Pandora

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The Independent Culture
The 100th Labour Conference starts at the end of the month, but celebrations were nearly marred by the absence of one of the Party's old friends. When the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) asked to have a stall in Bournemouth, party bosses refused. When complaints from CND that they were being "airbrushed out of history" by New Labour reached reporters at The Independent, the attitude of Millbank high command suddenly changed. There was a space for CND's exhibition stand after all. Pandora loves happy endings and is pleased to find New Labour so accommodating.

THERE WILL be celebrations on Broadway by the time Conor McPherson's The Weir closes at New York's Walter Kerr Theatre in November. Against all the odds the play is about to become the longest-running Anglo-Irish drama export of the last season, a feat achieved against all the odds. Before the play opened in April, Broadway insiders were predicting a swift demise for a production they claimed New Yorkers wouldn't understand; one critic went so far as to say that the ticket price was the "heftiest cover charge for an Irish bar". In spite of having received no Tony nominations, however, The Weir has outrun all three David Hare plays, The Iceman Cometh with Kevin Spacey and the Anna Friel/ Natasha Richardson production of Closer currently playing on Broadway.

The actor Simon Callow, the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and the photographer David Bailey are among the great and the good who have designed dog collars for Battersea Dogs Home. The collars are to be auctioned on behalf of the venerable pet place in October, at the Stephanie Hoppen Gallery

in Chelsea.

Vivienne Westwood's creation is said to be made up of diamante dog bones and Pandora imagines that she would look extremely fetching in it.

TONY BLAIR'S smile may never seem to fade, but Channel 4 viewers will see it strained to its limit this week. The first part of Tony's People, an in-depth study of the Prime Minister's Sedgefield constituency, airs on Thursday night. Blair's first and only appearance comes in this first episode as he joins the children in a pre-school learning centre for their story time. The man responsible for "education, education, education" is a less-than-captive listener to the tale - the delightfully titled "Mr Wiggle and Mr Waggle".

The National Review, celebrated right-wing journal beloved of conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic, has taken a pop at the late Diana, Princess of Wales, listing her at number 31 in their run-down of the 100 most overrated public figures. In a highly entertaining read, the Review's top two victims were John F Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, with hubby Bill faring better in 15th place. Fellow cigar-lover Fidel Castro came in at 99 - a great deal less damning than Mikhail "Perestroika" Gorbachev's unkind 4th in the stakes. Perhaps the highlight of the magazine's spleen was its description of the artist Jackson Pollock (No 7): "Talented painter who made a self- indulgent mess on a canvas and kept doing it because the chattering class was afraid to admit they didn't get it."

A PLAGUE upon this howling! George Clooney's latest film The Perfect Storm is getting its knickers in a tempestuous twist. The true story of a fishing trawler going down in a deadly storm is already $40m over budget, with filming delayed owing to - surprise, surprise - bad weather. Meanwhile locals in the port of Gloucester, Massachusetts (where the disaster took place) are giving Clooney and his fellow actor Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg stick for not looking like their real-life counterparts. Their co-star Michael Ironside is having the opposite problem. His character presumably had some debts, and the resemblance would explain why irate fishermen keep asking him for money.

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