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The Independent Culture
The geometry of desire

Do you want the power to win? Do you want to be able to shimmy along to Snap's apocalyptic house classic, "The Power", moaning sensuously "I've got the power", without your friends slapping you to the rug for your laughable hubris? Do you, in other words, after having turned yourself into a rheumy, sugared bloater with too much Christmas tuck, want to reinvent yourself in the New Year as a Nietzschean bermensch, or berfrau? Do you want, like this man (left), to be able to leer seductively out of strange metallic triangles? Then you need The Power To Win (Clear Vision Video, pounds 10.99, out now), in which that very man, Phil Campbell, shows you how. Phil used to be a Royal Navy Field Gunner and was a finalist in the 1994 series of Gladiators. Now he trains the contenders. Thrill at the winning secrets Phil imparts, grunt along to his customised training programme, and study his strategies. If you're an aspiring Gladiator in the unforgiving arena of postmodern life, you really, really do need this.

The desire for memory

The Mike Flowers Pops (left), small screen thinks, are a world-bettering phenomenon, harking back to the days when pop music was more than just a bunch of lads with bad haircuts screeching tunelessly at pubescent girls. Their magisterial cover of Oasis's "Wonderwall", storming up the charts even as I scratch out these words with my special quill, fashioned from the feathers of a moor-hen, is but one facet of Mr Flowers's kaleidoscopic genius. The other one is his contribution to a forthcoming televisual cult, Memory Man, for which he has composed the theme and incidental music, and in the pilot of which he plays a giant mouse. Memory Man is a comedy- mystery-thriller set in "Mixties" London (a fictitious era, darlings, with bits of the Sixties, Nineties and Twenties thrown together in a chronological melange). It depicts the buffo adventures of James Linklater, who wakes up in hospital with complete memory loss. He uncovers enough of his past to learn that he was a spy, close to unveiling a sinister plot by an underground organisation to take over the world. "They are out to get him, and he can trust no one in a crazy world of go-go girls, fast cars and roll-neck sweaters." Does this not sound magnificent? At the moment, Memory Man exists only as a five-minute pilot episode, which has been funded by cult TV experts Bravo, but Absolutely Productions are currently seeking finance for a full co-production in 1996.

The memory of goats

Ah, what a magical season this is for children, as they gambol prettily under frozen flyovers and attempt to maim each other by hiding rocks in snowballs. Get them inside, though, and sit them in front of The Hill Billy Goats (left, Arena, pounds 8.99, out now), and innocent contentment will shine out of them like a spectacular torch. You can watch it too, because it's based on the classic Billy Goat's Gruff books, and is full of lots of beautifully animated, cuddly goats, in three full-colour tales of unparalleled fluffiness. I want one now.

The goats of comedy

They Think It's All Over, that spiffy sports comedy quiz (absolutely small screen's favourite programme), is attracting serious attention from the BBC's moneypusses, who are offering a three-year contract. Marvellous. Even if the Christmas edition (Thur 28 Dec, 10.20pm BBC2) won't be over- topical, as it was recorded in October.

Compiled by Steven Poole