Arts and Entertainment On unfamiliar turf: ‘Network’ by Tom Price

He talks to Hannah Duguid about how his life has informed his art

Loft property

By Stella Bingham

On the second hand... Watches

A watch tells you a lot about the person who wears it; it is a fashion accessory. People are now realising that this century's mechanical watches are highly collectable and stylish. The movements are beautifully engineered, sophisticated pieces of equipment often made in small numbers. The outer case represents the time in which it was manufactured: elegant in the Forties, functional in the Fifties, spot-on in the Sixties and chunky in the Seventies. Rolex, Omega, Heuer, Jaeger, Vacheron, Patek Philippe: it has to be Swiss made.

Fumes hazard for families

Camden Council, north London, was fined pounds 44,000 after tenants were put at risk from poisonous fumes. It was prosecuted after gas flues to up to 200 fires in living rooms of flats were disconnected by workmen and gas installations were not inspected.

Ready to wear: Wedding bella

If you ever get invited to an Italian wedding, do go. They are an excellent source of entertainment, because (as with all nationalities, I guess) there is always one cousin who has gone all-out with the totally ostentatious dress or suit. There is another great tradition in Italy, giving bomboniere to mark a wedding, a landmark birthday, first communion or christening. These are sugared almonds wrapped in veils attached to a little "present" - a dust- gathering ornament or small silver picture frame for example, which although diminutive in size, costs a lot. Bomboniere are a huge industry and special cabinets are constructed to hold these hideous little things (you can't throw them away in case the person who gave them to you comes to visit) and the choosing of a bomboniera better than anyone else's, is almost as important as the choice of bridal gown. But at an Italian wedding, everybody always has a good time, the food is superb (no mandarins in syrup) and the vino flows. By the end of the day, through the rosy glow of red wine, even cousin Maria's hideous dress looks good. Thank you to Elena and Vincenzo, who allowed our photographer to take pictures at their wedding, where, sadly for us, there were no fashion disasters.

Music: A celebration of the English spirit

Music history is littered with great composers who dedicated large parts of their lives to opera, largely in vain. Schubert and Haydn are obvious examples, unless you thrill to the experience of overlong, unstageable scores. Another is Vaughan Williams, whose five operas never made it into repertory and seem to have been bypassed in the sudden, New Age scramble to rediscover the affirmative Englishry of his orchestral works. According to the textbooks he had no dramatic muscle, which isn't true. He just had no real chance to flex it. English opera wasn't a serious proposition until 1945, when Britten turned the tide of opinion with Peter Grimes; even a name like Vaughan Williams had to be content to see his operas given student premieres - a start in life that marked them, damningly, ever after as Suitable For Amateurs. That, certainly, was the case with Sir John in Love, Vaughan Williams's affectionate adaptation of The Merry Wives of Windsor. It had its first performance in 1929 at the Royal College of Music, and hadn't been seen or heard for nearly 30 years. Until last weekend, that is, when the British Youth Opera gave it a revelatory exhumation at St John's Smith Square - proving that if the piece doesn't quite hit the target, it's a tantalising near-miss.

Music: Return of the prowling benchmark baritone

When I was at school I remember hearing a live broadcast of Carmina Burana from the Proms; and though I barely knew the music, I knew enough to realise that the sudden disappearance of the baritone soloist, followed by a loud crash, wasn't in the score. The soloist had fainted; the performance was stopped (with an appeal to any off-duty baritones in the audience to step forward); and it marked my introduction - inauspicious but memorable - to the art of Thomas Allen, who thereafter became a fixture in my listening life. The compleat baritone with altitude (sic), he had the versatility, vocal compass and dramatic gifts to command a wide range of work; therefore many of my first encounters with vocal repertory were through him. In opera, oratorio and song, his rich-toned musical intelligence set benchmarks, as it seemed to me. No doubt it was the same for anyone discovering opera in the Seventies who was lucky enough to catch the run of Mozart baritones - Papageno, Figaro, Don Giovanni - that he sang at Glyndebourne, or the Billy Budds he sang everywhere else, not least at Covent Garden.

Lofty thoughts

The children have fled the nest and the mortgage is all paid up. For those couples thinking of retirement, a new life in new surroundings beckons. This penthouse in Clerkenwell, east London, which has been converted from an industrial building, proves that city high-life is still a possibility. By Alexandra Campbell. Photographs by Peter Cook

Getting a buzz minutes from work

Moving in: the attractions of inner-city dwelling.

Not bad for starters

Restaurants: Chef Jean-Christophe brings Nouvelli cuisine to Clerkenwel l

Property: Conversions of grandeur

Clerkenwell is set to become the hippest place to live in London and New River Head one of the most unusual. Hester Lacey discovers a revolution in city living

Urbina rides Mons in Saturday's Leger

Oscar Urbina will ride Mons in Saturday's St Leger at Doncaster. Mons leapt to the forefront of the Leger betting last month after finishing a half- length second to Dushyantor in York's Great Voltigeur Stakes. He was ridden then by Frankie Dettori, who will be on Shantou in Saturday's pounds 225,000 contest.

Swinburn secures Leger ride

Walter Swinburn was yesterday given the chance to return to the Classic arena when he was booked by Michael Stoute to partner the Ebor winner, Clerkenwell, in the St Leger.

Racing: Dushyantor is Leger favourite

The home straight in the 1996 Flat season came into view yesterday with entries announced for many of the biggest races of the autumn months. Chief among those tests is the St Leger, the prize-money for which could decide the destination of the trainers' championship.

Clerkenwell puts Lynch on map

YORK EBOR MEETING: A cool success for a young Irish jockey puts his mentor in the shade as Dettori picks up another ban

Expection of Snow

YORK EBOR MEETING: The opening day brings an opportunity for a hardy turf campaigner to establish a popular front
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