Pandora

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The Independent Culture
LONDONERS, PLEASE be assured that Ken Livingstone's campaign to be London's mayor has not - repeat not - started. Ken's manifesto and the numerous appearances he's recently made at London events are designed to win the backing of the Labour Party, rather than the support of Londoners. So assisting volunteers at a recent Community Service Volunteers event (where he was billed as a "London mayor hopeful"), opening a new Waterstone's last week (billed as "London's favourite MP") and spending yesterday at London Zoo publicising a conservation centre must not be misconstrued as populist electioneering well before next year's election. "This is my campaign to be the Labour candidate for mayor, not the campaign for mayor itself," Ken says. Pandora wonders how many party members prospective candidates can reach by embarking on trips to the zoo. Then again, maybe it's the ideal location.

JAMES MAJOR, son of the former prime minister, attended the premiere of Armageddon at the Odeon, Leicester Square on Wednesday. When asked about his father, James, who was accompanied by his fiancee Emma, said: "He's still an MP, and he is writing a book." Though grateful for the valuable information that father John was still in the Commons, Pandora was more concerned with the book, which is being hyped as a rollicking good read. "I am sure that it's going to be very interesting," smirked James slightly uncomfortably. Pandora hopes that this reaction means that the rumours about the book are true, but notes that James might not normally put the activities of his father and the word "rollicking" in the same sentence.

PRESIDENT CLINTON faced yet another potential disaster when Hollywood stars Kim Basinger (right) and Alec Baldwin threatened to cancel a Democrat fundraising dinner that they were due to host last weekend. Basinger and Baldwin are keen animal rights activists, so the inclusion of foie gras on the menu was like a red rag to a bull. Baldwin called a Democrat official to remind him of the treatment that a goose must undergo to obtain this delicacy.

"Can you imagine... can you imagine what it feels like to have a metal pipe shoved down your throat?" he challenged. The goose liver was to have come from the trendy Nick & Toni's restaurant in the East Hampton area of New York. Bonnie Munshin, the manager, confirmed to the New York Post that: "Foie gras was on the original menu. It was something we looked at and it was decided it was something we didn't want to do." So what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

JOHNNIE COCHRAN Jr., who made his name as OJ Simpson's defence lawyer, has lost his magic touch. Defending a family friend in West Hartford, Connecticut, Cochran couldn't even get an acquittal for a pair of dogs, after a complaint about late-night barking. Cochran's friend, Flora Allen, had wanted her two Rottweilers to be allowed out at night despite complaints from neighbours about nocturnal noisiness, but a judge denied this request. Cochran, whose client came from the only black family in the area, decided not to play the race card too heavily this time, although he alluded to it with the killer line: "Mrs Allen and her family are the only people in West Hartford who have to put their dogs in at night." Lucky for OJ that Cochran came up with better lines

at his trial.

IF LISTENERS to Chris Evan's Virgin Radio breakfast show have detected a sudden absence of humour this week, they should blame the BBC. Insiders have long suspected Evans of "being inspired" by the Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles, whose show is normally just before Evans starts his on Virgin. This week Moyles has been competing with Evans head on - depriving him of inspiration. Still, anyone prepared to stick out another week with Evans will be pleased to know that Moyles returns to his normal slot in two weeks.

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