabulous" letter, which started off saying that the membership was full and then proceeded to say that even if it wasn't full, the club would not accept Mr Morgan. A severely humiliated and distraught Morgan admitted to Pandora: "I am slightly bemused that I don't seem to have the right criteria to join a media club. I'm a desperate man, I need to be there drinking with the media luvvies. Please, Pandora, do something to help me." While the Groucho's membership secretary suggests that he reapply, Pandora would be only too delighted to share a vodka fizz with the cheerful chap and welcomes him as her guest whenever he chooses.

MEANWHILE, MIRROR columnist Tony Parsons has been the unintentional butt of an "in joke" this week. Sunday's episode of the BBC series The Lakes shows two characters fast asleep in front of their TV while one of Parsons' appearances on the Late Review programme (also BBC) plays out. The Lakes was created by Jimmy McGovern, whose credits include Hillsborough, a TV drama telling the story of the 1989 football tragedy and much praised by Parsons. When Pandora spoke to Parsons about the "tribute" paid to him by The Lakes, he had pity rather than praise: "Jimmy McGovern has turned into a sad old hack."

ACTRESS JULIA Sawalha (pictured), known for her role as the dowdy daughter Saffy in Ab Fab, has been telling of the spirituality of her own home life. Currently doing the rounds with The Memory of Water in the West End, Sawalha says: "My dad (Jordanian actor, Nadim Sawalha) is a natural philosopher and my guru. I went to see the Dalai Lama once and I was surprised at the number of things he said which my dad had already told us at the kitchen sink." Obviously, the kitchen sink is the place to be for enlightenment. After all, it's where to find the Fairy, the Flash and the mug.

WHILE ORANGE juice is not really Pandora's style, she was rather taken aback in the much hyped Titanic bar in London when her puritan friend ordered the classic vitamin drink only to be told that there was none. "We have orange juice as a mixer but we don't serve it on its own," explained a barman. This glitch was fixed by ordering a sensible vodka and orange and asking the barman to hold the vodka. The things a girl has to do for a simple drink these days.

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