Click to follow
The Independent Culture
WASHINGTON'S FAVOURITE glam couple, the British Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer and his wife Catherine, celebrated their first wedding anniversary on Friday night with a formal dinner dance for 120 at their official residence. Marrying Catherine "was the best thing I ever did", Sir Christopher gushed to his guests, who included several US senators and Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman, as well as the head of the FBI and numerous big-shots from the US media. Out of idle curiosity, Pandora rang the Foreign Office to ask whether this romantic bash was paid for by the British taxpayer. Yes, confirmed a helpful FO press officer, Alan Campbell, who pointed out that the party invitation also mentioned that it was the first anniversary of the day Sir Christopher took up his post as ambassador. "The idea was to have a peg to pull together a whole range of influential contacts in the States," said Campbell. However, while marking the Queen's birthday is one thing, Pandora doubts whether the British people should be expected to pay for lavish entertainments to celebrate every British ambassador's anniversary in office, let alone wedding days.


ALUN MICHAEL, having succeeded Ron Davies as the new Secretary of State for Wales, is in no hurry to usurp Davies's place as potential leader of the new Welsh Assembly. Indeed, Michael would prefer to develop his own future career in Westminster, not Wales - but Tony Blair may have other ideas. However, there is a problem: Michael has not yet been selected for any Welsh Assembly seat. Time is running out in the selection process and, within his own constituency of Cardiff South and Penarth, the selection has already gone to Lorraine Barrett. Asking her to step aside would be a bit awkward; she is Michael's own loyal researcher and constituency liaison.


IS PIERS Morgan readying his parachute in preparation for bailing out of the editorship of The Mirror, in the wake of its being overtaken in circulation by the Daily Mail? That's the rumour circulating around the Canary Wharf headquarters of David Montgomery's empire.

"He seems very diffident, even distracted, and sometimes leaves the office around 7pm," one insider told Pandora. Unfortunately, Morgan was on holiday when Pandora rang to ask for his comments.

THE IRON Lady strikes again - this time in Hollywood. Or, more exactly, an exclusive Beverly Hills hairdresser's. When Lady Thatcher arrived at Jose Eber's shop last week, she was immediately escorted to the most prestigious chair. Regular customers forced to cool their heels in less prestigious cubicles included Farrah Fawcett, Donald Sutherland, and "the Fonz", Henry Winkler. According to one eyewitness, our former prime minister "had no airs about her, and even had her hair washed in front of everybody".


READERS WILL recall that last Friday, in this diary, the anti-cannabis MP Phil Woolas attacked the makers of Channel 4's Altered Minds programme for a lack of objectivity. Now Clare Handford, the show's producer, has hit back, saying how disappointed she was in Woolas's performance. After both the Home Secretary Jack Straw, and Ann Taylor MP, refused invitations to appear, she said: "We wanted someone who was articulate, and familiar with the facts, to make the anti-cannabis case." Instead, Woolas could offer no hard evidence to back up his claim that gangs of cannabis addicts were on a crime spree in this country. After filming, Woolas chatted amiably with Handford and, she said, told her: "People like us could smoke a joint and it wouldn't do us much harm but, if you're a working-class kid from Manchester, it's a different matter." Different smokes for different folks,

eh Phil?


THE BARD, William Shakespeare, has found a surprising defender in the person of the Hollywood actress Annette Bening (pictured), delightful wife of Warren Beatty. When Arizona State University sacked her old theatre teacher for refusing to change the ending and "reinterpret" several Shakespeare plays which, according to one school official, were "works from a sexist European canon", Bening accused her old Alma Mater of making "a gross error", and creating "an atmosphere of political correctness".

Following the sacking, the Arizona university's theatre department substituted an inspirational drama, Betty the Yeti: An Eco-Fable, in which a logger has sex with a sasquatch, and is transformed into a staunch environmentalist.