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Derry somewhat dated

A PUZZLING invitation has landed on Pandora's desk. It is a summons to attend Lord Irvine's presentation of the "Freedom of Information Awards" in the City of London on "Monday 28 April 1998". Is this the same Lord Chancellor who made his curtain weavers sign the Official Secrets Act? The same man who believed the press should have been banned from revealing details of the Foreign Secretary's secret love affair? Even stranger is the fact that the event is scheduled for a day that does not exist. Will Derry be giving out these awards on Monday 27 April 1998 or on Tuesday 28 April 1998? Or is the Lord Chancellor perhaps living in a parallel universe with its own calendar and its own definition of freedom?

Off the wall

WHILE waiting for clarification of the above, perhaps you might want to see the full glory of the green Pugin pineapples in Lord Irvine's apartments? Pandora can reveal that you don't have to join a charity tour or apply directly to Derry. The very same wallpaper is hanging in Committee Room 3 of the House of Lords where the noble committee on science is hearing evidence on cannabis. Roll up, roll up.

Vanity of vanities

THE MAY issue of Vanity Fair hits the stands today with a cover story on American sit-com star Jerry Seinfeld (pictured). Hardly a household name in the UK, Seinfeld's BBC2 show appears late Tuesday evenings; but he is the hottest comic on US television. The VF article, by Lynn Hirschberg, is highly flattering. Now it has sparked off a ferocious investigation at the magazine's New York editorial offices, according to the New York Post. Was Seinfeld given a draft of the article by journalist Hirschberg without the knowledge of editor Graydon Carter and his staff? Did the comic's publicist mistakenly fax the piece with Seinfeld's changes straight to the VF offices? If he thought he was allowed to edit his own profile, it would infuriate Carter, who is very peevish about any suggestion that his magazine panders to celebrity egos. But a VF insider has told Pandora that whatever draft Seinfeld saw, it was far too late to change more than a few "fact-checking" mistakes.

Geeks get the plot

AUTHOR Vikram Chandra was warned by his Faber editor not to include his e-mail address with the biographical details on his first book, Red Earth and Pouring Rain, or risk a flood of worrying messages from lunatics. However, the former computer programmer turned novelist insisted that it must be included. Now one of the few writers in the world to risk exposing his address to the Nerd World reports that it has vastly enriched his life as a writer and given him into a much closer relationship with his readers. "The only really scary psycho mail I've ever received came through snail mail," he says. Pandora hastens to add that "snail mail" is the psycho term used by nerds to refer to the post.

Cheap shots

SPEAKING of e-mail, hacks at the Mirror Group yesterday received an electronic invitation to the "World Premiere" of the TV-movie Diana: A Tribute to the People's Princess that was shot on location in Mallorca a few months ago. The film's producer is, of course, Mirror managing director Kelvin MacKenzie, a man not famous for his glitzy champagne tastes. The premiere is being held today at lunchtime in the Mirror's 21st floor Canary Wharf staff canteen.

All Coked up

THESE days American products seem to have even bigger egos than Hollywood stars. One of Coca-Cola's American advertising agencies has sent out a letter to magazines dictating what editorial text is allowed to appear opposite a Coke ad - or else the agency will demand another free ad in a later issue. According to New York's Village Voice newspaper, banned subjects include hard news, sex, drugs - legal or prescription, medical issues, health topics - either mental or physical, dietary problems, food, politics, environmental issues, any "vulgar language" and religion. Apparently "the real thing" just can't stand reality.