Pandora

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The Independent Culture
LIFE ISN'T getting any easier for the cognescenti of modern Brit Art. At Tuesday evening's preview reception for the Turner Prize '98, viewers had to queue up to gain access to the exhibits of this year's nominees. However, several confessed to Pandora that they were rather confused by the presence of a blind man with a cane near the entrance to the galleries. Was his presence in any way "significant" or "conceptual", perhaps part of one of the artist's "statements"? A spokesman at the Tate Gallery assured Pandora that the disabled man was, in fact, just one of the guests at the reception. Pandora wonders if he might even have been a member of the judging panel? In view of past winners of the Turner Prize, this seems not entirely impossible.

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AS SOON as host Loyd Grossman uttered the word "design" everyone in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel's restaurant knew that Sir Terence Conran was about to win a prize. In this case, at Tuesday's Premier Crew awards for Britain's top restaurant staff, Conran picked up a bottle of fizz from joint sponsor Moet & Chandon for his "special contribution" to the industry. Afterwards he confessed to Pandora that he often chose to dine at home - and very simply. "I'll do myself fried eggs, potatoes and bacon." Catching himself, lest he give the impression that he was branching into Cuisine Greasy Spoon, he added, "It has to be with good eggs, of course, and good potatoes, lightly fried in butter." By "good potatoes" surely he means those packaged pre-cut chips from McCain, served in his glamorous Bluebird restaurant, which the press made such an unfortunate fuss about some months ago.

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WILL THE end of the 20th century be known as the Golden Age of Euphemism? President Clinton's "inappropriate behaviour" is now a slang catchphrase covering all sorts of sexual shenanigans. Yesterday Ron Davies expanded the lexicon with his "error of judgement", certain to become a classic piece of cruising argot. How will the next politician attempt to spin away his naughtiness? Perhaps toe-sucking will be called "a lapse in judicious comportment", while fornication will become just another "probity fault".

IS BARBRA Streisand already regretting her ludicrous plan to campaign on the Internet against Bill Clinton's Republican critics, reported by Pandora yesterday? Now America's right wingers have turned their guns on "Bah-Brah" herself, claiming that she may have something to cover-up about her own warm relationship with Slick Willy. According to Larry Klayman, head of a conservative group called Judicial Watch, "Ms Streisand could be a potential witness in several of the Clinton investigations." In response, Streisand told yesterday's New York Post, "Boy, they sure know how to fight dirty... With threats of malicious prosecution, they try to intimidate not just me, but everybody, from exercising constitutional rights of free speech." Even more reason to believe that Barbra would have been best advised to have kept her mouth shut in the first place. Of course you could say the same for Monica Lewinsky.

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MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS to the sound quality of London Underground's public address systems have apparently knocked some staff right off the rails. Pandora witnessed this annoying phenomenon Monday at Victoria station. "Once again it's time to remind passengers to stand away from the doors," a garrulous voice boomed out with 100 per cent audibility. "Thanks very much to most of you. But some of you haven't quite got it yet, have you? Let's try that again, shall we?" Blood pressures shot up as this deranged Basil Fawlty prattled away. A London Transport spokesman claims such idiotic chatter reflects a "policy of allowing staff to use their initiative" and LU's new "human face". A far more convincing act of humanity would be silence - and the cancellation of the huge rise in fares that LT announced on Tuesday.

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DAVID DUCHOVNY (pictured), famous for his portrayal of The X-Files' paranormally obsessed FBI agent Mulder, admits to a more common hang- up in the December issue of Playboy. He has a fascination for X-rated films. "I like to watch... My big porn years were the '80s," he says. Indeed Duchovny was once treated for "sex addiction" and last year confessed that whenever he sees his mother, she asks if he's either appearing nude or being killed in his next film. If the answer is "yes", his mum gives the flick a miss.

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