Arts and Entertainment Steve Mason

On an evening where the big news of the week was still a live talking point, there was precious little sympathy in a famed back room in Glasgow. “Did you hear what Frankie Boyle said about Thatcher?” asked Steve Mason, sometime Beta Band singer and now the proud-owner of an alias-spattered solo career which has recently taken a turn for the incisively political. It’s the old gag about spending the public money earmarked for the late former PM’s funeral on spades, then “everyone in Scotland can dig a hole and deliver her to Satan in person.”

THEATRE / Northern exposure: Paul Taylor on Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love

As far as tourism goes, Brad Fraser's play could do for Edmonton, Alberta, roughly what the Bible did for Gomorrha. A programme note reveals that the city's 'premier attraction' is its shopping mall, but in its depiction of the kinkiness and extreme passion curdling under surface normality, this striking drama - snappily entitled Unidentifed Human Remains and the True Nature of Love - gives Canada's northernmost city some of the sick fascination of Lumberton, the small town in Blue Velvet. Sure, you'd like to drop in for a gawp but, as with Philip Larkin and China, only if you could come back the same day.

BR 'to lose 25 per cent of its freight business'

BRITISH RAIL will lose a quarter of its freight business in the two years between 1992 and 1994 because of the recession and the Government's onerous profit targets, the Commons transport committee was told yesterday.

Letter: High-speed freight through the tunnel

Sir: Christian Wolmar's article 'Tunnel of gloom for rail freight' (18 December) verges on the despondent. The Channel tunnel is no damp squib, but is forging ahead, on target and on budget.

MUSIC / Nash Ensemble - Purcell Room, SE1

Having produced two premieres in its opening concert, the Nash Ensemble's 20th-Century Series unveiled another pair of new works on Thursday. Commissioned with funds from IBM, surely amongst the most enlightened of today's music patrons, Colin Matthews's Three-Part Chaconne for string trio and piano, and Jonathan Harvey's Lotuses, for string trio plus a variety of flutes, were framed by early and late Britten. Ravel's Sonata for violin and cello, craftsmanly but difficult to love, added a French element to the programme.
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