Arts and Entertainment Nicola Benedetti: 'Barbra Streisand is always a joy to watch'

'Barbra Streisand is always a joy to watch'

A star is born? Bullocks to that

THIS YEAR'S model isn't a model-type at all. Sandra Bullock, star of While You Were Sleeping (PG), and Hollywood flavour of the month ("the new Julia Roberts"), is the most unlikely sex symbol since Barbra Streisand. Bullock's features have a cartoonish exaggeration: generous nose, brimming lips, and a smile so wide it stretches her face into a gargoyle of glee. She is not exactly the girl next door - but an idealised version of her, with sparkling teeth and undentable self-confidence. Even her name sounds unstarry (Anna Mae Bullock wasn't showbiz enough for Tina Turner). But the hype, and $8m a movie, tells us she's a star. Her first leading role may tempt you to say: Bullocks to that.

Leading Article: Hillary in her own write

Yesterday Hillary Clinton's syndicated newspaper column appeared in the London 'Evening Standard'. It has been criticised as too bland. However, we have obtained a copy of the original first draft and reprint it here.

Stars in his eyes

"I love your eyes, your cheeks, your hair/They're in a class beyond compare." Thus sang Barbra Streisand on her winningly entitled Color Me Barbra album and TV special. Yet there is a comparison to be made and it comes in the form of Jim Bailey, an operatic tenor turned international illusionist who takes on the persona of the indulgently manicured showbiz queen herself. Anyone allergic to two-bit, down-at-heel drag need have no worries. Forget lip-synching, Bailey performs live, faithfully reproducing all the trademark physical and vocal mannerisms. He has starred at the Palladium, sung as Streisand by invitation of the lady herself and, in another of his astonishing characterisations, sung as Judy Garland alongside her daughter Liza Minnelli in a recreation of their fabled concert together. He spent time with Garland at her home in LA honing and fine-tuning his act. There are recordings of her onstage in her TV series, but few can remember Judy playing the Talk of the Town, now, alas, more seedily reincarnated as Leicester Square's Hippodrome. If you want to discover what she was like or you couldn't stump up the readies for la Streisand's Wembley dates, grab the phone and book yourself a table at the Cafe Royal. Even hardened cynics have been won over.

Foreman's outrageous fortune

Harry Mullan weighs the heavy penalty suffered by a German champion

Pavarotti tickets reach highest-ever pitch

The Royal Opera House is to charge £267 for a top-price seat when Luciano Pavarotti sings in Un Ballo In Maschera. It is thought to be the highest price ever charged for a non-charity performance in Britain, and is £7 more expensive than the seats at Wembley last year for Barbra Streisand.

I've seen enough of Barbra's inner child, thank you

ON Barbra Streisand's 50th birthday: instead of buying her presents, her friends held a treasure hunt for her inner child. I'm not sure whether the aim was to find the inner child (where was it hiding, how did they know when they'd got it?) or simply give it a good time. I am indebted to a rare interview in Vanity Fair for this information, as well as, indirectly, to analysis and New Agery. If Streisand hadn't spent the past 30 years in therapy, it's hard to imagine what she'd have found to talk about. As it was, she was able to say things like: 'When I regress and go toward people who are unsupportive, that's a throwback to my stepfather.' By the time you've realised that this is utterly mystifying, and may indeed be meaningless, you're on to the next paragraph.

Auction of Streisand collection boosts Christies result

Christies International sold the 20th century decorative arts collection of the singer Barbra Streisand for pounds 4.1m in the first half of 1994, helping the auction house to improve interim pre-tax profits by 15 per cent to pounds 8.1m. Adam and Eve by Tamara de Lempicka, above, fetched a record USdollars 1.98m. Total auction sales rose 19 per cent to pounds 390m, slightly down on the pounds 399m in the second half of 1993.

Look Who's Talking: That soggy cake, and other stories: Jimmy Webb looks back on 'MacArthur Park', and the songs he wrote for Barbra Streisand and himself

AT THE time I was recording 'MacArthur Park', 25 years ago, the Beatles were also in the studio recording the 'White Album'. I sneaked in and sat at the back of the control room. They were laying down 'Honey Pie'. Paul looked as though he was having a good time, sat at the piano with a sweater tied around his neck, and Linda straddled around him; John was sitting on a rug on the other side of the studio, burning incense and candles; George was standing in the middle playing bass guitar; and Ringo was out of sight in a drum booth.

Art revival lifts Christies' fortunes

SALES of art collections of Barbra Streisand and the late Malcolm Forbes helped to push auction sales at Christies International to pounds 781m last year, the auctioneer's best figures since the market's peak in 1990, writes Nigel Cope.

Sexual politics in the land of the Pilgrim Fathers: Zoe Heller in America

I'VE JUST come back from visiting my brother and sister-in-law and their seven-week-old son on Cape Cod. The Cape is a long quirky curl of peninsula that sticks out like a handwriting flourish from the bottom of Massachusetts. My sister-in-law's family has a house - or rather a collection of converted turkey sheds - at the very tip of the peninsula, in the middle of a forest, on the shore of what is known as Horseleech Pond. (This is misleading: there are no horseleeches and the 'pond' is a bit less than a mile wide.)

People: Kim keeps it all in the family

ONE of North Korea's many mysterious figures made a brief appearance in the limelight, thanks to Jimmy Carter's visit. Kim Song Ae, wife of President Kim Il Sung, made what was probably her first appearance on Western television when CNN captured her cruising on the Taedong River with her husband and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.

BOOK REVIEW / A lark with the lads in the smoking seats: If You're Talking to Me Your Career Must be in Trouble - Joe Queenan: Picador, pounds 5.99

ELTON JOHN was once appearing on a television chat show to defend himself against some unpleasant tabloid libel. The trouble is, he said, you look at what they say about you and it's so absolutely unbelievable, so outrageous and made-up; and you wonder who on earth could possibly believe anything so ludicrous. Then you see a little item on the next page about how Elizabeth Taylor slept with a gorilla and you think, God that's amazing, and off you rush to tell your friends.

Boxing: Eubank avoids a Close thing: Harry Mullan spotlights the showbiz style which will thrill fight fans in Belfast

BARRY HEARN, who should know, offers this as the definitive Chris Eubank story: 'I got tickets for us to see Barbra Streisand at Wembley - right at the front, cost a fortune. With five minutes to the start of the show, there's no sign of Chris.

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The stories and pictures I'm too soft-hearted to print

PEOPLE seem amazed that Hello] magazine should buy photos of the Princess of Wales sunbathing topless, for the sole purpose of not printing the offending pictures, and making sure nobody else does either. But there is nothing amazing about it at all. The press world is constantly doing good works like this which never get talked about. The amount of stuff that is hushed up by journalists and editors to protect people's feelings would amaze you. I am not just talking about the Tory Party here, though goodness knows the press has leant over backwards not to investigate the dirtier corners of what our decrepit government is up to. In Richard Ingrams's great phrase, they have suffered enough.
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