Here yesterday, gone today ... thankfully

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The Independent Online
Where are they now? Yes, it's time once again to gaze curiously at the names which once littered the headlines and are now lining people's drawers: the here-yesterday-and-gone-today brigade, the people who give fame a bad name, the ex-celebs who now live in the David Mellor old folk's home of bygones and cuttings ...

Well, I expect you get the point. So here we go again with another round- up of people you had quite forgotten about until we asked the question: where are they now?

Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer has just had a wonderful idea for a book. This has never happened to him before, and he is not quite sure what to do about it, so he is lying down in a darkened room until the feeling goes away.

Robert Runcie and Humphrey Carpenter

The runaway ex-archbishop and his faithful confidant, the winsome fortyish Humphrey Carpenter, are still believed to be holed up somewhere in their literary love nest waiting for the furore to die down after Runcie's revelations that he may have helped to father Humphrey Carpenter's notorious book, Lambeth Layabout. On his last appearance in public, when he had just popped down to the local church for some wine and wafers, Runcie snapped at reporters: "Please leave us alone! We just want to be happy, living the life of subject and reporter. I quote, he misquotes, and we're very happy like that!"

Newt Gingrich

There was a time when the man called Newt Gingrich was said to be the most important politician in the United States, and his every word was quoted as if it meant something. It gradually dawned on everyone, at least in Britain, that nobody had the faintest idea who he was, owing to the British inability to understand the American system. (Call a man "The Majority Speaker of the House of Representatives" or some such, and we all nod sagely but are too polite to ask what it means.)

As a consequence, we all withdrew our attention from Newt Gingrich. He may still be there for all we know - indeed, he may still be the most important politician in the US, especially as nobody else seems to be - but he has become invisible to us.

Jesse Jackson

The same as Newt Gingrich, but black.

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie has been told that he may not go out in public except in disguise, so he has hit on a brilliant compromise - he has adopted a new profession which involves him always being in disguise! He is now an entertainer and conjuror called Marvo the Magnificent, who specialises in parties for 8- to 12-year-olds. Apparently he is very good at the party entertainment trade, except when there are tricks involving loud bangs, when he tends to get under the table, or when older children argue back with him, when he tends to get quite stroppy and aggressive. He has not been on a bouncy castle again since the embarrassing time when both his moustache and beard fell off.

The editor of The Sun, Stuart Higgins

Since The Sun soiled itself a week ago by printing a totally false report of Princess Diana as its lead story, the disgraced Sun editor has gone into hiding on Rupert Murdoch's orders, and the paper has been edited in his absence by a Stuart Higgins lookalike. "Everyone has been taken in," says an unnamed source. "The resemblance is uncanny. This Stuart Higgins lookalike comes in every morning, orders us to print a load of old cobblers and half truths in the paper, then goes home. It's unnerving. It's brilliant. It's taken everyone in. It could just as easily be the real man."

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst, last year's famous young British artist, is under close medical supervision in quarantine, under suspicion of having caught BSE from one of his own works.

OJ Simpson

OJ Simpson, the man who didn't kill his wife, is still claiming that he didn't kill his wife, but nobody is interested any more.

PJ O'Rourke

PJ O'Rourke, the famous American right-wing satirist, has not been spotted on Loose Ends or Start the Week publicising a new book for at least two months, and the authorities are beginnng to be worried that something has happened to him, and are asking the public to keep an eye open for him. On the other hand, it could just be a satirical statement. Or maybe he hasn't written a new book. Or maybe he has just gone out of fashion (see Garrison Keillor, Bill Bryson, etc). Either way, the police are warning people to be careful if they do spot him, as he has a dangerous tongue and may well cut you down to size.

Coming soon in `Where Are They Now?' - Lady Porter, Tim Yeo, Madonna, Ted Hughes, etc etc.