Pandora

THE CHESHIRE Regiment is training in Plymouth to deal with the annual hell that is Drumcree. The Army drill is to pelt the boys with spuds to simulate flying rocks. Only... they've run out of potatoes. (We'll skip tasteless gags about the Irish potato famine to wonder if the MoD has ever heard of Tesco?) Anyway, a pointy-head is told to find a substitute. And what does the mandarin mind devise? Carrots. Pandora's man in the flak jacket reports: "It's not bloody funny getting a carrot in the chutneys."

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MAVERICK BRIT director Tony Kaye continues his love thang (professionally speaking) with Marlon Brando, the madcap

crumbly thesp.

"Marlon's become a surrogate father to me," Kaye says. Both are fascinated by racial discrimination, apparently. Brando has now signed up to star in Kaye's new film One Arm, based on a Tennessee Williams story about an amateur boxer who has an arm amputated after a car crash.

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FASHIONISTAS' DIET now includes a fresh dish. The must-munch at Conran's Chelsea bash to launch his new eat it mag this week was... cherry tomatoes marinated in vodka.

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TOUCHY FEELY are not les mots justes for the half-Brit funnyman Mike Myers (pictured). He is emphatically hands-off, according to Elizabeth Hurley. And, as his co-star in the upcoming Austin Powers sequel, The Spy Who Shagged Me, she ought to know.

"I'm ludicrously tactile, and Mike isn't at all," Hurley says, "But because I was so obsessed with Austin I used to torment Mike by squeezing, stroking and petting him at every opportunity."

He turned down a tease from Liz? Myers's wife Robin must be a total honey.

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SMART MONEY says buy India for the Cricket World Cup: 12-1.

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AGE GAP? So Ian Botham is said to have hung with Aussie Karen Berrells. What's interesting is he's 43, she's 28. There's a maxim for males that their femmes should be half their age plus seven years. Pandora wonders what the parallel rule is for der laydeez.

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SEVEN DWARFS continues: Simon Hughes lives up to his moniker (Sleepy). Just as the Lib Dems decide to go for gold, Hughes has repainted his orange taxi - yellow. Are we keeping you up, darling?

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MICHAEL SPICER (Blue, Worcestershire West) is a man on a mission to stop the euro in its filthy tracks. To this end, he's promoting a Congress for Democracy conference in June. Now the fruitcakes (BNP, Communists) want to attend. Embarrassing, or what?

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DAVE PEARCE joined assorted Hollyoaks boys and girls at Piccadilly's Chinawhite this week for the launch of Seven, a dance magazine. Ooooops; it seems other producers and DJs were asked to leave after "sharing cubicles". Another profile music writer enjoyed an "assisted ejection" because, by 9pm, he was "almost comatose". Is this what's meant by everything going Pete Tong?

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POLO MUST be thirsty work. The players at the PJ's open season party sank more than 200 bottles of Pommery in a mere two hours.

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ANDREW DOUGLAS is the Southend-born, LAX-based Britpack dude who directed Disabled Century, (BBC2 tonight at 9.50pm). Douglas, an astute individual, waived his fee and worked on the three-part series for free. "It's good for my karma," says Douglas, the happening helmer of commercials for Nike and Adidas.

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MORE TV sleaze: stylecops are investigating two Brazilian shows for possible human rights abuses. One parades guests with grotesque physical deformities. The other features a lingerie model who rips chest hair from young hommes unless their team mates answer quiz questions correctly. It makes Cheaters - a new show being touted at Cannes, where adulterers confront their real-life spouses - sound positively tasteful.

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"POINT BLANK" describes Spike Lee's contention that Charlton Heston, the National Rifle Association's president, should be shot "with a .44 calibre Bulldog". (FYI: a magnum pistol). Keep it holstered, cowboy!

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

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