Pandora

MOHAMED AL Fayed has been courting Geoffrey Robertson QC, the distinguished Australian constitutional law expert, author and New Labour insider. Pandora has learned that Al Fayed recently asked Robertson to be chairman of his People's Trust foundation, which the Egyptian wants to transform into a Demos-like think-tank on constitutional issues. If the arch-republican Robertson, who is married to the outspoken comic novelist Kathy Lette, decides to accept the position, no doubt he will be well entertained by the generous Egyptian. Let's hope he does. The prospect of Al Fayed and feminist Lette at the same dinner table offers wonderful comic possibilities.

NOBODY BEATS America's political hucksters when it comes to speedy exploitation of their rivals' weaknesses. The first post-Monica television commercial has just been aired in North Carolina by a Republican trying to unseat a Clintonian Democrat in next November's Congressional elections. "Scandal after scandal, day after day," says a narrator, over a photo of Clinton and Lewinsky. "And who stands with Bill Clinton even now?" Flash to a picture of the Democrat applauding a Clinton speech in the Congress. No doubt William "Boy Wonder" Hague, currently on holiday in the States, is taking notes.

FIDEL CASTRO (pictured) has withdrawn as a shareholder from the former Tory MP Phillip Oppenheim's three-month-old restaurant near the Old Vic. "He decided it was not consistent with his communist principles," Oppenheim tells Pandora. Called the Cubana, the restaurant is decorated with a retro- glorification of Havana's long-lost Mafia glamour and failed socialist revolution. "Post-Communist grunge," says Oppenheim, who was a Treasury Minister in John Major's government. As for the cuisine, "it moves away from the post-ironic, neo-minimalist Conran style", and includes a selection of excellent tropical cocktails. The prices are very much today's London.

VALIANT SALLY Noel, the campaigning ex-Lloyds name, has revived the spirit of Emmeline Pankhurst this week, by chaining herself to railings outside the House of Commons. Protesting on behalf of all unfortunates still pursued by Lloyds of London, Noel intends to keep up her protest for as long as necessary. "I should be there right now," she told Pandora yesterday. "But lots of people have been phoning me." Her protest usually lasts from 10am until 3pm on weekdays, and could become an even bigger attraction than Big Ben. Happily, when Sally is not protesting on site, the Commons' police have made generous provision for her chains and signs.

ALL THIS past week, with massive press and television coverage, that "Acid Test" icon and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest author, Ken Kesey, has been touring Britain. In part, his visit has been sponsored by the King Mob Gallery near London's Smithfield Market, which Kesey opened with an exhibition of his "jail" works last week. How depressing, then, to read King Mob's very own "mission statement". This strikes Pandora as the work of a yuppie who has been drinking too much trendy Mexican lager, not enough electric kool-aid. King Mob claims to "utilise the well established rock/music business tactics of rebel marketing (energy/dissent/ humour) as yet unapplied to this market-place". Time to get back on your bus, Ken.

MAILINGS PROMOTING upmarket dating services keep arriving on Pandora's desk, most recently one called "Young Execs at Only Lunch". For pounds 500, career-obsessed "twentysomethings" can meet eight prospective partners for evening drinks or weekend lunches. Isn't there a gap in the professionals' dating market? Pandora suggests a dating service for bosses and secretaries - in this case, somebody else's boss or secretary, not your own. First dates would take place in the dating service's own replica offices. An option would be to receive frequent intrusive phone calls from an actress playing the "boss's wife". And, if the first encounter goes well, the "secretary" can book the "boss's" choice of restaurant for the second date.

Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
The party's over: Paul Higgins and Stella Gonet in 'Hope' at the Royal Court

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special

Broadcaster unveils Christmas schedule

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tvThe two new contestants will join the 'I'm A Celebrity' camp after Gemma Collins' surprise exit
News
The late Jimmy Ruffin, pictured in 1974
people
News
Northern Uproar, pictured in 1996
people

Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the new Paddington bear review

Review: Paddingtonfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Tony stares at the 'Daddy Big Ears' drawing his abducted son Oliver drew for him in The Missing
tvReview: But we're no closer to the truth in 'The Missing'
Arts and Entertainment
Henry Marsh said he was rather 'pleased' at the nomination
booksHenry Marsh's 'Do No Harm' takes doctors off their pedestal
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking in new biopic The Imitation Game

'At times I thought he was me'

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
One Direction go Fourth: The boys pose on the cover of their new album Four

Review: One Direction, Four

music
Arts and Entertainment
'Game of Thrones' writer George RR Martin

Review: The World of Ice and Fire

books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Bean will play 'extraordinary hero' Inspector John Marlott in The Frankenstein Chronicles
tvHow long before he gets killed off?
Arts and Entertainment
Some like it hot: Blaise Bellville

music
Arts and Entertainment
A costume worn by model Kate Moss for the 2013 photograph

art
Arts and Entertainment

music
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.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
    Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

    24-Hour party person

    Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
    Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

    A taste for rebellion

    US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
    Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

    Colouring books for adults

    How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
    Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
    Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

    Call me Ed Mozart

    Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
    10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
    Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
    'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

    'I am a paedophile'

    Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
    Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

    From a lost deposit to victory

    Green Party on the march in Bristol
    Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

    Winter blunderlands

    Putting the grot into grotto
    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

    London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital