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The Independent Culture
Roy Hattersley looks set to make it big in America, with a little help from his best friend, Buster. The former Labour deputy leader has enjoyed huge success since he penned the diaries of his pet dog, which have sold 75,000 copies, outdoing John Major's memoirs and making him one of Little, Brown's best-selling authors. So big, in fact, that in the new year, Buster is to be launched in the US, where the plethora of dog-owners will make up for the fact that Roy is unknown over there. To accompany the launch, a Buster website has been set up, including a paw- print you can download. Sadly, Buster will not be accompanying Roy to the US, which may make the planned "book-pawings" a little difficult.

STARS IN his eyes? Or was it just the pound signs that persuaded the wealthy astrologer Jonathan Cainer to leave the Daily Mail after eight years and jump ship to its rival, The Express? The Mail has certainly been reluctant to let Cainer go, with stories of contract-haggling and financial incentives reaching Pandora. The new recruit, hailed by the editor, Rosie Boycott, as a "fantastic opportunity" for The Express, has meant that the paper's current stargazer, Marjorie Orr, is reduced to her spot in the Sunday Express magazine, with a promise of "other future projects" with Cainer. No doubt, as true professionals, both Cainer and Orr already knew what was coming.

Rupert Everett is glad to be gay but does not like to overstate the case. The British star of Another Country and My Best Friend's Wedding is adamant that the path of his acting career has had nothing to do with his sexuality. "I was gay last year, I'm gay this year, I'll be gay next year and I just can't be bothered to go on about it all the time," sighs Rupe in an interview he gave to Playboy. "There must be more interesting things than being gay," the actor complains. "I don't want to be the Shirley Temple of the gay world."

"WELL, HE adds to the gaiety of nations." Steve Norris playfully giving his verdict on Andrew Boff, his openly gay Tory mayoral rival, at a meeting of Nozzer supporters.

The chances of rehabilitating Jeffrey Archer must be smaller than those of Sally Farmiloe winning an Oscar - but is he all that bad? An intriguing tale of Jeffrey's fund-raising abilities reaches Pandora's ears. Some time after the Government's introduction of university fees, a London student heard Archer talking about the financial difficulties faced by students. Unable to resist taking a Tory peer to task, the student wrote to Archer to ask him "to put his money where his mouth was". Jeff allegedly wrote back enclosing pounds 1,000, the exact amount required to pay the new fee.

A GLASGOW priest is refusing to give the last rites to elderly, mentally ill patients at a nursing home unless they have private health insurance. Father John Lyons, of Our Lady of the Assumption in Ruchill, has an arrangement with Bupa, ensuring patients in private wards receive top levels of pastoral care while NHS patients are ignored. "Why should I do it? I don't get paid by the NHS," the holy father complains. In response to appeals from staff at the home, the Archbishop of Glasgow, Cardinal Thomas Winning, has ordered Father Lyons to offer the last rites "irrespective of whether a salary is offered or not". But the errant priest has other ideas, telling Glasgow's Sunday Mail: "These are mental patients; I'd be getting calls all hours of the day and night."

The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, has written to Pandora to say that the story of his visit to Glasgow earlier this year, when his car wheels were removed and stereo stolen, "is entertaining but suffers from one small defect. It is wholly untrue." Mr Straw goes on to say: "I have not, sadly, visited Glasgow this year nor has anything like this happened to me anywhere else." Oh, Jack, you haven't lived!