Pandora

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THE GURNOS Estate, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, has something of a reputation, along the lines of: "Q. What do you call a Gurnos man wearing a suit? A. The accused." On a recent visit to south Wales, Prince Philip was introduced to one of its inhabitants: "And tell me, where do you come from?" asked Phil. "I'm from the Gurnos Estate, Merthyr Tydfil," came the reply. "Oh really, how's the shooting there?"

TODAY IS the unofficial Day of City Action. Corporate slickers have called for a riposte to last week's Carnival Against Capitalism and Pandora has seen one scurrilous memo calling whizz kids to arms. "Don your finest pinstripes and designer sunglasses, glue your mobile phones to your ears and head down to Brighton to disrupt as many dreadlocked crusties as possible," urges the missive. Disruptive activities planned include picketing henna tattoo stalls, throwing cheap pewter jewellery into the sea, and handing out photocopies of salary slips.

THE CABINET Office has been ticked off. The Permanent Secretary, Sir Robin Mountfield, is a stickler for punctuation and is unhappy at other civil servants' poor usage of it, particularly of the apostrophe. In a memo to colleagues, Sir Robin warns that ignorance of the apostrophe could lead to serious misunderstandings. To illustrate his point he quotes a Second World War newspaper headline which reads: "Germans' Push Bottles Up French Rear." As Sir Robin points out: "It could have had a rather different meaning without the vital apostrophe."

DARTS HAS found a new champion. Step forward Bob Russell, MP for Colchester. Bob has put down a parliamentary motion calling for darts to be recognised as a sport. Currently, the sport of king-sized beer bellies enjoys cult status, and has the added advantage of being almost the only one still left on BBC. However, "arrers" has a limited appeal among the sporting hierarchy, as illustrated, for example, by its complete failure to appear on either the Oxford or Cambridge Blues sports accreditation. Bob is undeterred and tells Pandora: "Darts is the most popular pastime in Britain apart from walking and horizontal jogging."

SOME WIMBLEDON fans will be hoping the muggy weather continues if it means sight of the celebrated body of tennis star Patrick Rafter ("Patrick Rafter, we'll see you after," so they say). After comments made to GQ magazine in the US, the potential body language between Rafter and rival Pete Sampras might also be quite saucy if the two were to meet on court. "Lately, I've given up saying nice things about Pete," explains Rafter. "A few of his comments have come across as arrogant to me. We won't be having a beer together."

JOHN GALLIANO (pictured) managed to miss his own party at the British embassy in Paris this week. No word from the temperamental designer as to why he didn't show up to collect his gong from the Walpole Committee, which recognises those who "enhance perception of British excellence". Bernard Danillon de Cazella, Christian Dior's communications director, saved Galliano's blushes by standing in. Jean-Louis Dumas, the president of Hermes, was among 1,100 guests feting the other winners. They included Paul Smith, the designer and retail guru, and the Chanel-owned gunsmiths Holland & Holland. Fun fact: the name of the representative from the Jaguar Drivers' Club, Jean-Francois Renault.

THIS WEEK saw the final involvement of hereditary peers in the annual tug of war between Lords and Commons. For over 10 years male MPs have been whopped by their peers and this week's bout was no exception. Pandora congratulates the hereditaries on their final tug.

OVERHEARD IRONY from our American tourist friends in London: "Yeah, they like circuses over here: Cambridge Circus and Piccadilly Circus and the Circus Line." You said it, buster.

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

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