Voices

It must be incalculably bizarre to have two such men as possible fathers

Of gusts and shadows

Buffeted and battered by one wind tunnel too many

HOWWE MET ANTONIA DE SANCHA AND MAX CLIFFORD

I told her: `Now the media are going to work for you. You're going to control the game rather than being the victim of it'

Glossary: When apologies are in order

WE HAVE had two important, perhaps even historical, apologies in the past week. First, the Protestant paramilitaries declared a ceasefire, expressing 'abject and true remorse' to the 'loved ones of all innocent victims'. Then, through the modern confessional of a Sunday newspaper, the Prince of Wales offered his own Apologia pro vita sua. They were rather different in tone, but both events were instructive about the political strategies of regret.

'My Way' too morbid for patients

IT IS one of the most bizarre record bans ever ordered. The lyric 'Now the end is near/and so I face the final curtain' was deemed too morbid for hospital airwaves. And so it was that My Way, the undisputed anthem to Frank Sinatra's success, was struck from the Dudley hospital radio playlist.

The Broader Picture: All singing, all dancing, all girls

THE Takarazuka company's newly opened show at the London Coliseum begins with a long and indigestible sequence of pseudo-traditional Japanese scenes - a Mikado without the story or the jokes. But the revue really takes off in Part Two, with 'This Side of the Door', an adaptation of an O Henry story set in America before the war. The girls of Takarazuka only come into their own when they put on dinner jackets and bow-ties and patent leather shoes, when they sport quiffs and sharp little sideburns and strut and pose with their melting, hyper-feminine partners.

BOOK REVIEW / Just time for one late score: 'Art and Lies' - Jeanette Winterson: Jonathan Cape, 14.99

JEANETTE Winterson takes as her structural model for this book the trio from Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, reprinting the score at the end as if it were closing titles music. She has three main characters: Handel, a celibate priest and cancer specialist who performs mastectomies; Picasso, an artist and victim of repeated fraternal rape, who is now rejecting her family; and Sappho, who is, Winterson argues, as truly Sappho in this fantastical representation as in any other writing about her. The three have separate voices, but intertwining themes; and though there is little plot, they do all finally meet on a train.

Tory MPs scent decay as Labour prepares hitlist

JOHN MAJOR toured the tea room at the House of Commons last night after Prime Minister's question time to reassure his troops that recovery was on the way.

US owner for Arena

London Arena, the Docklands entertainment venue which went into receivership three years ago, is about to be bought by the company which runs the world's biggest American football stadium.

Top diplomat was 'courtesan of the century'

The wife of the British ambassador in Paris was adamant, 'I will not have that tart in this embassy.' And so, despite her utmost striving, Pamela Churchill was not invited to a reception for Queen Elizabeth II to mark the monarch's first official visit to France. But the snub dates back 37 years. In the meantime 'that tart' has come a very long way.

Sinatra: The mild years: To those who've seen him on stage recently, Frank Sinatra's collapse last week wasn't a great surprise. Both memory and footsteps are failing, and despite odd moments of magic, even his fans must wonder why he carries on

'I DON'T know what happened to the songwriters,' he said sorrowfully, for the third or fourth time that evening. 'I don't know where the songs went. But tonight . . . tonight we're going to sing only the good songs.' And he peered out to the edge of the stage, as if searching for a sign.

An old master offers seamless simplicity: The Givenchy collection stands out among the gimmicks in Paris, Alison Veness reports

HIS designs may not be the toast of Paris or launch a thousand imitations, but for Hubert du Givenchy, la mode is an evolution.

RADIO / One for the rodent: Robert Hanks on the dangers of scientific experiment in Of Rats and Men and of artistic freedom in The Rat Pack

In strictly scientific terms, of course, our closest relatives are the apes. But proverbially speaking, we're much nearer to the rats - we smell a rat, we get caught like rats in traps, we join the rat-race, we desert sinking ships like rats. We then get ratty about it. And - the temptation is strong to say 'therefore' - rats have traditionally been the experimental subject of choice for psychologists who want to poke around the human mind without poking around human minds as such.

ROCK / Frank's blind dates

SOMETIMES, two can be a crowd. On Duets (Capitol/EMI, out on Monday), Frank Sinatra's first studio album in more than a decade, the old master's voice gets shoe-horned into some uncomfortable proximities (not to mention the year's most horrible cover). The disc does not start well. Luther Vandross is a great singer, but his professional smoothness and Frank's dry-as-dust phrasing rub each other up the wrong way, and their 'Lady is a Tramp' is all over the place. The next pairing - 'What Now My Love?', with Aretha Franklin - is much more felicitous, and by the time Barbra Streisand glides into earshot for 'I've Got a Crush on You' all concerned seem to be enjoying themselves: 'I have got a crush, my Barbra, on you.' 'Oh, you make me blush, Francis.'

Frank's on line one, are you ready to sing?: When Phil Ramone needed partners to sing Duets with Frank Sinatra, he simply got on the phone. And spared Frank the inconvenience of singing person to person. Giles Smith reports

It probably won't surprise you that not one of the guest vocalists singing warmly with Frank Sinatra on his new album of duets actually met Frank at the time. Ever since Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney sang a hymn to racial togetherness from different sides of the Atlantic it's been appreciated that, if you get tricky with a tape recorder, intimacy on records is easily contrived.

TELEVISION / Snacks for thought: Thomas Sutcliffe gets under the skin of Small Objects of Desire and on the case of Taggart

The skill of the programme-maker lies as much in the resistance of temptation as in wild flights of creativity. Given the task of making a programme about syringes, for example, it is your duty to fight down the urge to include film clips in which well-spoken nurses say, 'I'm just going to give you a little prick'; when it comes to the soundtrack you should struggle against the impulse to use Frank Sinatra singing 'I've got you under my skin'. The fact that both these things turned up inside 10 seconds on last night's Small Objects of Desire (BBC 2) suggested we should not expect too much in the way of self-denial from its makers.
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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album