Thursday 29 July 1999
ROBOTS 1 BARBIE 0. Toy auctions provide usually reliable pointers to pop culture's current market values. Christie's Ephemera reports that a 1958 Japanese Masudaya Machine Man (opened at pounds 18,000) sold this month for a new world record price for a robot: pounds 29,900. But doll collectors may be disappointed that, despite a celebrity endorsement from Elton John and a heavy push by De Beers, a specially created Diamond Barbie proved to be too rich for buyers and was pulled at pounds 20,000. FYI: Barbie No 1, the 1959 boxed original, made pounds 2,760.
WHODATHUNKIT? Japanese stores now sell a bra that detects incoming missiles.
VENN DIAGRAMS - you know how to draw the two interlocking circles that create a third defining zone within their overlap, don't you? Try these: Tony Blair + Anthea Turner = Dale Winton; computer programmers + suburban childhoods = Goths; Guardian buyers + vegans = sandal-suckers; middle management + Times buyers = Next shoppers; synthetic people + the Knightsbridge Massive = Puff Daddy; shoe fetishists + broke guys who no longer love their girlfriends = sneaker pimps.
NICOLE KIDMAN and Tom Cruise (pictured) are shown having sex, in Eyes Wide Shut, on a 70-ft-wide screen. And they get paid for it. So won't they - and their handlers - look silly if they continue to complain about "media intrusions on their privacy"?
OLD FRIENDS, old wine and old books are said to be the mainstay of a stable life. According to Norris McWhirter's Book of Millennium Records, archaeologists excavating a site in Iran have found a stoppered pottery jar that dates from c4000BC. It contained wine. Enquiring minds wonder whether it was a good year.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY, the writer, is dead. But, as eagle-eyed Independent readers know, his name will live on. Not just through his written works. But because Ernest Hemingway, the writer, is about to become Ernest Hemingway, the furniture, the textiles, the gifts and the accessories. (The Hemingway estate has just done a deal with a business called Fashion Licensing Inc.) Options for further cross-propagation intrigue. Jacques Derrida could front Hard Scrabble, where the winner is the dyslexic text-subversive with the fewest points. Kafka would be the killer brand in insect repellents. William Burroughs and de Quincey surely have big futures in pharmaceutical endorsements. Wouldn't Jeannette Winterson, suitably dusted down and cleaned up, make a crisp poster girl for English apples? And how should we exploit those darlings of the public domain: the Bard, Jane Austen and Conan Doyle...?
KENNETH BRANAGH knows how to play to the gallery. Trading the smell of the greasepaint for the roar of the crowd in next month's FourFourTwo, the footie-lovin' thesp uses the f-word six times in three sentences. Perhaps Ken should check the following item, the opening lines of Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale, before he hits the boards next season...
... "OH, THE sentence! The shuddering, sinuous, piquant, incandescent, delicate, delirious, sulking, strident possibilities of it all. A sentence can loll a l'odalisque, zap, implore, insist, soar or simply lay out the facts. This handful of words, each with its own humble or brazen function, lies at the heart of every literary genre, every letter, memo, article, thesis, seduction, threat and retort."
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TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre