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Who's Who confessions

"ONE OF the great ornaments of British civilisation," was how Lord Jenkins of Hillhead described Who's Who at its 150th birthday bash on Monday night.

It was also the 50th anniversary of Roy's first inclusion in the social climber's bible and he celebrated with a rousing speech to the assembled "names" in the long room of the National Portrait Gallery. Confessing that he is an avid browser of both

Who's Who and Who Was Who, his only complaint was about people who refused to allow their home addresses to be published. Did these literary types who gave their agents' addresses really fear that their gardens would be invaded by a mob of fawning readers?

Unsurprisingly for a celebration that was also a promotional event, a large percentage of the names on the list of invited guests was made up of journalists. So much so, perhaps, that it confused people. One lady, wedged between the livid portraits of Bobby Charlton and Salman Rushdie, was overheard to say, "Oh look, there's Kenneth Baker. Doesn't he have a lovely tan. Didn't he used to read the news on television?" One journalist not on the printed list of guests but very much in evidence at the

party was Andrew Neil. Pandora could not believe that the shy, retiring Glaswegian editor-in-chief and chat-show host would have crashed such an event. Sure enough, a spokeswoman for Who's Who explained, "He was invited but he was a bit naughty and didn't bother to reply." As busy as he is these days, perhaps Neil confused the party with his usual evening out at Tramp.

High jinks in Hollywood

FORGET about Vanity Fair's big show-off post-Oscar party, all the genuine fun this year took place over the weekend at Miramax's pre-awards Hollywood party. In vivid contrast to the mawkish Academy ceremony, Robin Williams (right) performed a rude and totally unsentimental stand-up act while Madonna rolled in the aisles with laughter. Then, reports the New York Post, Matt Damon, star and co-author of the Miramax blockbuster Good Will Hunting, dressed up as a woman to spoof Mrs Brown. Finally, Dame Judi Dench and Helena Bonham Carter put on hard-hats for their take-off of Hunting. Perhaps next year Miramax will film their party and offer it as a genuinely funny television alternative to Billy Crystal's wretched jokes.

Feeling faint at Filthy's

A PERFORMANCE that sounds rather more British (and considerably less fun) took place recently at Filthy McNasty's pub in Islington: a reading of The Smoke King by author Maurice Leitch. Among the guests was former dope lord, bestselling author and cannabis crusader Howard Marks, who brought along his mum. The reading went on ... and on ... and on. Suddenly a man standing beside Marks along one wall of the room fell over in a dead faint. One wag asked, "Was it because of the powerful fumes from Howard's hair?" Or just a contact high?

Mo's Irish mystery

WHO WILL be the next Director of Information at the Northern Ireland Office - the job otherwise known as "Mo's Mouthpiece"?

One rumour that has reached Pandora's ear about the replacement for Andy Wood, long-time holder of the position, says that the new appointment will be Cherie Dodd, the former Mirror political correspondent recently shifted to cover industrial affairs for the paper. When Pandora rang the Mirror yesterday to congratulate Cherie, she was out of the office. "In Northern Ireland for the day," said a newsdesk spokesman. "She'll be back tomorrow." But not for long, as the job is a three-year appointment and Cherie is intending to move the whole family to Belfast.

Mandelson changes socks

AN IMPORTANT correction was made to later editions of press releases of Peter Mandelson's speech to the Newspaper Conference at the Hilton yesterday. In the original draft, the Minister without Portfolio was quoted as saying "The Dome is a wonderful

building and the contents are going to blow your socks off." Subsequent versions changed the verb "blow" to the verb "knock". Pandora can well understand why this change was made and compliments the Minister for doing an absolutely first-rate job.

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