Pandora

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ON THE tide of seasonal festivities this week rides the Labour Party's Millbank revue. This year's event, as last year's, will be scripted by Matthew Taylor, Labour's former assistant general secretary, who now heads up the Institute of Public Policy Research. Now that he is outside the party, you imagine that Taylor would have a freer hand to poke fun at them, as he successfully did last year with his tale of Prince Mandy in Spinderella. However, every revue is subject to scrutiny by party officials, and this year the sensitivity of the censors is acute after a series of delicate stories. One gag, about Messrs Mandelson, Brown and Davies, has definitely had a red line put through it.

AS THE impeachment proceedings for President Clinton get into gear, Pandora is amused to see that Bill's defence lawyers have left no stone unturned. In their report, published this week, the defence team dug up five dictionaries to support the President's claim that he did not have "sexual relations" with Monica Lewinsky. Sexual relations as defined by the various dictionaries either means "coitus", or "intercourse". Absolutely no mention of cigars.

ROBERT KILROY-SILK has been revealing some scandalous habits that may well affect his fortunes if he stands as an independent in the race to be London's mayor. Kilroy-Silk, a former Labour MP, and presenter of his own BBC show, admitted at the Broadcasting Press Guild luncheon on Tuesday that he did not make much use of public transport. This shocking revelation has already been made by that other mayoral hopeful, Steven Norris. As Tory transport minister in 1995, Norris said he didn't use public transport because of the "dreadful human beings sitting alongside you". Kilroy-Silk's excuse? "I commute in a chauffeur-driven Jaguar. Last time I took the Tube was two years ago." When asked how much he had paid for the ticket, Kilroy-Silk admitted: "I can't remember. Somebody else paid for it." Eat your heart out, Steve.

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PANDORA READS with interest the outburst from Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber against the state of Britain's music industry. In a letter to another paper yesterday, the musical duo complain that record companies cynically manipulate the charts, thus degrading individual songs. Interesting to note that, on this occasion, Rice needed no prompting to exercise his knowledge of popular music. Things were different once, when Rice was approached to set some pop questions for BBC's now defunct Mastermind programme. The programme's presenter, Magnus Magnusson, explained on LBC Radio yesterday that Rice put his refusal in writing: "I think the letter we got back was the shortest that I have ever seen - only two words."

TONY BANKS has still not given his assent or dissent to the tome that honours him (The Wit and Wisdom of Tony Banks, published by Robson Books), so while (still) waiting for his call, Pandora offers another insight into the sports minister who wants to stop joking and get serious: "I don't have a monstrous ego. I really don't. I have no ego at all. I find publicity unnerving because I don't regard myself as a politician - and neither do most of my colleagues."

IF ANYONE thought the exhibition celebrating 40 years of the Carry On films, launched at the Museum of the Moving Image yesterday, looked a bit sparse, the producer of the series, Peter Rogers, was on hand to explain why. "I'm surprised they've got anything here at all," exclaimed Rogers. "The films were done economically. After they finished, things like costumes all had to go back from where we got them." Rogers admitted to Pandora: "We never thought of ourselves as an institution, let alone that we would end up in a museum."

FASHION DESIGNERS are renowned for their spontaneity, and Domenico Dolce (pictured) and Stefano Gabbana are no exception. The duo - who have clothed Demi Moore, Madonna and Mick Jagger among others - made another acquisition during a recent holiday in the Caribbean - a hotel butler. According to New York Magazine, the butler looked after them so well that they whisked him away to work for them. One insider remarked: "Most people only steal the robes."

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