A 90ft cuddle to launch the millennium

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The Independent Online
THE NEW Millennium begins with a cuddle. This is New Millennium Man putting a protective arm round New Millennium Woman.

To the Government's relief, the 90ft-tall reclining figures, which will form the centrepiece of the Millennium Dome, subscribe to New Labour family values and appear on the surface to be heterosexual. The original idea of a figure without gender has apparently been discarded: too controversial no doubt in these muck-raking times.

The Dome, whose contents and sponsors were announced yesterday, will show a cosy, cuddly, all too familiar Britain. We will all eat McDonald's (we'll have to; it is putting up pounds 12m sponsorship). We will gaze at cosmetics from Boots the Chemist (we'll have to; it is also putting up pounds 12m sponsorship for the Body zone).

The organisers are euphoric. They promise an "awe- inspiring live Millennium show will run up to six times a day featuring acrobatics, trapeze artists, stilt-walking and abseiling."

The price of a ticket is not yet known; but there is already controversy over defence companies putting money in, and we need a strike-free year to guarantee that there will be transport to take us there.

Oh, and no one has yet signed a contract to sponsor the Spirit zone. Religion, even at the dawn of the new Millennium which allegedly celebrates it, is proving less sexy for sponsors than Mammon, which has its own zone and a sponsor.

But that's Britain 400 days from the opening of the Dome. Uncertain but cuddly.

Brave New World, page 9:

Leading article, Review, page 3

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