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TOM CRUISE and Nicole Kidman insist that their cook, gardener and secretaries sign a contract promising to keep their mouths wide shut. On pain of swift and certain impoverishment. Any who blab about the couple's private life promise to pay $1m per disclosure per title (times five if it airs on TV).

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JUST IN: Mick Jagger holidayed in Iceland, birdwatching. Claudia Schiffer has done a vanishing act on her long-time boyfriend David Copperfield, the magician; she was last seen Mallorcawards snogging Tim Jeffries, the Green Shield stamps heir. Another supermodel now free as a bird is Christy Turlington. She dumped Jason Patric, the thesp - then rejected a date with the Duke of York.

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MAX HASTINGS has told friends he hopes to quit the Evening Standard editor's chair at Christmas 2000.

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ANDREW MOTION is composing a 10-stanza ode "inspired by" the TUC. He plans to unveil it at the annual congress in Brighton on 15 September.

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GOLLY GOSH! A Tupperware party starts somewhere on the planet every 2.2 seconds!

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"ENGLISH ECCENTRIC" best describes Chris Cattle. The white-bearded lecturer at Buckinghamshire University College has spent 20 years perfecting grow-your-own furniture. He produces stools and tables by planting seedlings in small groups. He then uses plywood to support the trees as he "trains" them to grow into curving S-shapes that are grafted into a rigid frame. "The nature of growth allows an element of freedom for design," contends Cattle. Production takes time but kiddo, the plant's lovely.

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TWO WAYS to play on the future of our economy. One group thinks traditional contraction/expansion cycles must eventually reassert themselves. The Fast Company crowd say IT has created a new economic model in which the old boom-bust cycles no longer apply. Who's right? A group of economists recently devised this index; the first things are dicey (good times signals in brackets). Product-name repetition on TV spots (humorous commercials); weak coffees (New Starbucks opening near you); builders return your calls (contractors are too busy to get back to you); dentist says your children's braces need to stay on for another year (dentist tells you your child needs to see the hygienist more frequently); people taking your order at a fast-food joint are as old as you; people start saying "I wish I'd sold..." (People say "I wish I'd bought...")

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BUPA UNDERSTANDS magic numbers. The line for its dental cover? 0800 Tooth Hurty Tooth Hurty (230 230).

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SURVEY SAYS that compared with a control group of convicts, MBAs are less trustworthy (American Prospect, citing University of Ohio studies.)

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BREAKING WAVES from LA have Brooke Shields (pictured) coming clean about her unibrow. "I once possessed my own forest forehead - not the best look for the ladies," she admits. NSync (last heard considering a makeover of The Mikado); Iggy Pop, who recently refused Jane a spread "because he wants to be taken seriously"; and Kylie, who launches an artsy book later this year. All could learn from babbling Brooke. True stars know the value of sharing their imperfections with the rest of us. So it's snaps up to Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, the Windsor prankster. Her eight words form today's closer - and win Pandora's inaugural nomination for Fab Chick of '99: "Free your mind and your bottom will follow."

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

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