Pandora

Cliff Richard, eat your heart out. The real Millennium Prayer has been written by backbench MP extraordinaire Andrew Mackinlay. Our Andy from Essex (his seat is Thurrock) believes "the commercial hype surrounding the so-called `millennium celebrations' to be disproportionate and inappropriate". In a classic piece of parliamentary graffiti put to the Commons before Christmas recess, he says that "the hallmark of the 20th century has been world wars and mass genocide on an unparalleled scale caused through the selfishness and miscalculations of kings, politicians, generals and others in privileged and high places". Not convinced that things can only get better, hehopes that "the time between this commercial binge and the true millennium of 31 December 2000 will be used to begin a meaningful attempt at making the coming century better that the last". Andy, there's a place for you in the history books - if not in the Dome.

AMONG THOSE unlucky (or is that lucky?) enough to be working over the Millennium eve is Labour MP Gareth Thomas (Harrow West). As Home Office parliamentary private secretary, Thomas volunteered to be the Government's spokesman on the Millennium Bug. Luckily for Thomas, this sober duty will be followed by a ski-ing holiday - assuming the Bug doesn't leave his plane grounded.

Speculation that unlikely couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones are to split has been rife over Christmas. A last-minute decision by Zeta Jones to spend Christmas in Wales had Douglas scrambling across the Atlantic to join her. While the British press has almost given up on them (notably Scotland's Sunday Mail, which called Zeta Jones a "simple, calculating wee Welsh girl who knew that a famous husband never did a girl any harm"), Douglas's generosity has swayed US opinion. For Christmas, he gave her two diamond bracelets. But as diamonds are a girl's best friend, does she still need the man?

FORGOTTEN TO buy someone a Christmas present? How about bidding for a Russian submarine? Built in 1964, this 300ft relic of the Cold War is being auctioned on the Internet by the SubExpo company (www. subexpo.com). "We'd like $1m but we'll settle for less," says the company's president, Alexander Sheftman, who adds reassuringly: "It's not hot."

The most amusing moment provided by Christmas television this year almost went unnoticed. Who Wants to be a Christmas Millionaire? took the unofficial Yuletide comedy award when one contestant phoned a friend to ask which country out of Norway, Denmark, Finland or Sweden did not help constitute Lapland. "I'll go for Swindon," the hapless chum offered, correct in a manner of speaking.

PHILOSOPHER OF the millennium? Thomas Aquinas? Rene Descartes? Karl Marx? Try Eric Cantona. The Gallic wisdom of the former footballing hot head (now "star" of the grand ecran) stretches further than seagulls and trawlers. Pandora considers this an appropriate time to revisit Eric's fertile mind. In the days leading up to 2000 we have selected a few favourites. Today: "Life is always too cruel. All we can do is say, `Let's try and pass the ball and let the sun shine.' Let's just hope it shines on everyone."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week