Arts and Entertainment

Mount Kimbie are playing this year's Festival No. 6.

Theatre: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London

To some, Toyah Willcox will be best remembered for the frequency with which she changed her hair colour as a punky singer in the early 1980s. She even appeared in a Kenny Everett sketch where the hue of her barnet altered every second. Toyah's problem ever since has been to get people to take her seriously as an actress.

Daniel Synge suggests Four late-night drinking clubs

the elderly gent belonging to a Pall Mall club who once defined a private members' club as "a refuge from the vulgarity of the outside world, where people still prefer a silver salt-cellar which doesn't pour to a plastic one that does" illustrates perfectly the continued reluctance of gentlemen's clubs to join the 20th century. Thankfully, London's new arrivals in clubland have registered both social changes and current tastes, while still managing to preserve a healthy respect for the past. Had enough of the impersonal touch at restaurants, bars and pubs? Get a member of one these clubs to propose you and join the waiting list like everybody else.


JOHNNY ROTTEN, the pale anarchist who screamed "No Future" and wore "Destroy" on his chest when he led the Sex Pistols is now the lithe and tanned John Lydon, who wrote his catty memoirs under the Californian sun. He makes the occasional alternative rock album with his band Public Image Limited.

IVOR CUTLER by Nicola Barker

HEROES & VILLAINS: The novelist Nicola Barker on her hero Ivor Cutler, poet, humourist - and a true vaudevillian

Centrepiece: What a picture

The only time schoolkids ventured into a political dalliance was when they daubed little 'A's inside circles on the playground wall. What did anarchy mean? Nobody knew. But it was big and bad and Johnny Rotten sang about it, so it had to be worth a lunchtime detention. The Pistols split up and the kids grew up, but the movement got a brief shot in the arm from Crass, whose endorsement of anarchy proved lucrative enough to enable them to offload thousands of pounds onto various anarchist organisations, some of whom allegedly took the dosh and bolted. 'That's the trouble with many anarchists,' an insider said. 'They get a bit of money and then they're not so keen on anarchy anymore.'

CENTREFOLD / Rock 'n' roll at a price: Sotheby's are flogging pop memorabilia from Johnny Rotten and other 'rebel rousers'

It seems to happen every month. You watch London Tonight for kitsch value, and there's smug old Alastair Stewart trundling through the news with his supply-teacher tone making everything humdrum and trivial. And doesn't the final filler item (tagged on for those who like the Sun's 'Bizarre' column) always seem to be about some bloody rock'n'roll auction at Sotheby's? Well, there's another one on Thursday but you can't afford anything that's up for grabs, so you'll just have to swoon.

ROCK / Burning and barking in Berks

ANY BAND that risks third-degree burns in the name of entertainment is all right by me. At the Reading Festival, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were all right by everyone. Their Sunday night performance packed the field fuller than it had been for the entire weekend, so you could be sardined in the first 500-odd rows, or stand so far from the stage you might as well have been watching the show on TV through someone else's sitting-room window.

ART / Show People: California screaming: L7

THERE'S a song called 'Shirley' on the new L7 album. It's an exhilarating drag-racing anthem in the spirit of Amelia Erhart, wherein the California quartet's characteristic scrawny vocals and brutal guitar riffs vie for supremacy with screaming engines and mangled dialogue from the film Heart Like a Wheel. 'What's a beautiful girl like you doing racing in a place like this?' a sports-track announcer asks the song's heroine with time-honoured condescension. Quick as a tyre blowout, the answer comes back: 'Winning.'

RECORDS / New Releases: Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart: Take Me to God (Island, CD/LP/tape)

After spells in John Lydon's Public Image Limited, and as a guard on the London Underground, Jah Wobble (ne John Wardle) is an unexpectedly serene chap these days. In demand by the likes of The Orb and Primal Scream for his hypnotic, dub-style bass playing, he also pursues his own musical path. The new album is less browser-friendly than its Mercury Award-nominated predecessor Rising Above Bedlam, but there's a similarly large cast list, with vocals from Dolores O'Riordan (replacing Bedlam's Sinead O'Connor), Chaka Demus and Pliers, and Baaba Maal. But it's the rhythms that count: deep, unhurried and underpinned by the marvellous bass of Wobble himself.

ART / Overheard

We shall set targets for the number of nursery rhymes, jingles and stories children should hear by their fourth birthday . . . If we soak children in language-rich and music-rich experiences their language development will be more successful.

INTERVIEW / Ol' blue eyes is back: After an eight-year gap - 'the householder years' - the Pretenders are in the Top 10 again, and the critics' good books. Geraldine Bedell talks to Chrissie Hynde, while David Cavanagh compares the new album with the old ones

CHRISSIE HYNDE is behaving intolerably: sneering at my questions, snorting at them with hollow, hostile laughter. She only wanted to talk to the music press anyway, she says and last night she had to do an interview with someone who didn't even know who Martin Chambers is, for Chrissake. (He was the drummer in the original Pretenders, and he's back on the new album.) She can't believe she's being asked about all this old stuff. So she sighs a lot, answers in exasperated monosyllables, and affects total amnesia about her past. What did she do when she first came to England? Caught a cab and went to a hotel, she says, raising her eyes to the ceiling.

BOOK REVIEW / Rotten to the core: Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs by John Lydon with Keith & Kent Zimmerman: Hodder pounds 14.99

THIS portrait of the author as a young Sex Pistol is an exhausting, splenetic book, but there is something very gratifying about its refusal to fall into line with the numerous other accounts of the period (which Lydon rubbishes so tirelessly as to become tiresome) and with its subject's obsessive self-validation. Rotten's ranting reminiscences are interspersed with a fascinating body of testimony - some supportive, some healthily contradictory - from his father, his friends, Finsbury Park football hooligans - turned - jewellery designers, fellow Sex Pistols Steve Cook and Paul Jones, record company employees and assorted punk alumni such as Steve Severin, Chrissie Hynde and Billy Idol.

Rugby League: Lydon at home wearing a variety of hats: With 'Slow Joe' fast on the uptake, Wigan are looking to head down a familiar road to Wembley. Dave Hadfield reports

JOE LYDON is unique among his Wigan team-mates. He knows he will be earning a wage on Cup final day. Whatever happens in the Silk Cut Challenge Cup semi-final against Castleford today, Lydon will be gainfully employed at Wembley on 30 April. He is not only a versatile back of enduring star quality who has frequently got Wigan out of trouble during their 34-match winning run in the competition, he is also the new voice of the game.

BOOK REVIEW / Working holidays in hell: Nicholas Lezard follows some new literary adventurers

'I THINK there was a time when all of us saw the world in terms of exotic travel and thrilling adventure,' writes Tim Cahill in his introduction to Pecked to Death by Ducks (4th Estate pounds 7.99). 'Somewhere along the line - usually on the first day of the first real job - we find that these dreams have gone dormant.' Not for Cahill, who gets paid to write about his dreams, although they're my idea of nightmares: caving with inexperienced pro footballers, or mountain-climbing with sorority girls, or hanging around in the Rockies waiting to be eaten by bears.

A Surfer on the Zeitgeist: This isn't exactly life on the edge: Greil Marcus is married, nearly 50, and lives in a nice big house in northern California. But he is still making something new out of writing about rock

GREIL MARCUS is an armchair anarchist. From his hillside attic in northern California, he sees the lines between the Sex Pistols, the French revolutionary Saint-Just, and the 16th-century heretic John of Leyden. And this isn't just some obscure academic eccentricity - it's a famous career: Marcus gets reviewed in the Economist, reviled in the Sunday Times, and revered in the NME. All he really wants to do is write about pop music, but he can't resist writing about everything else as well. His new book, In the Fascist Bathroom, 'was gonna be 200 pages on my Punk favourites,' he claims, 'but it became a book about Reagan and Thatcher,' with more than 400 pages separating the first reference, to Margaret Drabble, from the last, to the Civil War Ranters of 1646. Actual punks appear only fitfully.
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