The Colombian navy three-masted barque ARC Gloria arrives at Naval Station Mayport in Florida, US, for a scheduled port visit. Gloria is the Colombian navys cadet training ship. Picture: AP

How many more rabbits are going to pop out of the conjurer’s hat at the Leveson inquiry into the British media?

Already we’ve learnt that Prime Minister David Cameron used to go riding in the countryside on a horse loaned to Fleet Street figure Rebekah Brooks (now charged with defeating the ends of justice) by the London Metropolitan Police.

Now it now turns out that in the supposedly dour Gordon Brown era, the gals at least once got together in pyjamas at Chequers, the official country residence of the British prime minister, for a “slumber party”.

The party – I’d always thought such things were the preserve of American teenagers – was hosted by Brown’s wife, Sarah. Guests included Wendi Deng, wife of Rupert Murdoch, proprietor of News International; Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth; and Rebekah Brooks.

What went on at the party? Midnight feasts? What kind of pyjama outfits did the gals wear? Silks and satins? Woolies? Fancy slippers? An intrigued world public would like to know.

Over to Murdoch himself: “It was probably nothing more than a bunch of women complaining about their husbands.”

Which introduces male chauvinism and sexism. Now things are really serious.

Who and what will come out of the hat next? Was there ever such public entertainment since the Profumo affair? This one will run and run.

Financial wobbles

THE WORLD of finance was already wobbling over Greece and the euro crisis when the woes of JP Morgan Chase, the banking giant, struck as a major squall, forcing the resignation of the CEO after decades of service.

Now satirist Andy Borowitz claims the CIA has been infiltrating al-Qaeda with executives from JP Morgan Chase.

“The mission, which the intelligence agency had hoped to keep secret, came to light this week when al-Qaeda dismissed two of its top officials who it said were responsible for ‘unacceptably speculative’ betting of the terror net’s funds on credit default swaps.

“Across the intelligence community, the dismissals caught the attention of analysts, who thought such risky behaviour seemed out of character for al-Qaeda.

“The first thing I thought was, this sounds more like the work of JP Morgan,” one analyst said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Al-Qaeda has a reputation for being madmen, but even for them these investments were crazy.”

Oh boy! You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

New game

LOCAL raconteur Pat Smythe (aka Spyker Koekemoer) has developed a new board game. He calls it Westville Jail Monopoly. When you land on the “Go to jail!” square, you are allowed to turn up a card that reads: “Do not pass Go! Do not collect R200! Go straight to hospital!”

Tribute lunch

A GET-TOGETHER lunch of rugby people is planned for next month as a tribute to Frans de Beer, chairman of Duikers Rugby Club.

The lunch will be at Riverside Sports Club (formerly Glenwood Old Boys), in Durban North, on Friday, June 8, the day before the first Test against England.

Frans is a fellow who has given a huge slice of his life to rugby. He played for Glenwood Old Boys for many years; then he coached them and went on to coach Natal and become a provincial selector. He also at various stages coached Maritzburg Collegians, Maritzburg University, Cedara and the Duikers themselves.

Duikers is a Corinthian club (modelled on the English Barbarians), dedicated to promoting the game in KwaZulu-Natal.

MC at the lunch will be Dick Muir, the former Natal and Springbok centre who Frans discovered for the Duikers while he was playing for Cedara. He was given a run with the Duikers – the Natal under-23 side – and has never looked back.

Frans is a great raconteur, possessed of a phenomenal memory. If he gets going on rugby anecdotes, lunch could last until midnight.

Anyone with an interest in rugby is invited, including wives and girlfriends. Entrance will be R100, payable at the door. There are no bookings.


I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

Last word

Stuffed deer heads on walls are bad enough, but it’s worse when they are wearing dark glasses and have streamers in their antlers because then you know they were enjoying themselves at a party when they were shot. – Ellen DeGeneres