Click to follow
The Independent Culture
ASTOUNDING DETAILS about the New Age lifestyle at the top of the New Labour establishment continue to reach Pandora's ears. Most recently, a lady feng shui expert named Rosalyn Dexter was invited to inspect Nos 10, 11 and 12 Downing Street where she had tea and "chatted about my profession" with Murdo Maclean, private secretary to the Government's Chief Whip. Feng shui aims to restore "harmony" in the home by taking into consideration architecture, decoration and furniture placement. Yesterday Dexter told Pandora that she wasn't paid for her "chat", but "I did make comments." She particularly enjoyed "sitting in Churchill's famous leather chair where I was able to quote his own feng shui remark." And what remark was that? "We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us." Perhaps that explains all the fuss about the rivalry between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown earlier this year: they simply moved into the wrong houses!

HE MAY have a delicate touch in the kitchen, but the sense of humour of Marco Pierre White (pictured) can sometimes be as heavy-handed as a platter of Bavarian bratwurst. Take his new restaurant, set to open in the Regent Palace Hotel in a month's time, directly above Oliver Peyton's popular late-night basement brasserie, the Atlantic Bar & Grill. What has Marco chosen to name his new venture, where he will be trying to give Peyton a run for his money by offering "affordable glamour", a late licence, a night-club, a bar and a restaurant, for around 600? He's calling it Titanic. According to Peyton's press spokesman, Elizabeth Crompton-Batt, "Oliver doesn't get upset about these things. Basically, his feeling is that, if that's what Marco wants to do, just let him get on with it." Marco's publicist on Titanic is Elizabeth's ex-husband, Alan Crompton- Batt. He told Pandora yesterday that Marco "believes the Titanic will be his iceberg during the coming recession". Providing, of course, Peyton's Atlantic doesn't swallow it first.

YOU CAN scoff at the House of Lords, but then a moment comes along that makes you wonder how we could ever do without the old duffers. Such a moment arrived recently when the following question was addressed to Her Majesty's Government: "Whether they will ensure that the answering-machine that the Ministry of Defence uses both to explain its policy on unidentified flying objects and to provide a facility for the public to report sightings is turned on at all times and not switched off outside working hours." Scoff if you want, but you'll be deriding Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Hill-Norton, one of this nation's foremost military minds and former Chief of the Defence Staff and chairman of the Nato Military Committee. He must know something.

JEFFREY ARCHER has made no secret of his admiration for New York City's tough-guy Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Now surely he will be joined by all British politicians when they read the following answer Giuliani gave to a journalist who dared to ask if he would be taking a post-election day holiday with his wife and kids. "I think that's an insulting question. It's not your business the amount of time I spend with my children and my wife," Rudy snapped. "My private life is my private

life and you should stay

out of it."

IT WOULD be a slight exaggeration to report that Pandora has been overwhelmed by callers offering vital clues about the Tom Cruise lookalike lurking around Blockbuster video shops. However, one young woman in Milton Keynes, an avid fan of Tom Cruise who begged for anonymity lest her fiancee take umbrage, telephoned Pandora yesterday. "This is almost the worst news I've ever heard." Pandora attempted to quell her anxiety, but the woman became even more emotional. "What if, say, Tom has been hijacked and replaced by this bloody lookalike? Poor Nicole; is she sure the man she calls her husband is not some little impostor?" All the more reason for readers to send information they may have to The Hunt for the Tom Cruise Lookalike, c/o Pandora.