CHAIN REACTION: minor offenders in Yemen aren't imprisoned. They're locked in leg-irons and cut loose on the streets to do whatever it is they do...
HOW GRACIOUS of Maxton Walker, an entertainment editor at The Guardian, to run an in-depth interview last week with the musical director of one of the recondite plays debuting at the Edinburgh festival. Nevertheless, the interview omitted to mention the name of the show's writer and producer: Maxton Walker.
PANDORAPHILES WHO read Deborah Orr this week on "Our Planet of the Apes" will recall the Chimp Channel, the cable show that features well-trained Troglodytes niger (pictured) acting out popular film and TV scenes. But monkey business is afoot on the Serengeti. Tom Stern, Chimps' co-creator, is suing Ted Turner, the media mogul and yachtsman. "Turner Broadcasting Systems were making us take the guts out of the satire," Stern says. "They let the legal department write the jokes." So as Stern, the one-time opening act for Marilyn Manson, admits in court papers, this spring he "disrobed and broke a bottle of wine and a bottle of beer" on a closed Chimps set. What the hell is that about? Stern says it was performance art - but that the philistine barbarians at TBS subsequently locked his office, stopped his pay cheque and colluded in the vaporisation of crucial videotape. Did someone say "Monkey pull lever, monkey get banana"?
OLD AD MEN never die; they merely leave the country to personally supervise an indefinitely extended shoot because "the light's so much better" elsewhere. Or do they get syndicated? Mindshare, the media buying company, bought the FT's page nine the other day to display a full-length picture of the late, debonair David Ogilvy.
MOVING ALONG the morgue, we pick up Goodbye! The Journal of Contemporary Obituaries, the work of a Yank who admires Brits' pioneering approach in media. Goodbye! specialises in deflating the American press's sycophantic approach to the silent majority. Recent disclosure includes the fact that Guinea's leaders once threw Stokey Carmichael in the slammer; that Bob Kane stole the idea for the Batman character - and that Roy Rogers was a scab. Other features include "Death By Mayhem", "Transportation Deaths 100 years ago" and "Our Animal Friends - Not Just Playing Dead".
PAULA ABDUL, The Cowboy Junkies and (yeeeeees!) Morrissey are three of the 187 acts currently out of contract now that the dust is settling following Universal's buyout of Polygram. "Artistes get dropped," explains Chris Blackwell, the Island Records pioneer, who has some experience of these shake-outs. "But if they're any good, they'll get re-employed."
OH, AND Apple, the Beatles-related corp, plans to re-launch its Yellow Submarine on 30 August.
This time, she'll make splashy waves as a digitally enhanced film. Bobbing along in its rainbow wake, Submarine's merchandising flotilla includes a quartet of 10-inch-high plastic action figures of the re-fabbed four. September's Arena features John Lennon big-style. Isn't it a defining moment during cultural iconisation when you're first asked: "So, I'm told you've been modelled for an action toy. Any anecdotes, Yoko?"
Contact Pandora by e-mail: pandora @independent. co.uk