Pandora

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Though Shaun Woodward's opportunist defection from the Conservatives to Labour wasn't announced until Saturday afternoon, the writing was already on the wall. The previous day Woodward had spoken at an event entitled "How intolerant are we?" hosted by the right-wing - yes right-wing - think- tank Social Market Foundation and attacked the Tories on both Europe and taxation, themes he would return to after announcing his defection the next day. In a question and answer session afterwards someone picked him up on his attacks and asked if he could support the Tory manifesto at the next election. "I can't answer that. I don't know what is going to be in the Conservative manifesto anymore than Ken Livingstone knows what is going to be in the London Labour manifesto."

HATS OFF to the Oxford Mail which demonstrated accidental prescience this weekend on the future of Shaun Woodward. A trailer in last Saturday's issue for a forthcoming interview with the Oxfordshire MP screamed: "Shaun Woodward - the man behind the headlines."

Cockney character Michael "you're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off" Caine felt compelled to make a real effort for his latest film The Cider House Rules. Having to yank himself into a convincing American accent for the part of Dr Wilbur Larch, Caine took on a speech coach to guide him through the finer points. His struggle for perfection was as much about saving face as method acting. "If you do an Australian, or Irish, or Scottish accent badly you upset about five million people," Caine explains, "if you do an American accent badly you upset about 500 million."

NOEL GALLAGHER'S move to Ibiza has upset some of the natives. Due to occupy a mansion that belonged to Mike "Tubular Bells" Oldfield, the arrival of the Oasis star prompted one nervous local to complain: "I would have much preferred it if Mike had stayed, as he was really nice and I'm worried a Gallagher on the island will bring trouble." In Ibiza, would anyone really notice?

You can tell a lot about a man's libido by the way he eats a kebab. So say the makers of Carling lager which, with the help of psychologist Donna Dawson, has divided Britain's males into tell-tale categories. They are: chompers, who have lots of energy but for whom "communication is necessary"; chewers, who savour the moment; and suckers, who "need encouragement". Says Donna (real name) "sex and eating are the two basic human drives, and they are bound to overlap." What then do we make of celebrity chef Gary Rhodes who has, Pandora hears, invented his own kebab which comes with cranberry sauce?

BILL GATES knows his onions, or at least prefers them deep fried. The Microsoft billionaire, a Colorado newspaper claims, was thinking of buying a Gulf Stream private jet. Typical sales practice is to allow the prospective buyer to test-fly the vehicle, complete with full crew and gourmet chef. But a sophisticated culinary experience was pooh-poohed by the super- geek. Bill reportedly took to the air with nothing but a take-out from Burger King for sustenance.

Hitchhiker's Guide author Douglas Adams confesses to being a bit of a gadget freak. His current obsession is the GPS receiver; the in-car device which tells you where you are, where you are going and how to get there. The device came into its own when Adams had to drive to San Jose for a Thanksgiving party. Talking to a colleague of Pandora's last week the eccentric admitted: "I didn't know the way to San Jose."

HAVE The Daily Telegraph's political allegiances gone to the dogs? A group of editorial staff from the paper enjoyed a Christmas bash at Wimbledon greyhound races last week. At least one round of drinks was covered by the winnings from a certain dog. It's name? "New Labour".

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