Pandora

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Frank Dobson's campaign to be Labour's London mayor elect has inadvertently received support from the PR guru Matthew Freud, whose clients include Geri Halliwell and Chris Evans. Dobson's supporters phoned a few high-profile Labour members last Sunday, calls that were traced back to the central London premises of Freud's firm. When asked about the arrangement a spokesman said there was "categorically" no endorsement of Dobson by Freud, partner of Elisabeth Murdoch, but that the firm had "a long-standing arrangement with the local Labour Party". Hmmm. Despite the pro-Dobbo nature of the calls, the spokesman insisted that "the Party has access to the building and the facilities from time to time, and we have no problem with that".

FOLLOWING THE furore over parties at the British Museum, Pandora is reminded that alcohol-fuelled exploits in our great national collections are not unknown. At the V&A, parts of the collection received unwelcome attention during Sunday Times Christmas parties during Andrew Neil's time at the helm. On one celebrated occasion, at which the great and the good and Michael Winner were gathered, a senior production executive on the paper decided to fill an antique urn with a liquid it was not intended to carry. Security staff escorted him from the building, still zipping up his flies.

An advertisement placed in The Stage newspaper has caused some tittering in the wings. It runs: "Small submariner required to provide sub-aqua cover in Japanese water garden for the production of Madam Butterfly at the Royal Albert Hall." Theatre-goers will know that the first act of Puccini's opera centres on the water garden, but usually the water is only a foot deep, so why the need for a professional diver? "Now that the arena of the Albert Hall has been rebuilt, the Water Garden will be much deeper," explains the promoter, Raymond Gubbay, "and we need to comply with safety regulations." CVs for the post have apparently been flooding in, but, says Gubbay, "we don't want a large person; we need to do this discreetly."

ETON COLLEGE goes loony today. The public school's socialist Shelley Society has invited Alan Hope, joint leader of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, to speak on "controversial political issues". Hope, who will be without his co-leader, a ginger tom named Cat Mandu, says: "There are going to be some future MPs there, so I am going to try to get them on our side." Among Etonians ripe for conversion, and due to attend the socialist group's event, is Prince William.

No one would doubt that the Blair honeymoon ended a while ago, but could it be that the backlash is gathering momentum? Casting for the "ultimate all-star pantomime", She magazine has given the role of The Villainous Abanazar to the PM. Requirements for the role were: "dreadful old ham" and "abuse of power".

THERE REALLY is "something about Mary", it seems. Cameron Diaz, the star of that film, has been voted Favourite Woman of the Century. However, in a poll by the "lad mag" Maxim, the female icons of the past prove that their charms endure. Such golden girls as Raquel Welch, Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot polled higher than today's stars, such as Kate Moss, Sharon Stone and Claudia Schiffer.

Charlie Sheen was none too impressed with the opening of Fox's new studios in Sydney. Denied a cigarette on the plane, the Hollywood bad boy was still fuming hours later. "What was that all about?" he asked of the event, at which Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Ewan McGregor were guests. After putting down Australia and - say New York Post reporters - insulting journalists, Sheen tried to chat up a waitress after the show, saying she looked like Julia Roberts. None too impressed, the waitress was heard to ask colleagues, "Who is this guy?"

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