Pandora

MANCHESTER UNITED fans who are uneasy about what the future holds for their club under its new ownership will be interested to learn how Mark Booth, chief executive of BSkyB, is refurbishing his new home. After intensive negotiations with all the relevant authorities, Booth and his Californian wife are completely transforming their listed late 19th century home on Collingham Gardens off Earls Court. Previously used as a rooming house, plans for the opulent Booth residence include a gym, family room, viewing theatre and a meditation room. Pandora wonders if there are any plans to introduce such enlightened New Age facilities at Old Trafford? At the very least, it suggests that Booth, when he attends home matches, will feel at home among the chanting fans.

u

THE PROSPECT of a lengthy speech by Robert Maclennan, outgoing president of the Liberal Democrats, has made many people's blood run cold in the past. Once, Labour MP Tony Banks even told the Commons that any "old fartbags" who talked too long should be forced to learn the complete works of Mr Maclennan. A real stickler when it comes to his texts, Tuesday saw Maclennan's final presidential speech. At one point on the page were printed the instructions "meaningful pause", followed by the puzzling exclamation, "Mm!". Pandora is pleased to report that Maclennan delivered his "Mm!" with such gusto that some in the audience actually woke up.

u

WHAT'S IT like to be Leonardo DiCaprio? American socialite author George Plimpton found out recently when he spent a night at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont in the same suite where Leonardo usually stays. He was awakened in the middle of the night by eight "enchanting nymphets" who brushed past him and into the bedroom. "They were looking in the closets. One of the girls put her head on my pillow, because that's where Leonardo had rested his head." Plimpton told the NY Daily News: "I would have said it was a nightmare - except they were so terribly attractive." Once certain that Leonardo wasn't coming, all the nymphets departed. As Plimpton now knows, celebrity is hell.

FOR MIRANDA Green, Paddy Ashdown's delightful right-hand woman, this year's Brighton Conference has been a bit of a rags-to-riches story. Two years ago, during the Lib Dem's last Brighton visit, she told Pandora: "I was a humble researcher. I stayed in an exceedingly cheap bed and breakfast run by a Mr and Mrs Doss. They did a fab breakfast, but the contrast couldn't be more obvious."

This year, Miranda has her own suite at the Metropole Hotel, but laments that her media-spinning responsibilities haven't allowed her to enjoy it much. Her title is now "Head of press and communications - Leader's Office", but she says, "You can only use it if you also say how ridiculous it is." Pandora must caution Miranda that politics and modesty make strange bedfellows. Who ever heard Peter Mandelson say that his title was silly?

u

AT TUESDAY'S launch of The London Fashion Book, author Andrew Tucker was talking about the flap in the international fashion world caused by some New York designers, including Calvin Klein and Donna Karan, who held their shows in advance of London Fashion Week. "They are messing people about," Tucker insisted, displaying his loyalty to the London scene. How this will affect his next project - The New York Fashion Book - remains to be seen.

u

DID YOU know that Bart Simpson is a Scientologist? Or, at least, Nancy Cartwright, the actress who is the voice of Bart, is a member. Along with a number of other Hollywood figures, including actress Juliette Lewis of Natural Born Killers fame, she has signed a letter that has been sent to 300,000 people along with a booklet entitled Harming Artists: Psychiatry Marginalising Creativity. This attacks accepted psychiatric practice, and blames it for the deaths of entertainment stars like Judy Garland, Vivien Leigh, Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Don Simpson and Michael Hutchence. In response to these revelations, Pandora can only echo Bart's immortal words: "Eat my shorts!"

Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick