Pandora

THE CLINTON era in Washington DC hit a new low last week when Congressman Dr Tom Coburn delivered a sex education lecture, complete with hideous colour slides, of sexually transmitted diseases, to a group of young interns at the House of Representatives.

Coburn is a right-wing doctor from Oklahoma who previously attacked a US television network for showing Spielberg's epic about the Holocaust, Schindler's List, because it included "full-frontal nudity, violence and profanity". Clearly a deep thinker, Coburn told the interns over a lunch of pastrami sandwiches, that "men are liars", but assured them, "I gotta tell you I like sex."

As a number of American college students come to Parliament as interns every year, Pandora wonders if they will expect the same educational treatment when they arrive. Certainly Westminster is not short of experts. There's Cecil, Robin, Alan, David, even Paddy could speak with some authority on the subject ...

MANY APOLOGIES to the Samaritans for Pandora's suggestion on 5 May that the charity's radio commercial was tasteless. Having looked carefully at the broadcasted script, Pandora can see nothing tasteless in the text. It's only the unfortunate title printed at the top of the script page - "Don't Hang Up" - that seems in dubious taste when affiliated with the worthy anti-suicide volunteer group. But that wasn't broadcast.

THE FRIGHTFULLY expensive and obnoxiously exclusive fashion boutique Voyage turned away Julia Roberts (right) a few weeks ago because she didn't have her "membership card", or so W magazine reports. (Some months back it was reported to have denied access to Madonna.) When Pandora spoke to someone called Rocky at the locked shop yesterday, he put the blame on the paparazzi. "Yes, we asked for her card at the door. But Julia was being hounded by the photographers and she simply ran away. Later her assistant rang us and arranged for her to come in after-hours." As for Madonna, Rocky said: `I don't think we could turn people like that away." Needless to say, people like Pandora had better stick to the Portabello Road.

THE ROLLING Stones are, of course, not the only rock 'n' roll stars to have turned against New Labour in recent days. Pulp's latest release Cocaine Socialism includes lines such as "So can you bring them to my party and get them to sniff this (party line) and all I'm saying is come and rock the vote for me ..." While Pulp lead singer and lyricist Jarvis Cocker may not be in the running for this paper's political commentator job, his caterwaul of abuse will influence thousands of young people.

So what has influenced Cocker, a Labour voter, to attack Tony Blair's party? Pandora rang the singer's mother, Christine Connolly, a Conservative who lost her recent bid to become a parish councillor in Nottinghamshire by just one vote, and asked if her persuasive powers were responsible. "I'm my person; he's his person," said his mother, refusing to take any credit. However, she was clearly a very proud mum and found her son's recent anti-Blair attitude "quite wonderful actually". And wonderful, too, how New Labour continues to bring this nation's families closer together.

THE DON'T Choke Britain Campaign's National Car-Free Day, faces a tough challenge next Tuesday. It coincides with the planned London Underground strike to run from 14-16 June. Will the streets of the Smoke be filled, Amsterdam-like, with bicycles? Is Oxford Circus full of trained elephants?

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