Pandora

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
JANCIS ROBINSON has learnt the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished. Britain's formidable first lady of wine recently offered a bed to a hippie-dippy mate at the familial chateau she shares with the restaurant maven Nick Lander. But the couple were suddenly called back to these shores on business. The hospitable Robinson generously left out a selection of fine wines for her visitor to enjoy in his hosts' absence. He chugged the lot. And then progressed to the cellar, where the greedy guest went on a vintage binge that wiped out the fruits of more than 10 years of oenological research. But this setback hasn't deterred Robinson (pictured) and Lander from reaching out to City types this Friday, when the couple will lead a wine stomp at the Honourable Artillery Company, in aid of Comic Relief. It's more red toes than red nose: participants need only stump up a fiver and don a T-shirt plus shorts to tread some grapes and raise their share of Wine Relief's pounds 1m target. Registration before 12 March is mandatory; details from Sue Hall on 0171-409 0494 (fax 0171-409 1018).

u

THE LIB Dems' very own Mr Voltage has once more shown that his party has its finger on the pulse of pop life. Their constitutional spokesman Bob Maclennan has written an opera about "a Scottish martyr who's transported to Australia". A sure-fire vote-winner, or what? Someone should tell him about Flat Eric.

u

LET'S SAVE William Hague the trouble of looking over his shoulder; Michael Portillo continues to stalk him. Latest sighting of the Spanish fly guy was at a dinner for Hammersmith Conservatives. He was introduced by a local grande dame who promised to "give Michael Portillo's distinguished biological details". Realising her Freudian slip, she hurriedly corrected herself by saying she would describe "all the positions Michael Portillo has held in the Cabinet".

u

TED DANSON, who played Sam, the Red Socks jock, in Cheers, has found himself catching flak in a whole new ball game. Danson, co-founder of the green pressure group American Oceans Campaign, is the keynote speaker at the International Oil Spill Conference, an industry beanfeast marking the 10th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster on 24 March. The curveballs are coming in thick and fast, mainly from some 40,000 Alaskans who cite new scientific research suggesting they're still suffering the effects of the 11 million gallons of crude oil dumped on their shores by the grounded tanker. "It's an act of unmitigated gall," say protesters, who've written to Danson pointing out that Exxon is sponsoring the conference through an industry organisation. "If you speak, you'll be lending your credibility to Exxon's lies..." The greenies allege that Exxon "has not paid a penny" of a pounds 3.5bn fine imposed by a federal court four years ago. As a real- life environmentalist, who for years played a barman on TV, doesn't Danson know oil and water don't mix?

u

PERHAPS JERRY Springer's jaunt to these shores will inspire a kindlier, gentler freak show. Instead of screening the Paula Yates debacle, UK Living could thrill us with more relevant topics - "Honey I jumped a queue", "Identical twins who share the same allotment", or "At weekends I secretly drive a Morris Minor".

u

FORTUNE, THE corporate business magazine, has an innovative new gimmick for spicing up bland business stories - topless women. A recent feature was illustrated with an eye-catching snap of bare-bosomed Trobriand Islanders. The feature was about finding the right job. Wired, the nerdish journal of cutting-edge tech, is at it too: a recent issue included a history of the vibrator. So is this sexing up, or dumbing down?

u

WHO'DATHUNKIT? IT was 38 years before radio garnered an audience of 50 million. It took TV a quarter of a century less to reach the same penetrative threshold. The Internet hit the 50 million mark in just four years. Yet four of the largest US-based media outfits managed to lose pounds 50m between them online last year. In cyberspace, it seems, popularity doesn't predicate profitability.

u

WEIGHT WATCHERS is running a competition in which the first prize is a car. Runners-up win one of 25 pairs of Raleigh bikes. But as an eagle- eyed reader, May Brunton of Edinburgh, points out, wasn't it by spending too much time in their cars and not enough on their bikes that contestants got into Weight Watchers in the first place?

Contact Pandora on: pandora@ independent.co.uk

Comments