News The presenter, who is thought to be a friend of the Prime Minister, told his followers on the micro-blogging site that he was thinking of standing as an independent at the next general election.

The famously acerbic TV personality then shared the image on his Twitter account alongside the caption: "Sadly, I fell asleep on the plane."

Isn't it, ahem, just that little bit early-Nineties?


Pop: Top 10 UK singles

1 (-) Beetlebum Blur

Spice Girls are Brits hot tip

The Spice Girls will probably clean up at this year's Brit Awards, it was announced last night.

`I will not stare at beautiful women and wish I was a lesbian'

John Lyttle's New Year resolutions

EMI's solo act is a big hit

The split from electrical retailer Thorn is helping the music label focus its talent



People & Business; Living without George Michael at a Capital bash

To the opening of Capital Radio's new radio theme restaurant in London's Leicester Square, where despite the non-appearance of the star guest, George Michael, a fab time was had by all.

Pop albums: Various Artists Red Hot and Rio Antilles / Verve RH+RIO- 2

The Aids charity here reaches Latin America - and not before time, given that continent's desperate affliction by the disease. And - if only for its relative novelty - it's much more satisfying than previous Red Hot+ releases, which have leaned towards lacklustre soul-jazz and dance.

Real superstars don't need stunts

Oasis are heroes to a generation eclipsed by its parents, writes Decca Aitkenhead, aged 25

PETER YORK ON ADS; To Corfu with Smith's and four Lyndhursts

No 144: WH SMITH

Long-dead singles rise from the groove

Music industry: Euro 96 theme helps fuel surge in teenagers' favourite format

The Investment Column: Thorn EMI worth holding

There was nothing particularly new in Thorn EMI's first-quarter results yesterday, which showed a respectable 13 per cent rise in pre- exceptional profits to pounds 68m despite some softness in the music side. The other important aspect of yesterday's announcement was further details of the proposed demerger of the company into its constituent parts, but as Sir Colin Southgate drily commented that was simply 140 pages to tell shareholders they would be getting two shares instead of one.

What's with all the fiddling about?

Everyone from Meat Loaf to McCartney has called for the violins. Michele Kirsch says pop's entanglement with strings can sound ropey

RECORDS: Reviews

George Michael: Older (Virgin, CD/LP/tape). George Michael is in a no-lose situation. He fell out with his last record company, Sony, because they demanded that he produce more commercial material. So if you were to say that Older suffers from a lack of strident tunes, pop- vitality and lyrics that make any sense at all, he could reply with a smile of vindication: "Exactly!" But that's not to say that he's been adventurous enough to alienate his fans; the album sounds as if he wrote, arranged, produced and sung it on tiptoes. "The Strangest Thing" is too close for comfort to Lionel Richie's "Hello". "Spinning the Wheel" is like Portishead playing a Take That ballad, but not as interesting. And for this we've waited five-and-a-half years? As Paul McCartney once said, "Plastic soul". As John Lennon once said, "Musak to my ears". Nicholas Barber
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