Pandora

IN HIS Commons speech on Wednesday, Tony Blair paid homage to the Internet. Naturally, Pandora quickly surfed to Downing Street's own website. Posted there were not Blair's actual words, but his pre-speech notes. This technological indiscretion offers a unique perspective on how our Prime Minister edits his scripted material at the despatch box. For example, his attack on Tory Leader William Hague's speech was prepared long before Hague had actually spoken. It included the slur on Hague for talking "more about the Paymaster General than about education or health". Pandora regrets, however, that Blair dropped one scripted insult about Hague: "He diddles and tiddles and fiddles." Can we look forward to this Mother Goose-like abuse being employed at a later date?

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FOLLOWING PANDORA'S revelation that only 20 out of 108 new trains were in service on the London Underground, a reader telephoned with the suggestion that the first new Northern Line trains had been delivered three years ago - but were found to be too big for their tunnels. "We wanted the trains to be a little taller and a little longer," an LT spokeswoman admitted to Pandora. "They didn't bump the ceiling, but they were too high for something called the `kinetic envelope'." Apparently the roofs had to be raised "a little", but "it was all part of the plan" she insisted, vehement that these modifications did not cause what now amounts to a seven months' delay. "It took longer because it took longer," she insisted. Just like most journeys on the Northern Line.

u

A SMALL TV production company, Meditel, has sent out a statement about their special feature for Channel 4 News on the "leading scientists who say the science behind the HIV/Aids hypothesis is wrong", to be broadcast on World Aids Day. According to Meditel's "experts", HIV has never been properly isolated or identified, making the HIV test unreliable. A few years back, Channel 4's Dispatches ran a series of programmes purporting to show that HIV does not cause Aids and that the epidemic was largely a myth. Those programmes were also produced by Meditel; their thesis has now been discredited by the scientific community. And when Pandora called Channel 4, it seems that Meditel's "seven-minute slot" will not take place after all. "They rather got carried away," said a Channel 4 spokeswoman diplomatically. "Their views will be represented in a studio discussion."

u

YET ANOTHER update on Kelvin Mackenzie's cunning innovations at Talk Radio. Having slashed the evening news coverage from three to one hours, yesterday morning the station's hourly news bulletins between 6am and 9am were all repeated in German. Read by Theo Koll, a journalist with German newspaper De Bild, they provided "a serious look at what life would be like in a more integrated Europe", according to a Talk Radio spokeswoman. Pandora suspects that we'll wait rather a long time before our news is broadcast in any language other than English. But, in the meantime, we just might hear Talk Radio's news being read by a bunny.

u

AFTER MAKING more editorial U-turns in the last few weeks than an Alpine goat track, The Sun yesterday launched a campaign that is certain to endure, at least so long as David Yelland remains editor. "We say: walk bald and walk proud," declares the leader, accompanying a page 6 article lauding men like West Ham striker Ian Wright and Olympic swimmer Duncan Goodhew, whose lack of hair doesn't effect their self-esteem. Sadly, there was neither mention nor photograph of editor Yelland's crowning and polished glory.

u

A COLLECTION of Oasis lyrics, songlists and album concepts will be auctioned at Christies next month. One unreleased song sheds fascinating light on the relationship between Noel (pictured) and Liam Gallagher. The brothers' relationship has always made an absorbing story, reaching a crescendo when Noel walked out of Oasis' tour of the US in 1996. What are we to make of the lyrics for "Is That A Fact?": "Alright, I'm going home/ don't want to hear your voice no more/ what's that you say?/You never liked me anyway?/ Is that a fact?/well I don't care./What you need is a real good hiding./Coz with you I've been siding all my life/I know you're my brother/but only because you came from my mother./ Time and time again I've seen what you're really like."

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