A Muslim woman has been allowed to appear in court as a defendant  and enter a plea without removing her full-face veil.

Arts: The Russians are coming

Once the jewel in the crown of Soviet culture, the Bolshoi Theatre was brought low during Communism's decline. Will a month's visit to London by both opera and ballet restore their reputation?

Boys are suffering from `Dad Deficit'

Parenting: Research stresses importance of father-son relationships, as number of babies conceived inside marriage falls again `Highly Involved Man' can boost sons' self-esteem and guard against

Obituary: Alexander Bogatyrev

A PRINCIPAL dancer in the Bolshoi Ballet, Alexander Bogatyrev was a consummate prince on stage: tall, outstandingly good-looking, and with a style that was elegant and academically pure. He became the Bolshoi Ballet's interim director in 1995, following the removal of Vyacheslav Gordeyev, and re-mained until Alexei Fadeyechev's appointment in 1997.

Pop: Baebes have got it maede


Racing: Him Of Praise can raise the roof

The former National Hunt jockey Steve Smith Eccles (right) gives a runner-by runner analysis of today's Greenalls Grand National Trial Chase.

Albums: FAUST Edinburgh 1997/Faust Wakes Nosferatu (Klangbad)

Faust's career resuscitation continues with two further releases, both as dense and disquieting as anything you're likely to hear this year. Edinburgh 1997 is a live album which opens and closes with a factory siren, as if summoning workers to their labour, and spends the intervening 69 minutes among an industrious tangle of mechanical humming, Germanic declamation, understated Debussian keyboard figures and distorted whines. Sometimes laborious, sometimes strangely diffuse, it all comes to a powerful head on the final track "WBD", a pummelling, headstrong groove in the vein of "Sister Ray".

Film: Still 'orrible after all these years

James Bernard is a survivor of the house of horror films of the Fifties and Sixties; and now, as Steven Poole discovers, he's all set to make your flesh creep again with his new score to Murnau's classic silent vampire movie, `Nosferatu'.

Festival: Goth bands resurrected for weekend of Dracula

Whitby Centenary Dracula Festival, 26-28 September

Preview: get out of town Whitby Dracfest

Dracula may have fled England in Bram Stoker's novel, but in Whitby he still lives on. Not only does the North Yorkshire town feature in Stoker's novel, but Whitby is also home to Britain's biggest Dracula Appreciation Society. Where else, then, for the first ever three-day music festival in praise of vampires? Against the eerie backdrop of Whitby Abbey - the steps of which were the venue for the Count's first bloody banquet - Dracfest 97 promises to be a departure from other muso fests. Black candy-floss and ice-cream replace the usual MSG and burger stalls and bands include a specially reformed The Damned, The Stranglers, Alien Sex Fiend and Christian Death. Expect nothing less than unadulterated gothery.

Alien sex fiend is new Modesty Blaise

The role of comic strip heroine Modesty Blaise, reportedly turned down by Uma Thurman because it involved nudity, has gone to the virtually unknown actress Natasha Henstridge (left). Ms Henstridge is best known for playing an alien sex fiend in the science fiction film Species.

Bright lights, big pity

When the Bolshoi Ballet first hit America in the late 1950s, tickets were like gold dust. So how come, last year in Las Vegas, they were playing to 6,770 empty seats a night?

Feeling glum? You've been Cured


Mum's the word

MAXIMOVA & VASILIEV AT THE BOLSHOI by Roberta Lazzarini, Dancebooks pounds 20

Birthdays: 23 December

23 December

Sleeping with the NME

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