TONY PARSONS, whose debut novel Man and Boy is just out, recently visited his wife's native nation - Japan. "We went to a temple filled with monkeys," he tells the new Living etc. "There were signs saying `Do not look at the monkeys'. I thought, these monkeys have got serious attitude problems. I don't know if I could share a country with monkeys like these." Tony, a monkey is a monkey is a monkey.
KEITH KERR, the feisty Lib Dem who aims to be the gold party's London mayoral candidate, has pledged to pedestrianise Buckingham Palace's precincts - perhaps because he was nearly run over there en route to his first press conference. By the way, the three current front-runners (Archer, Phillips and Livingstone) are now known - in no particular order - as the Three Monkeys. One is "See No Evil", another is "Hear No Evil". And the third? "Evil".
NIMBYS HAVE been superseded by BANANAS: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.
RICKY MARTIN, the teenybop Latino heart-throb (pictured with Catherine Zeta Jones), says that his upcoming tour will showcase work from his entire career. This is like someone saying they're reading Shakespeare when they've reached the letter `k'.
IKE TURNER is a 68-year-old wife-smacking coke-snorting gun-toting jailbird. And he wants to set the record straight. It's all true, he says, in his forthcoming autobiography Takin' Back My Name. But he never married Tina Turner - not legally, anyway. Ike, who claims he lost his virginity aged six to a woman known as Boozey Owens, once shot a paper-boy for hitting his dog with a rolled-up newspaper. He's currently (legally) hitched to a 36-year-old San Diego blonde. She works in a battered wives' shelter.
FOODIE FUN: "What you're really paying for in restaurants," contends Will Self, the writer, "is some effete person to arrange a diced carrot on your plate and come and lick your arse at the table."
FAMILY AFFAIRS, the C5 soap, is getting gums bumping. A memo circulating on the show's set reminded cast that it's "unacceptable to film a scene one day and come back to finish it the next with a new hairstyle". En passant, it also mentioned that the taking and trading of drugs on set would not be tolerated. Let's hope this September's "natural wastage" of cast and crew won't include the individual "who supplies so much of the `grease' that oils the wheels" of the show.
IF ALIENS really are clever enough to travel through space, why do they persist in abducting the stupidest people on the planet?
OH, AND WINNER of Pandura's taut and firm saucer of milk this week is Horacio Silva, the fashionista, for this claw-job on Calvin Klein. The context is that Klein is taking a hard look at JP Pitoc, a Muscle Mary go-go boy, as the new bod to display CK briefs. Before Pitoc appeared in Trick, a gay flick, he starred in Timothy Leary in Space, as a character who dreams of having his underpants displayed at Planet Hollywood. "Sweet that he would take time out of his busy schedule to help a young boy's dream come true," Silva says, "If there's an opening in boys' underwear, Calvin is sure to find it." Miaow!
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