Pandora: Dale misses out on Oxford Union gig

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The Independent Online

Calamity over at the Oxford Union, after a second high-profile guest is forced to pull the plug at the last minute.

Iain Dale, Conservative blogger and wannabe MP, had been due to address the raffish debating society on Wednesday evening, but cancelled mysteriously at the 11th hour.

He notified his readers of the change, with an ill-tempered message blaming "organisers' incompetence".

Happily, we can report that he was feeling rather less irate yesterday.

"It was cock-up rather than conspiracy," he tells us. "I agreed to do it a while ago and then never heard back from them so I dropped them an email asking them to let me know the time it began.

"I didn't hear from them until it was too late so I had to pull out. It was a little disorganised; they appeared to have several different people doing things, none of whom knew what the other was doing."

It's not the only last-ditch change of plans the OU has had in recent months; earlier this year, Anna Kournikova was forced to cancel her appearance after the university refused to fulfil her specifications, which included two assistants' travel and five-star accommodation.

No such demands from Dale, of course. "Yes well..." responds an OU spokesman. "We've asked him back another time but as yet he hasn't replied."

Uh-oh! Here comes trouble (again)

At long last! After months of playing it coy, Daniel Hannan has signed up to Twitter. The Conservative controversialist – last seen telling US television networks that the NHS was "a 60 year mistake" which only "made people iller" – promises to cause a delightful number of PR headaches for David Cameron. So far, the MEP's offerings have been disappointingly on-message ("David Miliband should apologise," "Hague doing what he does best"). Still, surely it can only be a matter of time...can't it?

Rock reunion is music to our ears

Ronnie Wood unveiled his debut fashion line (a "cauldron of mixed-media innovation," apparently) earlier this week, leaving Pandora to ponder whether the universe had not, in fact, been tipped upside down.

Still, all is not lost. It appears that the craggy musician may soon be returning to a less alarming form of employment. Yesterday news broke that Rod Stewart, Wood's one-time Faces band mate, was eager to reform the 1970s group. Wood & Co attempted a reunion a little while ago at the Royal Albert Hall, but were left one member short when Stewart decided he couldn't make it. If it keeps Ronnie out of our wardrobe, it can only be a good thing.

No star-seeking at movie premiere

Starsuckers made its debut at the London Film Festival last night, but where were its stars? The documentary, which tries to expose the "shams" of celebrity culture, details several episodes where false showbiz stories were planted and enthusiastically lapped up by the mainstream press.

As the project's creators walked up the red carpet, there was a notable dearth of bodies in the press area. "We invited them but I suppose they decided it was best not to come," explained one publicist. Quelle surprise.

Bond girl sets the record straight

"I hate my bum!" squealed the one-time Bond girl Eva Green after running into Pandora at the London Film Festival. She must be in the minority. As well as her role opposite Daniel Craig in the Casino Royale film, Green has a CV brimming with comely romantic heroines. "No, I'm like everybody," she insists. "I only really decided to act because I am crazy, it is quite masochistic." Ouch! Sounds painful.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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