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The Independent Culture
DOUGLAS ADAMS, the creator of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is outtahere. Hollywood is finally flashing green lights for the Galaxy movie, only 20 years after the first Hitch Hiker show aired on Radio 4. So Adams will spend "at least the next year" living in Santa Barbara. At the weekend, he hosted a farewell bash at his north London home. The invitation said "Dress: Hollywood". Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis (along with most of the other 120 guests), didn't. But who's this, attired from nose to toes in pristine white sporting a trilby, and a fly-wide, slash-sharp black tie? That's no Warners gangster, it's... Melvyn Bragg! Look, he's even tooled up with a prop gun stuck into his waistband. Bragg moved to shoot the breeze with Salman Rushdie. Enter Cate Haste (Lady Bragg to us mortals). She decided this scene was not picture-perfect, popped over and confiscated her husband's phoney firearm. It spent the rest of the evening in her handbag.

WHODATHUNKIT? It's impossible to snore in outer space.

STARBUCKS, THE go-go corporate caffeine pusher, is currently running an ad campaign featuring a mock apology to an alleged employee called Billy, who's credited with inventing the Frappaccino, a chilly coffee beverage that'll have you bouncing off the walls. But Starbucks may soon be making some real-life apologies because the chain is test marketing a tea + juice drink called Tiazzi. Staff who urge customers to try Tiazzi should be advised that, in several Arabic dialects, tiazzi is a vulgar version of "my bottom".

ARETHA FRANKLIN is number one on VH1's forthcoming five-night, five- hour programme showcasing the 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll. Tina Turner (pictured), Janis Joplin, Carole King, Stevie Nicks, Madonna, Debbie Harry, Annie Lennox and Billie Holiday are also in the top 10. Hold-up: Billie Holiday? Must've missed her rock'n'roll hits... no matter. That quintessential rock chick Barbra Streisand comes in at 32, above Cher and Joan Jett, who's now sporting a crewcut and a new best friend, a lesbian comedian. Other curious choices in the hottish 100 include Lena Horne, Tammy Wynette (a lil' bit country, not very rock'n'roll?) and Peggy Lee. Big omission: The Shangri-Las, the greatest girl rockers ever.

AUNTIE LONELYHEARTS? Alan "Botney" Yentob said that the BBC was "braining up". Really? Check the corporation's advertising for a new programme called Love Is All Around, which goes to pilot next month. It reads: "Single and looking for love? Fancy someone from afar? Want to propose and need our help? Or maybe you know Britain's least romantic man? If your answer is yes then try your chance at winning some fantastic prizes on a new entertainment show." It might as well have read: "Lonely and looking for viewers"?

READERS' INDIGESTION this week mulches Dog's Life, from Australia. Its new edition has a free gift that's a sure-fire winner in the pooch- pack stakes: a bundle of chewy meat strips attached to the front of every issue. Inside, a pictorial spread shows a blonde model in a flimsy bikini. Accompanying text reveals it was made from the fur of the Samoyed bitch sitting next to her. We learn that having clothes made from your mutt's fur is the latest fad among canine fanciers, who claim they're "soft, sexy and sensual". Dog hair underwear? Woof!

SURROGATE MUMMY: Pandora, acting in loco parentis, borrowed three brats to attend Disney's media screening of Tarzan this week at Leicester Square's Empire cinema. Despite the on-screen Tarzan vs cheetah rumble in the jungle, a cinematic elephant stampede and Phil Collins's bilious sound-track, the scariest elements were saved until after the closing titles. Increasingly desperate-sounding Empire employees implored, pleaded with and finally plain ol' begged grasping media mammas and papas to take only one stuffed cartoon character per child... please? Their appeals fell on plugged ears as hustlers in shorts and loafers ferociously fell on bin-liners of soft toys like starved crocodiles tearing the flesh out of wildebeest at a watering-hole. Did someone say "Parental Guidance"?

Contact Pandora by e-mail: pandora@ independent.