Pandora

PANDORAPHILES WILL remember Brian Sewell's egregious aspersions in the Evening Standard about our award-winning feature writer Deborah Ross. Do enjoy this succulent verbatim extract from Deborah's tape of

their chat.

Ross: "Were you allowed to have friends round to play?"

Sewell: "I didn't really have friends until I went to school at 11. Then there were odd boys who came home for tea and masturbation. The sole objective of asking a boy home for tea was masturbation."

One lump or two, Brian?

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AS BOTH Premiership and Nationwide promotion pushes go to the wire, and relegation strugglers tussle to escape the mire, here's Pandora's guide to stupid football rhyming slang (OK, the printable bits). Referee: card spree. Pinpoint pass: snake-in-the-grass. Red card: Mark and Lard. Early ball: market stall. Goal: Spanish stroll. Sliding tackle: raise some hackles. Dummy: Brummie. Handbags at dawn: X-rated porn. Hit the post: saw a ghost. (On the) bench: Judi Dench. Automatic promotion: motion in the ocean. Alex Fergusson's Salary: New Tate Gallery.

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EAGLE-EYED SPORTS fans noticed an intriguing aspect of Sky's coverage of the crucial title duel between Liverpool and Manchester United this week. Although the commentators told viewers the score in both other games involving premiership rivals (Spurs vs Arsenal and Chelsea vs Leeds), Sky operators did not flash either score, or cut away to show the goals on screen, as often happens when the Murdoch network has cameras at other games. How frustrating for punters taking Sporting Index's offer of a spread on how often Sky pulled away from their main coverage to show action from either of the other two matches.

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MAYBE IT'S because Martine McCutcheon's parrot wouldn't speak to them this week that, on Thursday, The Mirror ran an item on Mohamed

Al Fayed's request for a Brit passport. Denis MacShane, described by the tabloid as a "senior Labour MP", took the "No go, Mo" position. The counter-balancing pro-Mo line was whacked out by bull-necked Brian Hitchen, who was billed as "ex-Daily Star editor". Hitchen's gig as a quondam consultant for the Harrods boss was mysteriously omitted, as was the fact that the Mirror's editor, Piers Morgan, had lunched at the Riverside People's Palace with the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, 24 hours before.

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CATE BLANCHETT (pictured) wears "embarrassing underwear", she tells next month's American Elle. In the accompanying photo spread, the magazine used digital goo to erase what a source curiously described as the Australian- born actress's "camel toe". Say what? "Her vulva was clearly visible," comes the answer. Elle also wiped out the cigarettes she smoked during the photo-shoot, which is why her fingers seem curiously stilted. It's a hot topic: by showing celebs and similar youth role-models smoking are media outlets colluding with Big Tobacco's agenda?

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SMOKE HAMLET: Denmark, which seeks to ban duty-free sales of liquor and tabs, also has the top proportion of female smokers in Europe: 48 per cent.

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ENOUGH ALREADY of pathetic gay Nazi "chic". This long-standing sub-theme in homosexual culture, iconised in Jean Genet's Un Chant d'Amour, should surely be retired from the scene in the wake of the Admiral Duncan bombing? Not so, says pink campaigner Chris Morris: "Gay people mimic those who oppress them by dressing up as nuns, footballers, soldiers or whatever," he says. "Things may change in the short term." But the Soho resident Roger Clarke has a fresh take: "The queers and the queer-bashers have morphed into one oafish macho entity, swathed in the livery of war." Oh, and has anyone else noticed how frequently people sporting camouflage kit on Civvy Street characterise themselves as pacifists?

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TWO LONG pub names: The Shoulder of Mutton and Cucumber is in Yapton, near Bognor Regis - but

Manchester's Stalybridge boasts The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn. Can you beat it?

Contact Pandora by e-mail:

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independent. co.uk

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