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The Independent Culture
STRANGE BREW? There's no alternative should you visit those hospitable honeymooners Rupert Murdoch and Wendy Deng. The couple, Pandoraphiles will recall, are enjoying their nuptials by inviting a series of Murdoch minions to their high-security Tuscan lurve nest to discuss the i/net and its role in corporate strategy. But invitees are less than thrilled by the contents of the refreshments trolley. "Everyone has to drink this stuff that Wendy makes for Rupert," our playmate in the Wendy House reveals. What's that, then? "Cups of green tea with soya milk and raspberry juice. It tastes repulsive."

SOME GIRLS have rewritten the Lord's Prayer. Their version? "Our Marks/ Which art with Spencer/ Hallowed be thy food hall./ Thy Gucci watch/ Thy Kookai bag/ In Hermes/As it is in Harrods./ Give us each day our Visa gold/ And forgive us our overdraft/ As we forgive those who stop our Next card./ And lead us not into Dorothy Perkins/ And deliver us from Top Shop/ For thine is the Prada, the Cartier and the Versace/ For Gaultier and Eternity./ Amex."

FEUDS CORNER: Mohamed Al Fayed is one name in the frame as a possible buyer of Express Newspapers. Talking this week to Press Gazette, the journalists' trade paper, it looks as if the controversial Harrods boss is spoiling for a scrap with Wapping. "It was a mistake to let Murdoch have 50 per cent of the press," Fayed says. "Murdoch cares only for himself. All his editors are zombies."

ITALIA, W1. The length and breadth of this land, night-club owners will go green as planning authorities see red over Antonio Polledri's ingenious - and ambitious - new moves to extend his Bar Italia franchise. Polledri's power-base is the eponymous cafe in Soho's Frith Street that first came to fame 15 years ago as the hangout for the paniniri (the cult that gave birth to the Pet Shop Boys). Now the crowd is Eurotrash, urban bikers and chic freaks. Earlier this month Polledri won a licence for the adjoining Italy Two venue, allowing him to serve soft drinks there until 5am. But planning wonks believe that Westminster Council officials remain ignorant of a parallel Polledri licensing application, down on the Horseferry magistrates' docket later this month, which would allow the Bar Italia boss to serve liquor at Italia Two until 3am. The kicker? Polledri is reportedly negotiating to open a 200-capacity club in a third property he owns, next door to Italia Two. The new club will be called Little Italy. When the paperwork's gone through, Polledri has said, he will demolish the dividing walls.

SILICONE HEADS: If you spend all day playing with a mouse, does that make you a cat?

CYBILL SHEPHERD (pictured) believes writing well is the best revenge. She's spent the past year polishing up her memoirs. Cybill Disobedience has insiders salivating at the prospect of juicy revelations about Bruce Willis, with whom she enjoyed conspicuous on-screen chemistry in Moonlighting - and Elvis Presley, with whom the 49-year-old Shepherd enjoyed a month of hospitality as a teenster.

ELIZABETH RUDD is the former couture model described by Country Life as "the Queen's body double" because she was the original mannequin for HM's coronation dress. But asked where she'd now buy new clothes, Rudd replies: "A charity shop".

OH, AND Tony Toni Tone, if you're serious about cleaning up UK plc, why not wash those dingy net curtains that adorn the windows of government offices around Whitehall? Better yet, remove them altogether. Net curtains are one of suburban Britain's least endearing features. They're, surely, utterly inappropriate window-dressing for the cut-and-thrustin' Britain your regime suggests we all inhabit on the cusp of the 21st century. Those dingy drapes provide such an easy target to launch metaphors for transparency - and the lack of it - within your administration. Why not replace them with Tuscan-stylee shutters? Or blinds - because "if it weren't for blinds, it'd be curtains for all of us".

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