CHRIS SMITH'S dog will make his stage debut on 17 July. Tian, the Culture Secretary's Tibetan Terrier, is one of eight hounds in Noel Coward's Sail Away, playing at Islington's Tower Theatre. "He's got real star quality," says David Taylor, the show's director. Did someone say "Barking"? Woof!

NICOLE KIDMAN and husband Tom Cruise are the latest to be enchanted by the allure of the dorsal fin: the couple are to be lowered in a cage off the Australian coast, where Cruise has been filming, so they can eyeball some sharks. "I'm fascinated by sharks," Kidman says. Perhaps because of her exposure to them in Los Angeles?

RICKY MARTIN, the American La Vida Loca poster boy (pictured), on kissing: "A good kiss is like sleeping on a bed with nice pillows all around you. A bad kiss is like sleeping on rocks. There's nothing more terrible than a bad kiss." Oh yes there is Ric: for openers, how about a smack in the gob?

NAOMI CAMPBELL and Dan Quayle - what could they possibly have in common? Both use MAC cosmetics. "Mr Quayle personally carries a makeup bag with a laminated sheet of instructions so, should he do an interview, he can look his personal best," says a mouthpiece for Mr Potatohead.

JACK CUNNINGHAM, Margaret Beckett and Margaret McDonagh are the names in the frame to take the blame for the dismal debacle of the Reds' Euro poll result. A gag currently playing in WonkWorld has the troika simultaneously bailing from a plane at 30,000 feet without a single parachute between them. Who survives? Answer: The Labour Party...

STYLE COPS seem to have confiscated a psychedelic bench that previously adorned Downing Street's garden. It was a springtime gift No 1 Guy acquired from a group of Boston high school students during a swing through Massachusetts. During a press conference to discuss that catastrophic Euro poll result, the bench had vanished. Another lost Labour seat?

SULKY SCOTS say the English just don't understand them. But it might help if the Scots knew their geographical Arsenal from their Elburton (Devon). Take this week's example from The Scotsman: "Dominic Grieve, the MP for Beaconsfield, one of London's most affluent suburbs..." Beaconsfield - a London suburb? The metrop might sprawl but surely it's nae comin' tha' far.

"EVERYBODY'S FREE (To Get Drunk)" is the parody make-over of this summer's hit choon Sunscreen, which also started life as an i/net gag. One highlight: "Enjoy the power and beauty of your alcohol tolerance." Another: "Don't worry about where the next beer's coming from. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to pull a page three model after 15 pints."

THE NEW Collins German Dictionary has another echt entry. For your little serving of peaches and cream, what could be more romantic than this ubercrap pick-up line: Zieh dich aus! (or "Get your kit off" as they say in Essex).

OH, AND the German government is distributing 5,000 press packs to G- 8 attendees in Cologne this weekend. Each contains a condom. No wonder the euro's on its knees...

SEXING UP? Or dumbing down? Pro-euro or no euro? Boxers or briefs? Julia Gash, the pandorable Sheffield-based fashionista who minted this week's Phrase that Pays ("Dip me in honey and throw me to the lesbians") has a new line: Euro pants. Her men's briefs are emblazoned with slogans including "Size matters - 370m people, pounds 95bn British trade" and "Think Long and Hard; European laws bought cleaner beaches, purer water and fresher air". For der laydeez, she offers lingerie emblazoned with "I'm all for early entry", "It's better inside - the euro zone", "I don't want peripheral positioning" and "Don't lie back and think of England".

Contact Pandora by e-mail: pandora@ independent.

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