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ROBIN COOK's increasing obsession with physical fitness is spilling over into the serious business of briefing the media about affairs of state. While backgrounding lobby journalists on the latest about Lockerbie, Cook described the new prison in Holland where the two alleged bombers of Pan Am 103 will be warehoused during what looks like protracted judicial proceedings. "The prison has a very large gymnasium," Cook said, "and it will be made available to the gentlemen" (and presumably the gentlewomen) "of the press." Observers of the Cookie Monster have noticed that our gnomic Foreign Secretary has adopted a stringent new daily regime: Cook has taken up jogging round St James's Park most days that he's in London in, Pandora's told, "rather fetching skimpy shorts". Cook watchers say that the motivating force behind him slipping into his trainers can be summarised in one word: Gaynor.

A DATE with the judge might beckon if toy giant Hasbro tracks down a group of ex-teenagers who have been driven to dementia by the warblings of their younger siblings' Furbies. The naughty nerds have opened a renegade site featuring Furbie Hookers. And no, Miss Widdecombe, it's nothing to do with Rugby Football.

WHODATHUNKIT? Neurosurgeons have performed brain surgery on cockroaches.

IF BBC Radio 2 has got it right and "Yesterday" really is today's most popular song, what kind of lyric is most likely to make lovers' pulses beat a little faster tomorrow? A trip to the website of Cern, the Geneva high-energy particle physics lab widely credited with inventing the World Wide Web, may provide a Scooby.

When not smashing atoms or constructing super colliders, the lab's big brains play in a couple of bar bands. One is a doo-wop outfit called Les Horribles Cernettes.

What kind of twisted lust was it that inspired guitarist/ keyboardist/ computer scientist Silvano de Gennaro to pen this lyric to a tune he calls Liquid Nitrogen? "You said I'd be yours 24 hours a day/ Integrating until the end of time/ Now in nanoseconds that's just the square root of/ 2670 billion times 10 to 90 divided by two." OK Silvano, you hum it and I'll play along...

JEFFREY ARCHER, at the Commons launch of Catholic soul predator Father Michael Seed's book What Heaven Means To Us, confided to one guest that he has been going out with a homeless charity to meet London's indigents first-hand. Assuming this is neither shameless book-pushing nor desperate vote-grabbing, isn't this the sort of role that we should expect putative royal bride Sophie Rhys-Jones to step into? Or is the London mayoral aspirant more serious than we thought about creating a miss-migration of the emotionally disconnected from the city's streets?

DOUBLE THINK, or maybe no thinking at all, at gay rights activistas Stonewall. The pink pressure group is supporting New Labour plans to overhaul the House of Lords, telling its members that hereditary peers are holding up the amendment to equalise the age of consent. Perhaps someone should set them straight: Baroness Young, who is leading the anti-gay campaigners in the Lords is a life peer. Earl Russell, the most vocal supporter of equal homo-hetero ages of consent, has a title that's emphatically hereditary.

CELEBRITY DRESS sense: Cate Blanchett (pictured) insisted Asprey fly in, at 24 hours notice, a 10-piece set of baubles for her Oscar outfit. She then wore the earrings in her hair.

CELEBRITY TRESS sense: Caroline Aherne, the repulsive Mrs Merton's alter ego, was sharing studios with a group of star-struck teenagers in Manchester to tape the kids' show Why Don't You? Spying a stray grey lock among 16-year-old rising star presenter Jo Hunter's flame red tresses, Aherne plucked it out, saying she would weave it into Mrs Merton's wig. Yes, it's another free public service from Pandora's Celebrity Night School: if you can't keep your hair on - borrow someone else's.

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

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