Arts and Entertainment Trailblazers: The Spice Girls in 1997

The Eurythmics star told the girls to 'ham up' their individual personalities

THE Arts: TOURIST

It may have been the shortest world tour in pop history. It had a beginning in a Polish forest, an end in New York - but no middle. In a candid interview, Annie Lennox, solo star, explains why the show must not go on

90s stars: still taking to the couch

Even in the cynical, postmodern 1990s, tortured-artist syndrome has lost none of its appeal. We know Tchaikovsky, Nietzsche and Van Gogh were all pretty mad, but even today the stories of, say, Daniel Day-Lewis's spells in psychiatric care only add to his sex appeal. It's a comforting idea in two ways: you can either think smugly, "Well, they're famous, but they're not happy!"; or, if you're feeling a bit depressed, you can say "Hey! I must be an artist!"

METRO CHOICE: Together in elastic dreams

Why are Elastica the pop sensation of the moment? Is it because lead singer Justine Frischmann used to go out with Brett from Suede, and teases him on her new album for "writing rhymes that didn't scan"? Is it because Justine and her current boyfriend Damon from Blur are the irritatingly gorgeous Queen and Prince Philip of the charts? Is it because their debut pressing, Elastica, has stopped the increasingly ridiculous Annie Lennox from hitting the number one spot? Naturally, it's all these things, combined with the fact that their record is the most seductive, jump-around-like- an-idiot racket this year. They may have had lawsuits from Wire and the Stranglers for, let's be frank, copying their songs, but at least Elastica have taste. And Justine doubtless has the pop maxim "Don't bore us, get to the chorus" tattooed on her divine being somewhere under those leathers. So sell your proverbial maiden aunt for tickets to Thursday's Shepherd's Bush Empire gig. If she won't fetch eight quid, though, you can catch the godlike Frischmann and her mates on tomorrow night's The White Room (10pm C4), because Fate is bounteous.

Soul meets the abstract space

Annie Lennox's new album is a set of covers. Here she introduces them; below, Tim de Lisle reviews them

POLEMIC: All Birtspeak and no action

Journalistic reform needs more than strong words, argues David Vigar

LIVES OF THE GREAT SONGS / Ev'ry which way but loose: Ev'ry time we say goodbye: In the latest excerpt from our history of the hits, Giles Smith presents a guided tour of an urbane wasteland

COLE PORTER, ingenious and effusive as a lyricist, was often restrained to the point of austerity as a composer. His attitude seems to have been: why use two notes where one will do? Think of 'Night and Day', with its introductory verse entirely on a single note and the little strings of repeated notes the melody keeps returning to. Or think of 'Miss Otis Regrets' and the long run on the same note in its opening line ('Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today').

ROCK / One for the album: Gered Mankowitz shot the Stones in the Sixties and is still in demand with the new wave of British pop. Jane Richards surveys his work

They don't take them like this any more. Pop photographs change with the times and Gered Mankowitz's soft-focus photograph of The Rolling Stones is firmly grounded in the Sixties while the glitzy colour portrait of Annie Lennox draped in fairy lights is unmistakably early 1980s. As a record of ground-breaking pop photography and good old-fashioned nostalgia, Mankowitz's new exhibition, Entertainers, is unbeatable. He seems to have snapped them all. Surprising, then, to hear that the Beatles passed him by. But then, 'there were two camps,' says Mankowitz, 'the Beatles / Epsteins and the Stones / Oldhams. And I knew where I wanted to be.'

BOOK REVIEW / Girls who rock that role: She's a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock and Roll - Gillian G Gaar: Blandford, pounds 14.99

IN THE past couple of years the music press has revived an old story. At last, it runs, with the emergence of Suzanne Vega, k d lang, Sinead O'Connor, Michelle Shocked and Tracy Chapman, women are taking their rightful place in rock 'n' roll. The truth is that women have been there all along.

Old faces take centre stage at pop awards

BEWARE inviting an alternative comedian to present a prize at a televised awards ceremony.

TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Motorway madness

Organisers being spied upon by private detectives, their phones tapped and their protests broken up by hired muscle - it could be the miners' strike of 1984 rather than a campaign to save a beautiful patch of solidly Conservative Hampshire. DISPATCHES (9pm C4) details the alleged dirty tricks resorted to by the Department of Transport in its determination to bulldoze the M3 motorway through Twyford Down. Hampshire Police have apparently supplied the DoT with the names of law-abiding Twyford supporters, helping the department in its civil action against the protesters, while the private security firm hired by the Government was as good as encouraged - by the DoT's hands-off attitude - to use force in breaking up peaceful on- site protests ('You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs,' says local MP Chris Chope). Meanwhile an unlikely alliance has grown up between conservationists, Nimbys and a New Age tribe called the Dongas.

Letter: Annie could give Sinead a few career tips

I AGREE with Annie Lennox when she wrote (Letters, 6 December) that Sinead O'Connor is uniquely talented, and I was sad to read that she felt my tongue-in- cheek gesture during the Brits was puerile and embarrassing. Playing Whitney Houston's version of 'The Star Spangled Banner' as a tribute was a mildly witty way of expressing displeasure at Sinead's lack of professionalism in cancelling an appearance (and performance) at the last moment.
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