Pandora's Box

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The Independent Online
YOU may have read about this elsewhere, but only Pandora brings you the whole truth. When the Telegraph's fashion editor, Hilary Alexander, spotted Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott at Fashion Week, she was so impressed by his double-breasted, pin-striped sartorial elegance, that she very politely asked him the identity of his tailor. Apparently still reeling from his recent splashing at the Brits, Prescott went into a fury. "I'm just here to pick up my wife, for Christ's sake, not for any other fucking reason," he raged. Then stormed off to wait for her in his car.

The TV docudrama about Princess Diana's romance with Dodi Fayed, currently being filmed in Mallorca, has been plagued by a familiar parasite. A swarm of international paparazzi have descended on the production of The People's Princess, stalking the leading actors from clifftops and speedboats since the first day of shooting. Recently the $2m film's director, Gabrielle Beaumont, rushed to defend her players from a gang of aggressive snappers. "Look, I'm not having you here to do to us what you did to Diana," she exclaimed. Witnesses swear there was not a trace of irony in her voice.

The probing zoom lenses are beginning to take their toll on poor Amy Claire Seccombe, the 27-year-old actress who is making her film debut impersonating Princess Diana. Surely nothing she studied at the London Academy of Performing Arts could have adequately prepared her for this live role.

Oh those wags on the Agriculture Select Committee! After hours of hearings on the question of food safety, some MPs could barely contain their giggles when one food bureaucrat announced that his company "produced from conception to consumption". This phrase has inspired committee members to author a new list of "witty" catchphrases, now being passed from hand to hand at Westminster. Examples we are able to print in this newspaper include: "from sperm to spoon", "from orgasm to orifice" and "from penis to plate".

What is going on between Tina Brown and Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian? Recently spotted lunching together at Le Caprice, another meeting was scheduled for this week during Rusbridger's visit to New York. In the past months, the Guardian has run several glowing tributes to the New Yorker editor obsequiously headlined the "Queen of New York", followed by Sunday's Observer hagiography in which Tina has become "Queen of Magazines". Tina, whose magazine lost more than $10m last year, cannot be thrilled by the New Yorker's imminent loss of its corporate independence and the move out of its historic offices. The "Queen" will now be reporting to tough-guy Conde Nast president Steve Florio. Could she be considering a new throne as the aspiring "queen of British sunday newspapers" at the Observer?

Do we really want to swap one of our great national assets, Lynne Franks, who is moving to Los Angeles, for Tina Brown? The absolutely fabulous PR star of the Eighties has progressed to offering "creative strategy" on behalf of a number of clients, including `The Big Issue' (launching in Santa Monica in April) and Unesco (something called "global fashion"). She told Pandora: "They like the idea over there of a loud, Jewish-English woman with lots of ideas and enthusiasm. It's a much more loving, open world."

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