Pandora

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TROUBLE IN Disneyland? That's how it looked on Wednesday when the front page of Scotland's Daily Record newspaper (shown) led with a picture of Minnie Mouse and a headline screaming "I Blame Donald". Had Donald Duck's constant quacking finally driven a wedge between Mickey Mouse and his sister Minnie? Pandora cheered up after realising that photo and headline were unconnected; the story was in fact about the rift between "consensus" politicians Donald Dewar and Jim Wallace in the new Scottish Parliament.

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A NOBLE THIRST was struck up last week in the House of Lords when their supply of drinking water was cut off. To avert this disastrous drought the infamous residence of the Lord Chancellor, Derry Irvine, was put to good use as the distribution point for bottled mineral water. A case of Eau Derrier, non?

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WHEN IT comes to beverages the British actress Sarah Miles is famed for drinking her own urine. But don't knock it till you've tried it; Miles (pictured) claims the habit is paying dividends. Talking to the American Spectator, the actress, known for her film roles in Ryan's Daughter and The Servant, says urine has cured her hay fever and sinus conditions: "I drink it neat. I'm allergic to alcohol and have never taken drugs, so it's pretty pure stuff." Miles has a one-woman show starting in the West End next month. The after-show parties could be pretty tasty.

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IT WAS all the lads together when Tony Banks, the TUC boss John Monks and the biographer/ journalist Michael Crick gathered to promote a new football book this week. Crick is a huge Manchester United fan and, with Jonathan Michie, author of A Game of Two Halves? - the Business of Football, fought against the BSkyB bid for the club. However, Crick had lighter subjects on his mind at the launch party. Recalling United's treble-winning success after beating Bayern Munich in the European Cup, Crick said: "We all know the joke about how Germans make the best lovers because they stay on top for 90 minutes and still come second. Did you know, in Germany they joke that Englishmen make the laziest lovers, because they do nothing for 90 minutes, make a couple of moves, and then say they're the greatest?"

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DAVID BECKHAM - another urban myth. Airing now is the rumour of how the Man Utd star was asked by his accountants to write a cheque for pounds 3,500 to Customs and Excise. When the cheque was given to his accountants it was made out to "costumes and exercise". Beckham, so the story goes, thought it was something to do with Victoria's gym fees.

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POSSIBLY THE plummiest of plum jobs coming out of Brussels is the European Commission's ambassador to the US. A front-runner to succeed Hugo Paemen is streetwise Scot James Currie. Currie is the Commission's Director General for the Environment, the most senior official in that field. Insiders say Currie's wife is very interested in the new situation in which her husband may find himself. And who can blame her? If Currie becomes EC ambassador his new environment will consist of chauffeur-driven vehicles and a palatial pad on Washington's Massachusetts Avenue.

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A NOVELIST, a skier and a feng shui expert. No, it's not a joke, it's a story about the serious business of book marketing. The novelist Julia Stephenson had herself pictured skiing downhill on the cover of her new book Chalet Tiara (described as the "logical continuation of Bridget Jones"), until she was told by a feng shui expert that this was a recipe for disaster. Downhill skiing meant poor sales; it had to be upbeat, and so uphill. A trip to a photographer for the new photo resulted in Stephenson falling into a wind machine and dislocating her shoulder: "It will be years before I can ski again," she mused afterwards.

It's all downhill from here.

Contact Pandora by e-mail: pandora@ independent.

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