Pandora

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The Independent Culture
TIP-TOP TIME-MANAGEMENT tips, adapted from The Onion, for the One Minute Maniac lurking within us all: 1. When making business calls get right into it; avoid elaborate two-part greetings such as "Hi, how are you?" 2. Kiss spouse good-bye five times before leaving the house on Monday, allowing quicker exits for the rest of the week. 3. Use brightly coloured Post-It notes to remind you to perform tasks you might otherwise forget, eg "Eat this sandwich". 4. Every time you miss a deadline, give yourself an electric shock; when you meet one, reward yourself with a pellet. 5. Save time on the phone by yelling "Shut up!" at the beginning of each conversation and then angrily slamming down the receiver.

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SEX WITH a stranger? Eighty per cent of women would do it to become an instant millionaire, according to Company's June issue.

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MATCH UP! In The Guardian this month Charlotte Raven put her name to a feature about how the Rolling Stones are better than the Beatles. Coincidentally, the author Ian Penman said exactly that in the October 1997 issue of the Modern Review. Fact: Charlotte Raven was the lover of the Modern Review's proprietor. Compare and contrast these two samples - Mod Review '97: "A lot of their golden hits are either Tin Pan schmaltz... or sixth-form surrealism.": Guardian '99: "Most of their so-called golden hits can be placed in one of two camps: schmaltz and sixth-form surrealism." Mod Review '97: "Unlike the Stones... they couldn't mould their ad hoc borrowings to conform to a central (dark) aesthetic. They simply threw fistfuls of... sitars... and bleats and hoped it would stick." Guardian '99: "Unlike the Stones, who were able to mould their ad hoc borrowings to a central dark aesthetic, the Beatles simply made... cut-and-paste efforts of sitars and bleats."

A NEW House of Commons survey reveals a generational fault-line. MPs elected before 1 May 1997 say the House's number one area for improvement is "refreshments". The Blair Generation's prime beef? The underwhelming prowess of Parliamentary IT systems.

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CONGRATULATIONS TO The Sunday Times, which has managed to lift one of Pandora's scoops-du-jour just nine days after you first read it here. But commiserations too, because the Murdoch rag, in following up the Bridget Jones movie story, omitted to mention that the current front runner for the film's lead is Emily Watson (pictured).

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SUNSHINE AND lollipops are definitely off the menu at Planet Hollywood. The share price is 90 per cent off its top mark; store merchandise sales have plunged 39 per cent and return visits are down 18 per cent. The founder, Robert Earl, paid celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg, Melanie Griffith, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Sly Stallone and Austrian Arnie with equity in the outfit. Those who have held on to their shares can't be very happy. Earl says he'll turn around the chain with a new theme and menu called Planet 2000. Peter Morton, founder of the Hard Rock Cafe, comments: "Once a brand gets trashed in the public eye, it's next to impossible to resuscitate it."

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WHODATHUNKIT? Lucian Freud, whose grandfather was, of course, Viennese, forbids his paintings being displayed in Austria.

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BRA WARS is a new and nearly naked parody of Star Wars. Subtlety is not its metier; the "intergalactic sex fable" (playing on a web browser near you) features characters such as The Jug-I Knights and Boob Starknocker. And bosoms. And lots of bosoms. "As a kid, when Star Wars came out I wasn't into it, but then I find out that the film is largely based on The Hero With a Thousand Faces," says Danni Ashe, the female sex entrepreneur behind the project, "And I became a big fan." Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces is a standard text in pukka West Coast film schools; those of us familiar with it will recognise this as a case of never mind the quality - feel the myth.

Contact Pandora by e-mail: pandora@ independent.co.uk

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