News Brian Sewell, art critic

The revelation by Brian Sewell, the London Evening Standard's eminent art critic, that he had an affair in 1963 with the strenuously heterosexual Tatler editor Mark Boxer sent shockwaves around the art and journalistic worlds.

V&A wins approval for spiral annexe

A FUTURISTIC design for an extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which has been variously described as a potential "icon like the Eiffel Tower or the Guggenheim in Bilbao" and a "spiral of crumpled boxes" was granted planning permission last night.

Irritations of Modern Life: 16; Fax Machines

EDWARD LEAR could have done justice to the foul and beastly fax, its slippery paper, smudged print and insistent intrusiveness, with five lines: "There was an old man with an axe..."

PIECES FROM A CONFESSIONAL

Doris Lockhart Saatchi, the former wife of Charles Saatchi, is famously private. But her choice of favourite paintings, says Charles Darwent, is unexpectedly revealing

Leading article: Class distinction

ACCORDING to a poll carried out by ICM for that hotbed of middle- class values, Radio 4's Today programme, 55 per cent of us still think we are working-class. Can it really be? Or are we all just confused? Brian Sewell, who must have spent years placing that plum so strategically in his mouth, says he is himself working-class. So does Tony Benn, the former Viscount Stansgate. On the other hand John Prescott, as obvious a pie- and-chips man as you are ever likely to meet, insists he is middle-class. Since the poll was conducted by telephone, one of the most alarming findings is that one per cent of us claim to be upper-class. As Alan Clark might have said, a man who answers his own telephone can scarcely claim to be one of the upper crust.

Flags will fly at half-mast for Diana

BRITAIN IS preparing once again to mourn Diana, Princess of Wales. The nation will mark the first anniversary of her death on August 31 with prayers, floral tributes and television specials.

You ask the questions: Brian Sewell

(Such as: are you a snob, and does it worry you that you're completely out of touch with contemporary culture?)

Roll up, roll up: a $100 bill by Damien Hirst. Yours for pounds 1,000

DAMIEN HIRST rides again. The arch-blagger, Soho lad-celebrity, polymath and(lest we forget) artist, is to design a cover for a book, a limited edition re-issue of the Seventies cocaine trade potboiler Snowblind by Robert Sabbag.

WHAT THE PAPERS SAID

WILLIAM HARTSTON REVIEWS THE WEEK'S PRESS

When critics become entertainers

Have we reached the point where we find critics more interesting than their subject?

Visual Arts: In the shadow of big brother

Gwen John was born in 1876, two years after her famous sibling, Augustus, whose path to the Slade School of Art she followed in 1895. During her lifetime, Gwen was always in the shadow of her brother, but, in more recent years, she has emerged as an equal talent, championed by those who look for heroines of women's art and pilloried by those who take the other course. In particular, she is a bugbear of Brian Sewell who has memorably, if unfairly, described her as "the archetypal silly woman, an hysteric in the classical sense... obsessed with cats, religion and pinching her nipples."

Sport on TV: Why Will's world was not so ideal for Holmes

LIFE cannot be easy when you are Eamonn Holmes. He has made his name - such as it is - on the tackiest breakfast telly station going, where he does his best to dominate not just the guests, but also his co- presenters. And yet, when the calls come through for someone to graduate to better (or more remunerative) assignments, it always seems to be Holmes's sofa companions who move on.

Visual Arts: Now you see them - soon you probably won't

With Prince Charles and Brian Sewell as guest curators, The Mall Galleries can hardly have been aiming for another `Sensation'. And no, there isn't a YBA in sight. Nor, Andrew Lambirth regrets, much else to tease `The Discerning Eye'.

Visual Arts: Objective vision

`The Discerning Eye' presents small-scale works which make ideal Christmas presents. But, in the past, there has been a minor problem with quality control

Visual Arts: Time to put a little gloss on the presentation

The recipient of the 1997 Jerwood Prize was announced last night. And the winner is... Gary Hume, card-carrying YBA and former Turner Prize nominee. So, asks Andrew Lambirth, has the last bastion of traditional British painting finally surrendered to the all-conquering Saatchi tendency?

Only one woman can save Round Britain Quiz now; RADIO

It was years before Irene Thomas was invited on to Round Britain Quiz (R4). In the Sixties, she won Brain of Britain - she won Brain of Brains; her stock of knowledge was as vast and as varied as her ego was insignificant, the which two facts had endeared her to thousands of listeners. Yet it was only when a member of the (all-male) RBQ team fell ill just before a recording that she was summoned to take part. As they left the studio, the men peeled off into an (all-male) club and left her to go home on the bus, her job finished.
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