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Indy Lifestyle Online
Once the May ratings sweeps are over, the puny television networks are generally sensible enough to make way for the big-screen brutes; as such, the summer TV lineup is traditionally a wasteland of re-runs. During the fall and spring seasons, freshly minted episodes of ER, Seinfeld and the like are loudly and repeatedly billed as "ALL-NEW!". In the summer, the tag line is revised to: "If you haven't seen it, it's new to you!" Recognising the average American couch potato's predicament, Entertainment Weekly recently compiled a helpful list of "25 Ways to Beat Re-run Hell", which recommends everything from cooking shows to wrestling tournaments. Oh, and something called Prime Minister's Question Time, which airs on the political cable network C-Span.

Watching it, says Entertainment Weekly, is like being "witness to another family's squabbling - a big, self-important, arch British family at that". The magazine goes on to offer a mouth-watering description: "(a) nearly 300-year-old parliamentary ritual in which adversarial MPs and the PM (currently Tony Blair) turn the House of Commons into a rhetorical snake pit ... the verbal parrying in Prime Minister's Question Time is rancorous and snarky to the max, invariably inciting a most un- British cacaphony of moans and harrumphs." The BBC should feel free to borrow a pull-quote or two.

If the Prodigy's Liam Howlett is worried about overtaking Oasis, it's a bit too late for that - in America at least. Already bigger than the Gallaghers, the Prodigy are currently on the covers of both leading music magazines, Rolling Stone and Spin; it's a state of affairs that's intensified the rivalry between the two publications. A Spin editor, speaking to the New York Observer, called the Rolling Stone cover - apparently a last-minute decision - "a reaction to Spin"; Rolling Stone retorted that making decisions based on what Spin does "would be folly". Rolling Stone has fallen foul of Howlett & Co for its cover photo, a year-old solo shot of Keith Flint; the band had insisted that they would only do a cover if all four members were featured. These days, a Rolling Stone top billing can be more annoying than prestigious for some. A couple of years ago, the magazine ran an Alanis Morissette cover against her wishes; last year Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, who declined the magazine an interview, found himself on the cover with a less-than-flattering story inside.

It was a strange night for many New Yorkers last Thursday when hundreds of thousands of people, mostly from out of town, streamed into Central Park for a free Garth Brooks concert. You may not be aware - certainly not many New Yorkers are - that Brooks, the slightly tubby country singer with a frightening fondness for tight pants, is the best- selling solo artist in history (more than 60 million albums sold, which puts him second only to the Beatles). Thursday's estimated turnout ranged from a quarter to three-quarters of a million. The city was back to normal by Friday, though - still without a country-music radio station, and not a 10- gallon hat in sight.

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