Pandora

THERE IS every need, it appears, for Alastair Campbell's drive for greater coherence in the Government Information Service. During last week's reshuffle, one MP tried to find out who the new minister responsible for disability issues was. The Department of Social Security thought it might be Stephen Timms; the Department of Employment thought it might be Andrew Smith, or Margaret Hodge; while the office of the Secretary of State for Education, David Blunkett, seemed blissfully unaware of the reshuffle. Finally it was Blunkett's private office who rang the exasperated MP to say that it was in fact Margaret Hodge, albeit temporarily, who was the new minister dealing with disability issues. Government Information Service? GIS' a clue, more like.

WHEN JEFF Rooker, Agriculture Minister, was asked by the MP for Glasgow Maryhill what assessment he had made of the benefits to developing countries from fair trade in bananas, was there an undeclared conflict of interests going on? Pandora is assured that the questioner - Maria Fyfe MP - is entirely unrelated to Fyffes, one of the world's largest banana growers. "They're spelt differently," Fyfe's secretary explained rather tersely. Never in the field of human bananas have so few smiles been raised.

AFTER THE adventures of Mulder (below) and Scully, are the activities of "Area 51", the secret military base in the US, so secret anymore? An item by the American News Service, Scripps Howard, due to go out this weekend documents the known activities of the base, which has done so much to fuel the fire of science fiction, including The X-Files. Area 51 employs 1,850 civilian workers according to Scripps. Aside from the odd alien hostage, Area 51's actual known duties include warning spacecraft against threats of collision and operating military and navigation satellites. Oh yes, and there's that other extra-terrestrial duty of aiding US Customs by tracking aircraft suspected of carrying dope. Hmm, is the truth out there, or is it just a hazy screen?

ELLIOTT GOULD, star of the original M*A*S*H and known to younger readers through his appearance as Monica's dad in Friends, has not lost his sense of proportion in the passing years. When asked to name one of his worst jobs, he told Entertainment Weekly; "As you know I was once married to Barbra Streisand."

LEGENDARY SCREEN star Katherine Hepburn has helped to further raise the profile of clothing outlet, The Gap, already basking in attention from the revelation that the infamous Lewinsky dress was bought there. Hepburn, who, as the New York Post points out, helped to popularise the casual, slack look for women, was shopping in Manhattan recently. Observing a number of young, informal types streaming into The Gap store, Hepburn explained "Oh, I'm afraid this is all my fault."

PEOPLE COULD be forgiven for thinking that Victor Lewis-Smith, television critic for the Evening Standard, gives his opinions away at will. Lewis- Smith has never knowingly been under-opinionated, but when a colleague of Pandora called him to get the benefit of his TV "genius", Victor could only give short shrift. "I'm not going to talk to you about some stupid television programme!" he exploded. Oh sorry, but if you think that how do you manage to do your day job?

HOW SAD that at the height of the rucksack - sorry - tourist season, Pandora has not been enlightened by the views of the Lib Dem's most likely London mayoral candidate, Simon Hughes, on this still burning issue. Despite numerous attempts to cajole Mr Hughes to contribute, Pandora's calls have been in vain, with not even a "no comment" emanating from his office. Surely, having the benefit of hindsight on what the other candidates for mayor have said should tempt Simon to come out decisively on this issue? Pandora's door is always open, unlike the door to the tube which of course is frequently blocked by some inconsiderate person wearing a rucksack...

Arts and Entertainment
'Banksy Does New York' Film - 2014

Art Somebody is going around telling people he's Banksy - but it isn't the street artist

Arts and Entertainment
Woody Allen and Placido Domingo will work together on Puccini's Schicchi

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
The sixteen celebrities taking part in The Jump 2015

TV

Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge has announced his departure from Blink-182

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Latest stories from i100
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.

    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore