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.

Women need not apply for privileges: Even after Thatcher, the House of Commons remains a dedicated club for the boys, says Ruth Winstone

IN THE fuss over which of the great and good are to be on the Commons Privileges Committee, set up to investigate two of the more junior boys at the House, one question has not been asked. So I will ask it. Why are there no women on the committee? It must comprise, so we are told, senior members of the House of Commons. So plenty of knights are included: six out of 17, to be exact. Then they have to have experience of parliamentary procedure. So there are elderly and long- standing members present.

I'm very glad you asked me that particular question . . .

LET'S not get carried away by this MPs-asking-questions- for-money horror story. Let's keep calm. Let's look at the facts.

'Not proven' verdict stays

THE controversial 'not proven' verdict in Scottish courts is to be retained.

Leading Article: A professional Parliament

JOHN SMITH's premature death has revived the debate about the unnatural working lives forced on Britain's Members of Parliament. Those who become MPs must not only have the physical stamina necessary to work into the small hours night after night; they must also sacrifice any hope of a normal social life outside their work, and tread their way past the tempting twin solaces of the whisky bottle and the secretary. Until recently it has been too easy to say that these are simply the terms of the job - that politicians know what they are taking on when they stand for Parliament, and the continued competition for seats proves the bargain is still a good one.

Hendrix on Parliament

A laser image of the rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix being projected on to the Houses of Parliament early yesterday to celebrate the forthcoming release of Beautiful People's record If 60's were 90's. The words above and below are from the Hendrix song 'If 6 was 9': 'White collared conservative . . .pointing their plastic finger at me'.

Police thwart gay activists' march on Parliament

TWO MEN were arrested last night as police removed gay rights protesters, including the pop singer Jimmy Somerville, from Haymarket in central London, thwarting an attempted march on

Parliament and Politics: Gay vote likely on 16 February

THE COMMONS vote on whether the age of consent for homosexuals should be reduced to 16, in line with heterosexuals, or 18 is likely to be taken on 16 February or soon afterwards.

Leading Article: Cynical? Who wouldn't be?

THE ITALIANS, long burdened with discredited politicians hanging on to power, were yesterday set a general election date. Would that Britain were so blessed. The Conservatives may be able to wait until April 1997 before going to the country. Each day's delay engenders deeper disillusionment among voters. Another three years of sleaze, hypocrisy and ineffectual government will do untold damage not only to the Tories but, more importantly, to the standing of Britain's public institutions.

Russian Elections: Hypnotist seeks power: Helen Womack sees a Russian psychotherapist campaigning in Yaroslavl via a televised seance

THE serious politicians of Yaroslavl, from free marketeers to Communists, are united on one matter - their contempt for a fascist hypnotist who thinks he can represent this city in the new Russian parliament without bothering to meet the voters.

Whipping row over Sunday trading

(First Edition)

CrossRail project faces 10-year delay

THE pounds 2bn CrossRail project, which will link Liverpool Street and Paddington stations on a new British Rail line, could be delayed by up to 10 years because of a decision by the Transport Secretary, John MacGregor, to commission a further consultant's report on the scheme. The report is expected to lead to a delay, which would cause the project's enabling parliamentary Bill to fail.

Ask no questions, hear more lies: The decline in newspaper coverage of the cut and thrust of the Commons is slowly eroding our democracy, says Jack Straw

I SPOKE to a national housing conference in Brighton last Wednesday. One thousand delegates stood as I entered, clapping as I walked to the podium. The hall was plunged into darkness, the spotlights turned on me, the loudspeakers brought into action. The audience laughed at a couple of jokes, applauded when I sat down, and asked six relatively straightforward questions. After an hour, they went to coffee and I went back to London.

ALBUMS / Digital technology: it's no fluke

FLUKE

RADIO / Just the three of them

MRS THOMPSON was the victim of a tragic hospital mix-up. With gentle respect for her plight, Brian Perkins asked when she first suspected that she'd been discharged with the wrong husband: 'Well, it crossed my mind when I got him home,' she said, 'because my Arthur'd been a retired park-keeper with a prostate, and now he was a 23-year-old ski- instructor called Bjorn.'

Media: News at Ten - MPs ignore the inconvenient evidence: Gerald Kaufman and his House of Commons committee are in no position to accuse others of evasion, says David Lister

'THIS IS a select committee of the House of Commons.' The phrase does have a magisterial ring. Gerald Kaufman, chairman of the National Heritage Select Committee, clearly thinks so as he recites it regularly when he believes a witness is getting above himself.
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick