ARTS / Cries & Whispers

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The Independent Culture
I CAN'T decide whether it's a sign of the rock magazine Q going upmarket or of classical music on the way down, but my local CD store is selling a heavily branded Q sampler disc . . . and what does it contain but a 20th-century music equivalent of Your Hundred Best Tunes. (Well, seven actually.) Things like Samuel Barber's Adagio, a snippet from Britten's Peter Grimes, alongside (you'll have guessed it) laid- back bits of Philip Glass, Steve Reich and our own mystic minimalist John Tavener. The times, as one of Q's more likely musical heroes would have said, they are a-changing.

DID YOU see Did You See? Well, not recently, anyway. The BBC's excellent television review show disappeared from our screens a year ago; the scary thing is that no one seems to know what has happened to it. The Case of the Missing Programme taxed the deductive powers of even Sherlock Hughes. My investigation was not helped by the BBC Press Office, where they could only assure me that the programme would not be returning under the Features Department's banner 'in the foreseeable future'. It's hard to know what to make of that, but if the show does not come back under any other umbrella, it would be a crying shame. Neither Ludovic Kennedy nor Jeremy Paxman was perfect in the presenter's chair, but at least Did You See? was a welcome example of BBC self-examination. The odd navel-gaze on The Late Show scarcely satisfies; and Biteback, the only other equivalent, might as well be re-named Barkback for all the bite it shows. - MY PICTURES this week illustrate a fine- looking foursome - who, as you will have noticed, have something in common. Could it really be that TV's Chris Evans, Craig and Charlie Reid of the Proclaimers, and this paper's former rock critic (now comedy supremo), Ben Thompson, are all in fact one and the same? Be honest, have you ever seen them together? (Well, the Proclaimers obviously - but as for the others . . .) As my colleague David Cavanagh relates in his review of the Proclaimers' Hit the Highway (see page 26), the Reid brothers have been oddly quiet over the last six years - eerily corresponding with the rise to prominence of the high- earning Evans and Thompson. Curiouser still, in his three years as our rock critic, Thompson never reviewed a Proclaimers gig. I rest my case.