Arts and Entertainment

Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Cross Words: Battle of the bands

Head to head: Is the cover album the ultimate tribute or tragic rip-off? Stephen McGann of The McGanns defends their debut album against Tony Szuminski of Puressence

Music: Genius plus Jaco equals pain

Jaco Pastorius hailed himself the greatest bassist in the world. He was also manic depressive and he died forgotten and alone. But was this the inevitable price of his brilliance?

Pop: They came to be blown away

M OToRHEAD

Outlook: PowerGen still has ambitions

STOCK MARKET attention may be more on National Power right now, but these are also interesting times for PowerGen. Speculation about a break-up bid for National Power has put its slightly smaller brother in the shade. But Ed Wallis, PowerGen's combative chairman, is back from holiday and itching to get going again.

What a lovely rebirth for the Roundhouse

THE Roundhouse, the famous north London theatre and rock venue which has been disused for 16 years, is to be reborn.

Jazz: Come on Jose, light our fires

THOUGH EVERYONE knows Jose Feliciano's wonderfully slack, slowed- down and jazz-inflected version of the Doors' "Light My Fire" - his big breakthrough hit 30 years ago - but most of us know little else. There is a vague memory of the "genius" tag with which he was once promoted, a heavy rep that sightless singers in the 1960s almost seemed to be burdened with as a matter of course. If Ray Charles was the genius of soul, and Stevie Wonder was, well, another one, Jose Feliciano was their Latin cousin, the blind Puerto Rican boy brought up in a family of 12 in Spanish Harlem who overcame adversity by singing and playing the guitar. The part of the story that we maybe didn't get, although if you were listening it must have been evident all along, is that Feliciano doesn't just play his guitar: he pretty much re-invents it.

Pop: Look forwards in anger

60ft Dolls ICA, London

Books: This really is Spinal Tap

FLESH GUITAR by Geoff Nicholson, Gollancz pounds 9.99

After Dark: The End of the road

No sooner had The End completed its successful 1997 World Tour (taking them as far as Portugal, France, Holland, Slovenia, Ireland, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco and Berlin) that they decided they needed a more exotic location. They finally settled on Old Blighty and embarked on The Electric Ladyland Tour 1998, hitting 12 venues across the UK.

POP: Back on the right track

Question. Who wrote "Wild Thing"? Was it? a) Jimi Hendrix? b) Graham Nash? c) The Troggs?

Heaven knows he's miserable now

Reasons for Sean Hughes to be miserable: one, two, three. One: "your parents lie to you when you're 10. They say you're gonna get married, have kids... and I, like an idiot, believed it all". Two: "the bubbly people in the bar on TFI Friday who are so delighted to be part of that inaneness". Three: New Labour's vision of shiny, happy morons watching television - a medium watched by "stupid people". Dissing marriage, Evans sycophants and Blairism is fair enough - if somewhat obligatory - these days, but isn't it a mite hypocritical to bite the hand that feeds you? After all it was the telly - or "opium of the masses" as Hughes puts it - that brought his maudlin humour, puppy-dog expression and come-to-bed eyes to national attention. That was the springboard to more meaningful pursuits like poetry, novel-writing and acting. That allowed him "a brilliant opportunity to focus in on ideas and talk about stuff I'd never been able to talk about before".

Music and radio on television

In a peak week for great Elgarians, Nigel Kennedy had first go on the South Bank Show (Sun, ITV). That he played Jimi Hendrix fantasies rather than Elgar this time was all to the good. By presenting himself with a creative dimension that classical virtuosi usually hide, he was able to show explicitly how he gets under the skin of the musicians he empathises with.

1968: The culture

1968. THE YEAR before the counterculture became commercial. Rock'n'roll heroes were still playing gigs up and down the country and crashing their Trannies on the way back down the M1. You could pull a musician from the front of house in 1968; he was so close he could actually look into your eyes. The watering-holes were few and you could cover them all. At the Macrobiotic Restaurant, the Chelsea antiques market, the Speakeasy, the Fillmores East and West and Max's Kansas City you saw everybody, sooner or later. Everybody had hair and lots of it, floating round their heads like smoke. Damsels with dulcimers were everywhere. The tits were real then and heterosex was still exciting, even without poppers.

Music: Album Round-up

GOLDIE Saturnzreturn (London 828990 2)

Music: Rose who endured a life of thorns

Tim Rose is famous for missing the boat: for writing the song that made Jimi Hendrix; for turning down one by Bob Dylan. But, writes Glyn Brown, he's by no means finished yet.
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital