Pandora

PROMISES, PROMISES. The Culture Secretary, Chris Smith, is a nice guy, perhaps too nice for his own good. When he visited Saltaire, the 19th-century Yorkshire model village created by the millionaire philanthropist Sir Titus Salt, Smith told the locals that he was keen to have the town placed among the 32 British sites on the United Nation's World Heritage list. However, on 21 August, when the British sites were announced, Saltaire was nowhere in sight. Now the local Labour MP, Christopher Leslie, is furious and plans to ask Smith some tough questions on the selection process. Chris Smith, considered lucky to have held his post in the Blair reshuffle, was called lightweight and ineffective by a Labour-dominated Commons committee on culture last June. No more Mr Nice Guy, OK, Chris?

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THE REV Jesse Jackson was, at Chelsea Clinton's request, ministering to the First Family in the White House on the Sunday evening before the President's disastrous grand jury appearance and late-night "apology". This Sunday the former aide to Martin Luther King and ex-presidential candidate spoke to the American people on a TV programme called Face the Nation. "I think he should have made it very clear," Jackson said of Clinton, "to Monica, to the family; all of those forces need to feel there's no fall-guy. The responsibility should have been in his lap." Have truer words ever been spoken?

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THE NEW television series of The X Files will not be filmed in Canada, as it was previously, but in sunny Los Angeles. The location change came, in part, as a response to the star David Duchovny's unhappiness about making the long northward commute, says the Los Angles Times. Efforts are apparently being made to avoid losing the show's weird, dark atmosphere. The sultry actress Gillian Anderson, who plays Agent Scully, claims, "It will still be moody. There'll still be a lot of smoke." This was echoed by the producer Paul Robwin, who added: "We're looking forward to creating a whole new look for the show without destroying its integrity". That does sound like Hollywood smoke, doesn't it?

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"JUST DO it." So goes the Nike slogan broadcast around the world, accompanied by the famous white tick. Now, it seems, the sportswear manufacturer is itching for a pitch that's less aggressive, more positive, equally punchy. Rumour has it that the most likely new slogan is "I can". To which Pandora's initial response is "So what?"

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NET SURFERS and Zippergate conspiracy fans are well acquainted with the Drudge Report produced by "outlaw" electronic journalist Matt Drudge, who first broke the Monica Lewinsky story. Although much abuse has been piled on Drudge by mainstream American broadcasters and journalists, his "Report" receives as many as 11m visits a month. Now it has been paid the ultimate compliment - a parody site called the "Drudge Retort" - well worth a visit, at www.drudge.com. Not only are the satirical "exclusives" mildly amusing, but the page contains a long list of links to some of the most eccentric sites on the Web. In the meantime, Drudge himself has now signed a contract with Rupert Murdoch's Fox Network. His "outlaw" status is clearly at an end.

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THE DRUG-FREE Selnas Method of choosing your baby's sex, first introduced a year ago, is being relaunched. The Selnas people are now so confident that they're offering a full refund to parents who don't get the result they wanted. That's impressive corporate confidence, but Pandora wonders if the company would ever consider exchanging the goods for genuinely unsatisfied customers?

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PANICKY AFTER the collapse of the Russian economy, the City is desperate for good news out of Moscow. Pandora is happy to provide it. Naina Yeltsin, Boris's wife, (pictured) remains in a bullish mood despite the tumbling rouble and the return of black market currency dealing to the city's streets. She told a group of reporters over the weekend, "Intuition is telling me that everything will be all right". So that's a "buy" then?

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