Sport Pitch perfect: Cliff Morgan was a rugby legend as player and commentator

Cliff Morgan, who died last week, will live long in the memory for his eloquence and principles

Music: This is more like it, Royal Opera!

Of all the great relationships that never happened, few are so fascinating as a near-miss in the 1930s between two men who respectively became the leading English poet and composer of their time. The poet was Auden, who did all the running. The composer was Britten, who held back. And the evidence of what was going on survives in Auden's "Lay your sleeping head my love", which he scribbled down for Britten at a teatime assignation in a Lyons Corner House. Such was romance in pre-war London. Innocent but keen.

Beckett defends `blind trust'

Margaret Beckett last night said she would keep a "blind trust" unless Sir Patrick Neill, the watchdog on standards, rules against the practice in his review on party funding.

Preview: look was there then

You probably won't stand a chance of blagging a ticket for tonight's Earl's Court extravaganza but if you need a fix of Oasis, head for north London where you can view the boys Gallagher almost in the flesh. Noel Gallagher is rumoured to have come up with the title for Jill Furmanovsky's photographic tribute to Oasis, for which she was allowed unprecedented access backstage. The Was There Then exhibition features more than 200 shots of the band live in concert, in the studio and in private. In response to fans' insatiable desire for still more background to the band's activities, Furmanovsky has used the most up-to-date technology to produce images that are the closest you'll ever get to the band in real life. Be here now.

Police zero in on Oasis touts

A "zero tolerance zone" will be set up to trap ticket touts who try to target fans at three Oasis concerts, police warned yesterday. Sergeant Dick Sutton, who is leading policing of the concerts on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Earls Court in London, said he wanted to deter fans from turning up in the hope of buying black market tickets.

PEDANTRY

If you look in the index of Eric Partridge's Usage and Abusage, you will find nothing between "apology" and "applicable". Similarly, the third edition of Fowler's The King's English has no entry between "anyway" and "appendicitis"; and Robert Clairborne's The Life and Times of the English Language leaps from "anvil" to "apple". What is wrong with the apostrophe that all these worthy men choose to ignore it?

The Verve: Glasgow Barrowlands

Live Reviews

POP: Celine Dion; Earl's Court, Lonon

When the official programmes stall doubles as a binocular sales point, you know you've come to see a megastar. The fact that Celine (like Madonna, like Mariah, she's now big enough to be referred to solely by her first name) can sell out two nights at Earl's Court at pounds 30 a ticket is an even more obvious status-indicator.

Poetry: Mark Doty - Poetry Society, London

The 43-year-old gay man thought by many to be the best poet to have emerged from America in the past 20 years is gingerly easing his long frame down into the Poetry Society's great, steeple-backed Bardic Chair, the one that almost got left behind when the society moved from Earls Court to Covent Garden a few years ago. Easy does it now, the movement seems to be saying, watch that dodgy back, Mark Doty!

The Princess, the snapper and the man in the street

Diana, Princess of Wales, last night issued a plea for privacy as a row brewed over her role in a street scuffle between a paparazzo photographer and a passer-by described as a "hotel tout".

Vicar ready for prison over Blake

A Church of England priest last night said he was ready to go to prison over his role in the prison escape of double agent George Blake. The Rev John Papworth's defiant stand came as police prepared to probe his role in Blake's flight to freedom more than 30 years ago.

First thing: The way they start their day: 17. Keith Waterhouse Writer, Earls Court and Bath

I split my time between Earls Court and Bath, so the first thing I have to do when I wake is establish where I am. That sometimes takes quite a long time, as the aspect from my bedroom window in either place is much the same. I then have to determine who I am: on Wednesdays and Sundays I'm a columnist, and on other days I'm a novelist, or journalist, or dramatist, depending on what I have on the go at the time.

Smith may lead British Whitbread challenge

Sailing

Tube breakdown highlights need for new funds

The total failure of the London Tube system on Wednesday night, the second such collapse this year, was an unlucky technical failure rather than a result of under-investment, London Regional Transport managers said yesterday.

Ford in the spotlight

Gavin Green visits the British Motor Show

From a grandfather's gift to high tech wizardry

Brigid McConville looks at the latest crop of pre-school products at Nursery World
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