Arts and Entertainment

Press "Play" and stand well back: RR+P's 1981 debut is still strong stuff, with a level of energy and experiment that shames today's boho fringe.

Britain Votes: Blair sleeps easy but wakes to learn a hard lesson

TONY BLAIR retired to bed at 10.30pm on Thursday night, confident enough not to wait up for the first results in the local authority and Scottish Parliament elections. In contrast, an anxious William Hague chaired a meeting of his closest aides at 2am at Conservative Central Office.

Parliament: The Sketch: House enjoys rare breather from war

ALUN MICHAEL, taking what he must fervently hope were his last questions as Secretary of State for Wales, protested at one point about the "noise from the rabble opposite".

Obituary: Roger Troutman

ZAPP WAS one of a myriad acts who took up the funk of James Brown and George Clinton and turned it into the sophisticated R&B which dominated US urban radio stations in the Eighties. Zapp's lead singer and instrumentalist Roger Troutman was found shot dead on Sunday, apparently by his older brother Larry, who subsequently committed suicide.

Voting for Britain: Opinion poll blow alarms SNP

THE SCOTTISH National Party was in a state of shock yesterday after an opinion poll showed public support plummeting. Black propaganda, a hostile press and the war in Kosovo were all blamed by anxious party officials but the deeper suspicion is that many Scots are frightened by the prospect of independence.

The day I was named in the House

Parliament is wrong and deplorable and silly, and its activities largely a waste of time

Schools chief in sex row won't sue

CHRIS WOODHEAD said yesterday he would not go to court over newspaper claims that he had an affair with a pupil while teaching at her school.

Parliament: Schools chief clashes with MPs over style

CHRIS WOODHEAD, the Chief Inspector of Schools, was yesterday challenged by MPs about criticism that his personal style is too confrontational.

Parliament: The Sketch: Old jokes reincarnated as painfully embarrassing moments

PETER AINSWORTH, the shadow Culture Secretary, had been struck by a happy thought as he scanned the front page of The Guardian yesterday. Perhaps he shared it with his wife over the breakfast cereals, perhaps she then explained Daddy's joke to the children.

Parliament: Social Security: pounds 4m for pension payout glitch

NEARLY 400,000 benefit claimants and pensioners will be paid compensation of at least pounds 10 each for chaos caused by the breakdown of a Contributions Agency computer, the Government announced.

Parliament: The Sketch - Two men trying to pass on a narrow mountain ledge

"WOULD THE Prime Minister agree with me that this is a great day for democracy?" asked Gillian Merron, first up in Prime Minister's Questions. She was referring to the Government's White Paper on reform of the House of Lords but the more pious-minded might have felt her remark was incidentally borne out by the 15 minutes that followed, an uncharacteristically grave and courteous exchange between the party leaders. The less pious-minded might have asked for their money back. I felt a pang of sympathy for those in the public gallery, who must have felt as you do when you've set the video for The Fast Show and get back to find that you've accidentally recorded a particularly dull passage of Newsnight. This sort of thing is all very well now and then, particularly if you worry about the intellectual reputation of the Mother of Parliaments, but if you care at all about attendance figures for Westminster's most popular cabaret session you would have to hope that aberrant rationality would soon pass.

Historical Notes: Blair and Cromwell, conservative radicals

RECENT MODERNISING ambitions for Britain's constitution evoke the turbulence of 17th-century England. Although Blair's reforms do not call for royal heads to roll, his calls for "sweeping away the old establishment", the hereditary House of Lords in particular, and for the common man to take his place in a meritocratic sun, provoke comparison with the zealous Oliver Cromwell.

The Mandelson Affair: The Constituency - It's a loss for us, too, say the voters of Hartlepool

THERE HAS always been an irony in Peter Mandelson's choice of parliamentary seat. Since his election to Parliament in 1992, Labour's ultimate moderniser has represented a depressed north-eastern town whose image is the epitome of the traditional Labour Party.
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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'