Jarvis Cocker

The Diary: Scotsman Steps; Brighton Festival Fringe; Venice Biennale;

At last, a step in the right direction. The first slabs have been laid in Martin Creed's long-awaited makeover of the Scotsman Steps in Edinburgh. Work No. 1059 will revitalise the public stairway, once described by The Scotsman as "one of the city's worst 'no-go' areas and a urine-soaked disgrace to the capital", cladding its steps in the world's finest marble. Announced in 2009, the work was due to be unveiled at last year's Edinburgh Festival to coincide with the Turner Prize-winner's exhibition at The Fruitmarket Gallery, but hit conservation and structural problems along the way. Last week, a lorry-load of coloured marble arrived from Italy and other corners of the globe – Creed's vision is that walking down the steps will be like walking through the world – and this week the installation proper began. Of course, health and safety has reared its unaesthetic head: the marble has been sandblasted and given a slip-proof coating while new gates will lock the steps away at night. "We want to keep them nice and fresh as a treasure to Edinburgh," says a spokesperson from the Fruitmarket. "It's well on the way to being ready". I'm told that work will be completed in June. Better late than never.

Architecture's Evil Empire?, By Miles Glendinning
A Guide To The

In a world driven by economic savagery, hearts of darkness more mendacious than Conrad's original, and a globalised Tourette's Syndrome of texts, Twitter and Facebook, is there any point in thinking seriously, rather than entertainingly, about architecture? It has become a whipped-dog subject, virtually devoid of manifestos, heavy on irony and bottom-line issues. Two engrossing books, one examining the pathology that has produced icon-mania, the other a vivid motormouth travelogue through 12 British towns and cities, try very hard to imagine that architecture's often servile 21st century inertias can be reversed.

Jarvis Cocker curates National Trust album

Jarvis Cocker's transformation from indie music's enfant terrible to unlikely pin-up of the cream tea and country house set appeared complete yesterday, when it emerged that he had teamed up with the National Trust to curate an album of soothing sounds.

Radio 2 told to tune in to listeners over 65

BBC Radio 2 has been told it must do more to appeal to older listeners – particularly over-65s. In a major review of the station, the BBC Trust said Britain's biggest network should find a "more varied and challenging selection of programmes", even if this meant losing some of its audience.

Album: Charlotte Gainsbourg, IRM (Because)

Charlotte Gainsbourg has made a second career out of playing a musical muse, from her 13-year-old debut with her father Serge on "Lemon Incest" to the varied collaborators (Jarvis Cocker, Air, Neil Hannon, etc) who furnished the musical frames for her 2006 album 5.55.

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Caught In The Net - Gremlins beset Russian fairy

Even three years since her breakthrough album 'Begin to Hope' was described as "one of the rare albums where the talent practically sears the speakers" by The Onion's AV club, Regina Spektor's quirky piano pop is still as bizarre as anything indie music has to offer. It's been a busy week for the Russian pop fairy (left), with her new record release beset with artwork problems after the wrong images were distributed, leading Spektor to speculate on the chances of her forthcoming album, "Far", being released with a "t" added to the end of its title. "We had a million comps, ideas, and we posted the wrong ones," the starlet mused on her MySpace blog, adding: "I'm giving up trying to make things perfect, because they never are". Gastric mix-ups aside, though the album doesn't hit the shelves until 23 June, anyone looking for a sneak preview can check out the star's MySpace page for the brand new "Laughing With", described by the Spektor herself as "a new song that I never played for people at shows before". Along with some older hits, it's available at tinyurl.com/nypxo

Jarvis Cocker: 'Gordon Brown is crushingly dull. I'd advocate a

You don't find the little café that sits at the bottom of Brookhouse Hill, on the outer reaches of Sheffield's town centre, without exerting a considerable amount of effort. First, you have to insist to the taxi driver who believes otherwise that, yes, it really does exist, and then, when you have reached the end of the deeply suburban road that appears to lead nowhere, you get out, pay the man, cross the road, squeeze through a gate, and head down a winding path until you get to a frigid lake whose few ducks look as if they wish they were elsewhere. It is the middle of April, British spring time. Consequently, it is freezing cold. It is also disquietingly misty round here. "Not misty," says Jarvis Cocker, Sheffield native and still proud of the place he left 20 years ago. "Atmospheric."