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TRUE STORY, liquor-lovers: a talent search for people with "funky pubic hair" is being sponsored by the Irish whiskey brand Black Bush.

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LANCE ARMSTRONG, currently modelling the race leader's yellow jersey on the Tour de France, is sponsored by the US Post. This should trigger an enjoyably knowing smile of incredulity in anyone who's lived stateside. (Americans believe their post office service is rather s-l-o-w.) Armstrong, meanwhile, has been quick to vigorously defend himself against the inevitable accusations that he's "enhanced his performance" with drugs. Particularly the infamous blood-booster known as EPO. Curiously, another North American mail business, Canada Post Corporation, is currently registering EPO as its trade mark. So, what do you call a competitor in the Tour de France? A drug pedlar...

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RSI'S SOOOOOOO over. MRI rules. It's this summer's must-have war wound among the glosse posse. MRI? "Mule Related Inuries".

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IN LIVERPOOL, 10 per cent of the members of the Orange Order are black, the new Prospect reports.

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NIGEL DEMPSTER is bald, say the flyposters. Even if this were true, that may prove the least of his problems...

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SMITH SQUARE used the PA wire to try to kill stories about Michael Ashcroft's utter lack of interest in Belizian "laundromats" just minutes after midnight on Tuesday. The self-congratulatory report was based on wishful drivel Tory flacks had spoonfed Mail hacks. They expected their spun sugar to run that day. But, in a rare attack of common sense, the Daily Mail did not live up to its reputation as the blue party's patsy paper. Because an editor there spiked the "story". Associated Newspaper suits saw the omission, went postal, and the traj Ashcroft apologia ran on Wednesday - 24 hours too late. Red faces + blue party = purple prose.

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DANIELA NARDINI (pictured) was seen in The Ivy the other day, looking pretty fit. Nardini stars in Tube Tales, which airs later this year. It's set on the London Underground and "the end has an unexpected twist". Yeah. This is fiction, so - the train stops; the driver apologises, succinctly explains to passengers why - and tells them precisely how long it'll be before everyone's moving again...

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A NEW Mori poll highlights the most difficult aspects of life in large cities on these shores. London: the Tube; Birmingham: M6's Spaghetti Junction; Manchester: the trams; Newcastle: queueing to get into pubs on Saturday night; Glasgow: the weather. Into every life a little rain must fall (sigh)...

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MAKEM LAUGH, makem sing, makem dance. Here's 10 top subtitles to understand the understated, underrated and beautifully beguiling slanguage of the English North-east. "Aal reet?": How are you? "Bobbydazzler": smart/ attractive stuff. "Canny": adj indicating approval. "Champion!": great, brilliant. "Divvent": don't. "Ho'way": expression of disbelief or encouragement. "Makem" (ryhmes with "pack 'em"): Sunderland local. "Man": anything with two-ish legs. "Mortal" and "pallatic": drunk. "Why aye": of course. (Source: Lonely Planet British Phrasebook)

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FACT 1 RUMOUR 1 is today's score draw. Can you separate them? One: Pharmacy, the Damien Hirst/ Matthew Freud boite in Notting Hill, has acquired an adjacent property and will open it this autumn as Out Patients. T'other: The Groucho Club is about to roll out a Caledonian

G-Spot in Glasgow.

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THE PHRASE That Pays this week was spotted by Yeslista, the guest-list compiler, who says she saw it on a Martini advertising hoarding in a bar somewhere: "One is all right, two is too much and three is not enough."

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OH, AND here's

No 1 in a new mini-series. Andrew Cunningham, a Saga-gacious rhymester, writes poems about cars. His lines on the new VW Beetle: "The Beetle's back and still carefree;/ stick Lennon on, not the Prodigy;/ put Peace and Love before affront -/ turn road-rage

V-signs back

to front."

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

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