Thursday 03 June 1999
TEMPER TEMPER... Are the Immigration people at Eurostar's Waterloo terminus going off the rails? First, it was the prissypants' protest about the Chicago poster (Pandora, 28 May). Now this week a reader detrained from Paris and noticed the airport-type EU and non-EU queues. A casual enquiry about this to an Immigration official was met with a snarky "Don't you know there's a war on?" Perhaps the boys and girls in the adjacent Customs department could arrange for an industrial-sized delivery of chill pills.
REASONS TO be cheerful, part 1: nosebleeds are more common in the winter.
CONSPIRING MINDS will be watching cabinet ministers' movements closely between 3 and 6 June. Those are the dates for the Bilderberg Conference, one of those Davos-style uber-power mob-ups, where triple-A heavy hitters allegedly gather to stroke egos, trade agendas and bitch about where their next billion is coming from. This year's event is scheduled, reportedly, for the Penha Longa Hotel at the Caesar Park golf course in Sintra, Portugal, 45 minutes from Lisbon. Last year's pow-wow is said to have been graced by a real charmed circle including George Robertson, Mr and Mrs Conrad Black, Giovanni Agnelli, Peter Carrington, Little Willie Hague, Hank Kissinger, a Rockefeller and more UN officials and international bank CEOs than you can fit in a Lear Jet. The hotel denies the event is taking place at all - "for security reasons", according to our spook on the Grassy Knoll with a Knights Templar book in a green-and-gold booty bag. Pandora's take? "There is no big conspiracy. But there are lots of little ones."
OUTER SPACE, as a lingerie model recently remarked, is "cute". Also big. Which is why we, as a species, have launched Seti - the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. You can now download free Seti software which searches, screen-saver-style, for alien radio signals while your computer does its thang. And if you do, you'll be joining 461,097 (last time we looked) others. The searchers include 166 UK Government organisations. Among them: the Met Office, the DSS, the Department of Employment, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Defence Research Agency... If their boys and girls found anything, would they tell us? There are also 16 NHS trusts checking to see whether ET is on the line - enough to drive those waiting for a hospital bed to a recuperative little lie down in a darkened room.
CHARLES KENNEDY (the Happy dwarf among the seven contenders to wake the Sleeping Beauty that is the Lib Dem party from its lengthy snooze) went into a Commons lav the other day, eyes streaming, his nose raw red. He peered into a mirror, and joked that his appearance could almost lead to his having to pass a dope test. Tony McNulty (Red, Harrow East), washing his hands at an adjacent basin, quipped back: "That's a very cruel way to describe the Liberal Democratic leadership contest."
A A GILL'S new novel, Starcrossed, has a back-cover blurb that reads: "...John Dart, poet and bookshop assistant, wakes up one morning and finds himself, if not quite famous, then the next best thing: in bed with someone famous. Lee Montana, singer, film star..." Did someone say Notting Hill?
JOHN LENNON (well, his voice, anyway) is reportedly to be used by the remaining Beatles to cut a "new" tune. The lyric in its entirety? "We're not here, please leave a message after the beep." Oh, and English Heritage is still deciding where to place Lennon's blue plaque. Current favourite is his childhood home, the Liverpool house belonging to his Auntie Mimi. She confined his singing to the porch there, frequently reminding him that "the guitar's all right John - but you'll never make a living with it".
Contact Pandora by e-mail: pandora@ independent.co.uk
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