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The Independent Culture
IT SEEMS that Lionel Jospin, Prime Minister of France, will definitely not be joining the summit of world leaders, including Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, who gather to discuss "the Third Way" at New York University on 21 September. Pandora has learned of a letter the socialist Frenchman has written declining the invitation, in which he suggests that "the Third Way" is absurd. And that, if Democrat Clinton and Labourite Blair want to be, respectively, Republican and Conservative, they should just go ahead and join.

DO YOU have the guts to join the world of lifestyle journalism? Under the headline "The best job in London (that's legal)", the National Magazine Company, publishers of Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Harpers & Queen, are advertising for a new in-house PR flack. Pandora rang Nat Mags and asked what they considered "the best job in London", presumably illegal? "Goodness knows. That was just a gimmick to grab people's attention," said a spokesperson in the company's Human Resources department. Meanwhile, what are the job requirements? "Someone who returns calls, isn't scared of publishers, has ideas we haven't thought of and is a legend in their own lunch-time." Presumably that's serious.

WHILE SAINSBURY'S has recently announced that it will stop it's sponsorship activities at this year's Labour Conference, the Conservative Party seems finally to be waking up to the joys of sponsorship. When the Tory agent in Lewes, Sussex, complained about the annual report of Lib Dem MP Norman Baker, which was sponsored by a local theme park, she was firmly slapped down by Conservative Central Office. She was told, "The sad fact is that our MPs should be doing it and it's what our former MPs should have been doing."

DAVID LELAND'S new film, The Land Girls, starring the admirable Anna Friel (pictured), has been given a "12" certificate" because of some of the romantic scenes involving several members of the women's Home Guard. However, much of the film was shot on location in Somerset and Devon using a number of local residents, including children. Many of the kids were keen to see themselves on the big screen. As a result, the manager of Tiverton's cinema got permission for the film to carry a PG certificate locally. "There's no nudity, just a few sexy goings on," says Tim King of West Somerset District, which co-ordinated the tourism side of the film. "The local community is doing a lot to cash in... I mean, er, make the most of the film's publicity."

RICHARD BRANSON'S unhappy reaction to losing his wife Kristen after a wife-swapping session with rock singer Kevin Ayers has been fully documented in recent days. What hasn't been explored is the satisfaction Branson obtained when Ayers himself subsequently get dumped in Majorca by Kristen for a German architect named Axel Ball. Ball is largely responsible for turning the beautiful, unspoiled artists' colony of Deia, home to the late poet Robert Graves, into an upmarket villa resort for wealthy Germans, French and Brits. When Ball took Kristen away from Ayers, Branson rewarded Ball by helping him to develop Deia's luxury Residencia Hotel; it is now a Virgin Hotel. In subsequent years, Branson asked Ball, now married to Kristen, to help him develop other new glamorous resorts, including one on the Greek island of Hydra and another in the Majorcan village of Banyalbufar. (The latter has run into trouble with Spanish planning authorities who are anxious to preserve this remaining stretch of Majorca's beautiful north coast.) Unsurprisingly, Ayers sold his Deia house and moved to France.

AFRO-AMERICAN soul singer Chaka Khan is currently revitalizing her career on tour with Prince (that is "the Artist"). However, she took time out to comment on Clinton's missile attack on Sudan. Speaking to the World Entertainment News Network, she broke down in tears and blurted, "Africans are dying because of what Bill Clinton did with his dick". The Network found Chaka's soulful political outburst less that entertaining and promptly edited it out.

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