THEATRE / Tennessee Williams and his women

'THERE IS no actress on earth who will not testify that Williams created the best women characters in the modern theatre,' wrote Gore Vidal after Tennessee Williams' death in 1983. He also said: 'It is widely believed that since Tennessee Williams liked to have sex with men (true), he hated women (untrue); as a result his women characters are thought to be malicious creatures, designed to subvert and destroy godly straightness.' With the opening tomorrow of Sweet Bird of Youth opens at the National, the debate will no doubt reopen.

Centrefold: A shot in the park: Animal antics caught on film. But what's the big idea?

Jack Daniels was surprised to be asked how he managed to get this spaniel to leap through the air. 'I knew he could do it,' he said, 'because he'd been through the casting process and he'd proved himself. He was bouncy and full of energy - perfect for the part.' In the last six years Daniels has built a reputation for a winning way with pets - using vivid colour and ridiculously wide angles to produce the kind of eye-catching and often hilarious images advertisers kill for (the flying spaniel is being used to advertise Spillers dog food). A selection of his portraits are now included in Animal House, a group exhibition at the Association Gallery.

Sssh, Major's just tiptoed into town

HE SIGNED himself in the hotel visitors' book as 'John Major, Downing Street, London SW1', for all the world as if his surprise at becoming Prime Minister has still not worn off.

Health: Drunk? But not a drop passed my lips]: Did you know that you can get tipsy simply by breathing in the fumes from other people's booze? Rob Stepney looks at the risks and possibilities of passive drinking

FED UP with passive smoking at parties? Why not try passive drinking instead? It may sound improbable - and do not expect a traffic policeman to believe you at the roadside - but it seems that significant amounts of alcohol can enter the body simply by breathing in the fumes.

Christmas Presence: A voyage round my Father Christmas: Andrew Graham-Dixon on why Miracle on 34th Street reduces him to tears every year

I watch Miracle on 34th Street, which I made the mistake of taping several years ago, every Christmas. Recently, this annual ritual has become so embarrassing that I have had to make sure that I am alone for its 94-minute duration while I sniff, snivel and - most conspicuously when Edmund Gwenn's Santa Claus cheers up a pitiful Dutch orphan by singing to her in her own language - periodically give way to dreadful but relieving sobs. Neighbours have been known to enquire whether anything is seriously wrong, whether there has been a death in the family, whether they can help. No, but thank you, I tell them. I am just watching a video.

TELEVISION / Sixties sister calls the grey army to battle

'NEVER trust anyone over 30,' the Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman once said, a phrase that is positively intoxicating if you are 18 years old but somehow loses its appeal as the years trundle by. Should we trust Germaine Greer, now 53 and hectoring us from a fresh barricade, or should we take her assault on youthism (for Without Walls' series 'Bad Ideas of the 20th Century') as the self-interested moan of a woman who's reached a certain age?

TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Life is the name of the game . . .

Rik Mayall used to be a standard- bearer for alternative comedy, challenging the complacent comic establishment of panto, time-share endorsements and double-glazing ads. On The Young Ones, he appeared in a send-up of pro-celebrity golf. In a neat inversion, he now plays MICKY LOVE (9pm ITV), an old-fashioned, middle-aged gameshow host keen on golf whose primetime slot is threatened by a young 'raw, out-there, happening, in-your-face' comedian (Alan Cumming). In the first of Granada's trilogy Rik Mayall Presents, Love foresees a terrifying vista of afternoons presenting celebrity noughts and crosses and gardening quizzes. Peter Morgan's smart script picks up on the minutiae of life in the media. A drama producer in the executive dining-room complains in passing: 'Morse, Morse, Morse, that's all I ever hear. Can you make it more like Morse?' In period clips, Love is seen swigging Jack Daniels with a dolly bird on each arm and urging the Sex Pistols to say something outrageous. He talks to his wife in gameshow host catch- phrases. The only quibble might be the similarity between Love's network and Network.

Allied ends distribution agreement with Seagram

ALLIED-LYONS is further tightening its grip on the distribution of the 42 million cases of wines and spirits it ships annually, writes John Shepherd.

Bunhill: Gone crazy

Political Correctness strikes again. In a last spasm before the elections, the US Congress prohibited the use of the word Crazy Horse as the brand name of a whisky on the grounds that it was insensitive to a member of a Native American group - to wit, Crazy Horse, the leader of the Oglala Sioux tribe. But Messrs Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker et al remain unprotected, presumably because they are merely White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

Curtain set to fall on rock music's 'best club'

NEXT Thursday Keith Richards will take his red plectrum, his bandana and his bottle of Jack Daniel's out for a rare public airing. Like almost 200 bands a year, Richards has chosen to play at the Town & Country club in Kentish Town, north London.
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He's behind you, dude!

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