Pandora

STITCHED UP? Monica Lewinsky knitted Ian McKellen a scarf for his 60th birthday. "I'm sure someone like Ian has everything, but not something with a little tag saying `Made Especially by me, Monica'." Coming soon: Monica crochets some very special knee pads...

HITS MEAN CHITS: so here in Happyland, Pandora's proud to present another winning innovation - Panda Points. You know those supermarket loyalty cards? And frequent flyer miles? And credit cards that encourage you to spend pounds 3,000 on a meal so you can subsequently enjoy a free, very disposable camera? Panda Points are like that, only way stupider. Our girl dishes them out, you collect and redeem them for silly prizes, awarded to readers, contributors and correspondents on the basis of random criteria that change without notice. Watch this space.

CLAUDIA SCHIFFER (pictured) has been driving round New York. She doesn't have a driving licence. And what do those oh-so-tough NYPD cops say? "Nolle prosequi." (Well, they would if they spoke Latin.) Is this what Nancy Etcoff means by the Survival of the Prettiest?

MORE ON that wedding dress, borrowed by Diana, Princess of Wales, that Elizabeth Emanuel's liquidators are under pressure to sell. The lead creditor's magic number is pounds 360,000. The dress's value is so north of that - especially if Mohamed Al Fayed were to start bidding. Coming soon to a corner shop window near you?

THE US MINT has named Kermit the Frog as its "official spokesfrog."

ROBIN COOK is organising a sit down at Whitehall's 1 Carlton Gardens on July 20 for a klatch of trade union panjandrums - and they can expect something swankier than beer and sandwiches. How frightfully clever of Cook to solicit the opinions of Unison's Rodney Bickerstaffe, the TGWU's Bill Morris and the AEEU's Ken Jackson on foreign policy. Or might his hospitality be connected with the Cookie Monster's semi- closeted desire to lead the Red party?

OH, AND talking of junkets, a grand garden party is scheduled for next month to celebrate the opening of the first Scottish parliament for nearly 300 years. And what is the name of the headlining band..? Garbage.

NEW, IMPROVED reality... as lived on TV. Episode One: "You'll survive any war unless you show anybody else a picture of your loved ones." Two: "The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window of any building anywhere in Paris." Three: "A man will show no pain while taking a ferocious beating, but will wince whenever a woman tries to clean his wounds." Four: "All police investigations necessitate at least one visit to a strip club." Five: "When alone, foreigners prefer to speak to each other in English." Six: "Any woman investigating suspicious noises in a haunted house will do so in racy lingerie." Seven: "It's always possible to park directly outside the building you're visiting."

NEW IMPROVED reality...as lived in newspapers. The National Society of Newspaper Columnists Conference, held in Kentucky this month, had a special panel discussion entitled: "For Spouses Only: A Session on Living with Columnists." Why? The society's research suggests that "writing a column on a regular basis can lead to divorce, alcoholism, even suicide." Oh, guys - only when you do it properly...

THE KINDEST way to describe the human tragedies comprising the Commons administration committee? Megalomaniac paranoids. The tiny-minded Stalinists have just forbidden lobby hacks access to the Commons terrace because, it seems, MPs are frightened of being mentioned in "diary" columns. You should be so lucky...

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

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