Pandora

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The Independent Culture
CLAWS ARE being bared at Chloe. When Karl Lagerfield bailed out of the Paris-based couturier to join Chanel in April 1997, he said of his replacement Stella McCartney: "They should have taken a big name." Now the stellar Stella (pictured), daughter of the McDaddy, hits back. "To be honest," she says of her ponytailed predecessor in next month's scene magazine "it [Chloe] couldn't have got any worse." Despite recent personnel changes, scene retains its quirky take on the fashion planet; the book also features an unusual spread by Sally Brampton about designers and gardening called "Cutting Hedge Fashion" - perhaps it's a non-secateur?

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PINOCHET-FANCIERS hanging out at Mortons, the time-warp boite in London's Mayfair, will probably smug up when they learn that Stormin' Norman Lamont is set to initiate the first parliamentary debate about the ghastly General in the Lords in May. Lady T and her handbag also apparently plan to make an appearance. Did someone say Eighties revival?

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TATANIA COOLEY, who has just blown through London as her prize for winning the American National Memory Championship, can accurately match at least 70 per cent of 100 fresh names and faces within 15 minutes. So why does the 27-year-old secretary need Post-It notes? "I'm incredibly absent-minded," she admits.

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ENQUIRING MINDS frequently ask: "Pandora, what makes a good gossip columnist?" Try this - carry a boulder on your shoulder. Be vain, shallow and poorly read. It helps if you're a SINBAD (Single Income, No Boyfriend and Absolutely Desperate) who can cultivate sex-offenders, "pustule-covered ragpickers" and gangsters as primary sources. Elude accountability. Never let the facts stand in the way of a good story. Oil up to your superiors, belittle all others... whoa, enough already! Rather a jaundiced view, isn't it? It comes from that self-styled "little

Greek boy" Taki Theodoracopoulos, 61, who is on these shores to dine with the ailing maverick zoo-owner John Aspinall. The ageing roue was, until recently, gossip columnist for The Sunday Times.

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STANLEY KUBRICK was as eccentric off-set as he was behind the camera, if Betty Compton, his tittle-tattling one-time housekeeper, is to be believed. Compton, who worked at the director's house near Elstree more than 20 years ago, says the maestro once stopped a cat-fight by locking one of his moggies in a bathroom... for three months. "The smell was overpowering," says Compton, who also claims that Kubrick's cupboards were bare except for two shirts, one of which he wore, the other of which she washed. But that's not true, says a Pandoraphile who was also on the premises at the time. Her version is that yes, Kubrick did wear the same clothes every day - a blazer, a clean white shirt, grey flannels and black loafers. "I think Betty is suffering from dramatic recall," she says.

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HOT ROCKS: the latest New Age fad among West Coast glitterati, is massaging tired bones with warmed stones - basalt is best, according to the Arizona spa offering the 50-minute therapeutic treatment. The combination of the heat with the pressure of the strokes, the spa says, allows muscles to warm and let go. Please - don't try this at home with a microwave and a pumice stone.

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THE DIRECTOR of Southwark's Globe arranged for 7.5 tonnes of hazelnut shells to be shipped in, courtesy of a Turkish Shakespeare-lover from Ankara, so that the theatre's floor could be scattered with an authentic Elizabethan ground-covering. When the RAF landed the150 sackfuls of shells in Brize Norton, customs had to value the unusual cargo. They opted for pounds 10 - tax included. Clearly, we Brits don't believe in shelling out for nuts.

Contact Pandora by e-mail: pandora@independent.co.uk

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