THE TUC President John Edmonds' attack on greedy bosses will no doubt be the enduring moment of this year's Blackpool conference. Unsurprisingly, Edmonds was not pleased about the unflattering photograph of himself that first appeared in the London Evening Standard on Monday, and in most of the other papers the following day (although not The Independent). On Tuesday, Edmonds attended a dinner for Tony Blair at the Stakis Hotel. In the hotel's lift, a friend enquired after the union leader's well being. Edmonds complained of his hectic schedule, but added: "I'd like to get my hands round the the throat of one particular photographer." Fat cats should watch their necks; the Blackpool Strangler is born.

IN WASHINGTON, the sex-obsessed Starr report has lowered the tone of American political journalism, and it's not only the President who's feeling the heat. In the past two weeks, three Republican leaders have been forced to admit to sexual indiscretions after journalists confronted them, according to The Washington Post. Most important is House Judiciary Committee chairman, Henry J Hyde, currently heading the pre-impeachment hearings. He has just admitted to a five-year affair with a married woman, back in the Sixties. While Republicans have accused Clinton's team of instigating these stories, the White House strenuously denies involvement. One Texas Republican Congressman called the story about Hyde: "The most despicable, most disgraceful, most disgusting piece of rumour mongering that I have ever seen." Where has he been for the past eight months?

THE US embassy in London has just replenished its fleet of cars. Cadillacs? Lincolns? No, Robin Reliants. The embassy bought a fleet of the three- wheeled vehicles last year, and has just added two more, at the bargain price of pounds 7,050 each. The sight of a Reliant with diplomatic plates may be strange, but the embassy is not bothered: "We are amused by the attitude to these cars," US spokesman Dennis Wolf told Car magazine. He points out that these vehicles, nifty on London's crowded roads, are used by delivery and repair staff, not for ferrying Ambassador Philip Lader to Buckingham Palace.

AS TOPSHOP prepares to open its new Oxford Circus flagship on 3 October, London is wallpapered with a sleek upmarket ad campaign for the retail chain. The brains behind Topshop's new "Can't live without..." marketing effort belong to Ronnie Cooke Newhouse, wife of Conde Nast International chief, Jonathan Newhouse. Mrs Newhouse made her mark in New York as the brilliant creative director for Barney's department store and, in 1997, landed the job as creative director of Calvin Klein's in-house advertising agency. The latter required her to commute constantly between New York and the couple's Notting Hill home. After just a year, Ronnie gave up the Klein job to open her own London agency - RCN Associates - in order to spend more time with Jonathan. "Can't live without...", indeed.

LYNN FRANKS, the delightful PR consultant who helped to inspire the loopy television sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, was holding forth in Los Angeles recently at a New Age bookstore. She made the audience hold hands as she informed them that they were in "the global fusion business", and how important it was "to be connected to the Earth". In the Eighties, Franks's work for Absolut Vodka was an absolute triumph. One of her American clients is Sky Vodka. That doesn't sound very earthy, but clearly Lynn has celestial hopes for the product.


CYBILL SHEPHERD (pictured) has laid bare some hairy details about Bruce Willis, her former co-star in the hit TV series Moonlighting. At a New York magazine party this week, Shepherd said that she intended to dedicate part of her forthcoming book, Cybill Disobedience, to Bruce Willis's bottom. Apparently, Willis was forever dropping his pants and mooning on the Moonlighting set. Shepherd claims she asked Willis to warn her, so that she could gird herself for the sight. She suggests that Willis "could probably use some of that hair now on his head".

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