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This week Waterstone's and Virgin announced an exclusive deal with publishers Pimlico to re-publish a one-volume edition of John Lennon's Goonish Sixties books In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works. It was these two collections of surreal stories, poems and drawings that established Lennon's reputation as the literary Beatle. Reading through the republished edition, Lennon's analysis of Harold Wilson's victory in 1964 seems as fresh as ever. "Azue orl gnome, Harassed Wilsod won the General Erection, with a very small marjorie over the Torchies. Thus pudding the Laboring Partly back into powell after a large abcess. This he could not have done withoutspan the barking of thee Trade Onions... Sir Alice Doubtless Whom was quote `bitherly disappointed' but managed to keep smirking on his 500,000 acre estate in Scotland..." Let's hope that Tony Blair has a chronicler among the Britpop bands to rival that. But it's pretty doubtful. Even among the wide range of political satirists and TV comedy programmes few, if any, are as inclined as Lennon was to play language games. It's a slice of humour that has sadly disappeared.

There is a startling new array of definitions in the upcoming edition of the Collins Dictionary. Totty has changed from being a Scottish word for tiny to "British informal: women collectively considered as sexual objects". Music seems to have spawned a disproportionate amount of changes to the English language. Jarvis Cocker's song about Es and Whizz must claim some of the credit for the definition of whizz, formerly just a loud humming or a skilful person, now officially recognised as a slang word for amphetamine. Wallpaper, formerly, well, wallpaper, is now "something pleasant but bland serving as unobtrusive background eg guitar rock wallpaper". And handbag is now "a commercial style of house music [from an allusion to women dancing round their handbags in discos]". So if you hear someone remarking on the totty dancing to the wallpaper as if it were handbag, they've either swallowed too many whizz or the dictionary.

One Lottery application that I wish every success is that being planned by West End producer Duncan Weldon, whose out-of-town activity also sees him as director of the Chichester Festival Theatre. Mr Weldon wants a new pounds 7m theatre at the Chichester complex to add to the two theatres already there. The addition of a third theatre would change Chichester from a summer festival venue to an all-year-round producing venue. A new 800- seater theatre would help Chichester attract West End and Broadway transfers. At present too few touring shows are suited to the main house, which has a thrust stage. I foresee a problem as the new theatre would need a fly tower, which might obscure views of Chichester Cathedral; but it should not be an insurmountable design problem. And expanding this south-coast complex - once the summer venue for Olivier's National theatre - so that it is once more a key theatrical venue would be lottery money well spent.

The Hollywood star Jessica Lange brought a touch of California to the opening of A Streetcar Named Desire in which she starred as Blanche Dubois this week, but in an unexpected location. The ushers at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, guided us in announcing: "Stalls downstairs, bathrooms are to your right." I'm all for doing everything possible to make American tourists welcome in theatreland. I would defend allowing their film stars to play lead roles on the West End stage. But there are limits. Leave us our lavatories.

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