Pandora

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The Independent Culture
PRINCE'S PARTY: all this jaw about Prince Charles becoming "an alternative political force" is intriguing. Try this quote, contributed by a rabid anti, from the heir to the throne: "You know, my father always says that fox-hunting is like adultery; it's perfectly all right so long as you keep quiet about it and above all are not seen to be enjoying it."

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WALKING COMPUTERS? Wapping, the News International headquarters, must be such a cool fun place to work: journalists' cars are now routinely searched as they leave the premises. Murdoch suits are apparently concerned about vanishing computers. Did someone say "trust"?

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CHARLIE SHEEN is said to have signed to star in Rated X, a new film about X-rated business. Did someone say typecasting?

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READERS' INDIGESTION this week focuses on the thrilling world of cars, parking... and parking cars. Parking Review features "five years of decriminalised parking enforcement reviewed in a pull-out section." Saints fans will doubtless be stunned to learn that the new 32,000-person stadium in Southampton will provide "just 200 parking spaces." Why? Because of a radical new planning scheme that will provide "satellite parking" - which will doubtless reassure enquiring minds about the final home of Space Station Mir. Parking Review's Topic section airs all sides of the debate currently driving the industry: will national league tables promote better parking? The scoop du jour is tucked away in a column called Yellow Lines, and reveals that Alexander and Julia Burgess, aged seven and four, were not amused to discover their black scooter and pink Barbie bike had been ticketed by zealous cops in Finchingfield, Essex. "Alexander thought he was going to prison," his father said.

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HOBSON'S CHOICE, in The Independent on Sunday's Culture section, juxtaposed two funky numbers. Here's the thumbsucker (it makes you think...): if a human being's minimum reaction time is 0.25 seconds and a fly's 0.02 seconds, how can we swat a fly?

SIX MILLION men never bathe, according to new research. "Bathe twice a day to be really clean, once a day to be passably clean," Anthony Burgess advised, "and once a week to avoid being a public menace."

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WIN FRIENDS and influence people with a thoughtful and prestigious e- mail address - like the student journalist currently writing as "zcrap33@we'llsaveyour blushes.ac.uk".

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HELEN MIRREN (pictured) on those "chic", but painfully obvious, implant boob jobs: "If everyone knows they're implants, why not hang a pair of silicone breasts around your neck?"

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REAR VIEW mirror dept: At Henry V's coronation, the chef served roast porpoise.

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WONK WORLD, and many of the political animals living on it, got totally trashed in the wake of the Euro elections. People are saying what a bad race the BBC had: its exit poll was yarbles, and when you modelled a millennial freak result (with the three big parties all scoring zero) at their online site, it returned numbers showing Red still holding two seats and Blue and Gold on one each. The Kinnocks cemented their rep as a fun-lovin' couple when a Dimbleboy, in the context of sleaze charges, referred to EU bosses getting "fingered"; the Kinnockios exchanged a suggestive glance and started sniggering. Oh, and just as showbiz is politics for the brain- dead, is politics showbiz for the ugly? The 117 candidates vying for the 10 London Euroseats waited at Alexandra Palace for the result. So they could all "check their gate" before going on camera, election organisers provided 5-ft mirrors so win, lose or draw, everyone had a moment for those vital last-minute reflections.

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EXPECT TO see more of the byline of Dick Murray, the Evening Standard's transport correspondent. London Transport is disrupting the service to Kensington High Street this summer - very irritating to clock-watching suits at Associated Newspapers.

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IF A "New York minute" is a few seconds, how long is a "London Transport minute"?

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