News Chris Hadfield has agreed to take on the role of cultural ambassador for Ireland

Chris Hadfield, the singing astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station, has taken on a role as cultural ambassador for Ireland.


THE winners of the Womad Competition were J Gethin of Clyne, F Meehan of Chorlton-cum-Hardy and R Gracey of Spalding. It was Youssou N'Dour who duetted with Peter Gabriel on 'Shaking the Tree'. The winners receive tickets for this week's Cornish Womad.

Tool Box: Cutting back on Millionaire's Row

A HINT of discord has crept into the usually peaceful atmosphere at Tool Box Towers. Stuart Gilham, the professional who does so much to keep our garden looking good, is not a great admirer of the latest Gardena Accu 4 edging shears. What he describes as a Millionaire's Row gadget, rather than a serious gardener's tool, has a compact, built-in battery pack that gives about 45 minutes' cutting time after taking 14 hours to charge.

RECORDS / New Release: Donald Fagen: Kamakiriad (Reprise, LP / tape / CD)

The Nightfly dealt with the past (Fagen's Fifties adolescence) and yet still sounds contemporary 11 years later. That's the trick of a true artist, and its long-awaited successor suggests he has pulled it off again, from the opposite perspective. Fagen swivels round and looks into the near future, tracing a journey through a millennial world of good intentions - hi-tech and eco-consciousness - undermined by human frailty, a Ballardian landscape that suits him perfectly. Considering his reputation for preppy cynicism and clever-dickishness, there's a touching wonder in his voice. The music is a practically flawless concoction of smooth grooves, nifty guitar figures, impossibly fluid bass-playing, irresistible drumming, varied keyboard textures, and subtle horn arrangements, carefully tended by the producer, Walter Becker, his former Steely Dan partner. At its languid, lucid best, the album recalls the sacred first side of Aja; compliments come no higher.
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