Pandora

THE OUTGOING chairman of National Heritage, John Letts, will use his farewell speech at this afternoon's Museum of the Year awards to attack the Government's arts policy. He will announce a new prize, The Emperor's New Clothes Award, for the person who most vividly exposes the Government's failings. Letts has chosen Sir Peter Hall for this year's award because of his fierce South Bank speech in January in which he attacked the cuts in the Art Council's budget. While Sir Peter received a thunderous standing ovation on that occasion, Culture Secretary Chris Smith remained seated and granite-faced. Unfortunately, neither Smith nor any other ministers are planning to be in the audience today to hear Letts declare: "We are fed up with policies that are spin-doctored and polished almost into oblivion; with government of the bland, for the bland and by the bland."

LARGER-THAN-LIFE US comedienne Roseanne, who has just launched her own television chat show, told CNN recently that she would happily pay up to $2m to Monica Lewinsky for an appearance. This follows her rival Oprah's ethically-upstanding announcement that she would never pay any guest, including Lewinsky, to come on her show. "I can understand why journalists have that integrity thing but, fortunately for me," Roseanne told Larry King, "I have no integrity. It doesn't get in my way."

THERE'S AN exciting treat in store for Conservative delegates at the climax of their Bournemouth conference. On Friday morning, after the address by Tory deputy leader Peter Lilley and closing remarks by Michael Ancram, the new party chairman, the very fitting culmination of the week's events is listed as "musical entertainment by the Dorset Youth Wind Orchestra". Hot stuff.

IF YOU were one of those Labour delegates like Health Secretary Frank Dobson whose arrival in Blackpool last week had been delayed by Virgin Trains, you'd have wanted a word with Richard Branson. That's what many delegates thought they'd had after a Richard Branson look-alike wandered the stalls at the Winter Gardens. Hired to promote an event management company called Event by Pinewood, so convincing was the Branson imposter that he was even approached by a fellow from Rolls-Royce who asked how many airplane engines Virgin would be wanting next year. "The next day people were coming up to our look-alike," marketing director Lyn Boardman told Pandora, "and saying, `You're not the real Richard Branson. He was here yesterday.'"

DUNCAN KENWORTHY, the producer of Four Weddings and a Funeral, is feeling very confident about the prospects for his new film, Notting Hill, which stars Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts and is due to be released in 1999. Kenworthy told Pandora: "We've done a test screening in Feltham which got an 82 per cent approval rating." Had they considered a screening for the trustafarians who inhabit Notting Hill? "No, they would like it too much," gloated Kenworthy.

LAST WEEK in Blackpool at a press briefing with the Prime Minister's "official spokesman", Michael White, The Guardian's erudite political editor, asked a "question" which, for once, evoked great sympathy for its much maligned "official" recipient. White proclaimed: "It is implicit in everything that has been said today that HMG takes the view that the Chinese leadership was wiser in seeking economic modernisation before political modernisation than was the former Soviet Union in doing it the other way round." The "official spokesman" wasted no time in smacking down this smug palaver. "It is the view of this bit of HMG that this is a briefing, not a historical seminar."

AT LONDON'S Ham & High newspaper literary lunch in Belsize Park last week, Barry Norman (pictured) gave new credence to that old saw, "Those who can, do; those who can't become critics." Sky TV's new film reviewer regaled his audience with a few anecdotes from his reviewing career, including the fact that he once turned down an invitation from Brigitte Bardot to play poker. "I had a deadline to meet, so I made an excuse and left. I think it was the act of a total wimp and I've never stopped regretting it."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

books
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary