ALBUMS : POP MUSIC : Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness Hut HUT-DMC 30

'It's Corgan's claim on greatness, the expression of an ego at extreme odds with its nerdy physical presence'


REAL LIVES The man who sang, 'Ain't you heard of the starving millions? Ain't you heard of contraception?' now has two sons, but his dry wit remains as sharp as ever

Blur roll over rivals to hit the No 1 spot


Obscure origins of a thirtysomething crush

AS MIDDLE AGE approaches (I was 34 last week, at last, and promise this will never be mentioned again), I am in the grip of two different cultural obsessions. The first is the obvious one: that all of a sudden, however much I struggle to understand, I don't have a clue about teenage style, let alone the pre-teen variety that my five-year-old is so confident about.


Mile End Stadium, London

CAPTAIN MOONLIGHT : All these wigs look the same to me, Your Honour

WHAT on earth, you will be asking, is going on here? Why has the Captain got 12 photographs of people in wigs across the top of the page? Is this his counter to Page 3 girls? Settle back, and I'll tell you. Last week, His Honour Judge Morrison was trying the case, at Derby, of a young Asian man accused of robbery. After viewing photographs of a dozen Asians, he told the jury: "I have in front of me photographs of 12 Asian men, all of whom look exactly the same, which I'm sure you appreciate." His Honour failed to see what the subsequent fuss was about, saying that he had merely in tended to indicate that the appearance of the people in the photographs was similar. Quite. The Captain appreciates the problem. That is why there are pictures of 12 judges across the top of the page. Well, can you tell them apart? I can tell you that there are two Etonians, one Wykehamist and nine Oxbridgers up there. I was also going to have one of my jolly comps, offering bubbly for correct identification, but I was worried that lawyers might enter, and they live on the stuff as it is. So I have decided to limit the entry to His Honour Judge Morrison. Captain's clue: One of them is an Asian and a woman judge, Judge. (Yes, the only one, since you ask.)

Tired of London? Far from it: Taylor Parkes wonders what's got into a lot of young boys' heads

Right now, nothing is more fashionable in pop than the cockney accent, the dandy flourish; the whole devalued currency of London pop. Perhaps as a reaction to all-American grunge more and more young groups are adopting a nostalgic vision recycling the precious sepia-tinted imagery of The Kinks and Madness.

Fame is the blur: They're London-er than thou even though they're mostly from Colchester and they're hot as can be. Teen dreams. Interview by Emma Forrest

My interview in the park with chart topping new lad popsters, Blur, has degenerated into a gymnastics competition, initiated by singer Damon Albarn doing a messy backwards roll. Bassist, Alex James, does a cartwheel and I do two.

ROCK / Two hours before a master

THE POSTCARD handed to each arriving punter at the Palladium said wistfully of Richard Thompson: 'When will the world wise up to this remarkable man?' Just as soon as there is an international swing towards brutal domestic barnies sung plaintively over medieval folk melodies, presumably.

ROCK / Blurry shades of Sgt Pepper

AT ABOUT seven o'clock this evening, if the midweek sales pointers are correct, Blur's third album Parklife will enter the chart at No 1, outselling Pink Floyd's The Division Bell by a country mile. It will have been a long time since the top spot has been attained by a record of such wit, intelligence and fun.
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