Voices

Smoking is the hazy fug of a 1930s jazz club, the deadline mist of a 1970s newsroom and the chocolate-wood smell of my granddad’s lounge circa 1988

Festival's God is game for a laugh

Edinburgh row: Church figures angered as satirists find new source of humour in Christian beliefs

Blood, gore and Bible in 90 minutes at Fringe

More than 9,000 people, 14,060 performances, 1,238 shows, 187 venues. . . all that in three weeks. Plans to celebrate the half-century of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. the more unpredictable sister of the International Festival of the arts, were announced yesterday.

Jools Holland gets into the jazz groove

No 129: JAZZ GREATS

Festival Britain

Some time, some place, there's a festival for you this summer, be it firework concerts in the grounds of Warwick Castle or acrobatic massage in Kensington. Your guide: Suzanna Drew-Edwards

feelgood factor: Jools Holland

Reading obituaries is my main health tip. I read them every day. First, I know I must be quite healthy if I'm not included and, second, I try to glean information from the lifestyles of those being written about. When there is a write-up of someone in their seventies or eighties, I often find they have been a painter or a conductor. Both professions require having the arms in the air quite a bit, so I like to keep my arms in the air as much as possible.

The Jools in BBC2's crown

Jools Holland's had a bit of a rough time lately. A monstrously green-eyed hack berated him for being a successful mediocrity, a British stereotype in the vein of Eddie the Eagle. Well, that's hardly fair. Jools is no Art Tatum, but as far as that boogie-woogie stuff goes, he's played with the best.

BOOKS The Hay Festival '95

`Hay on Wye - is that some kind of a sandwich?' Arthur Miller said; here are more tributes to the annual 10-day festival of literature and the arts, and a round-up of events from 26 May to 4 June follow

Clown prince of cool

Wacky musician, 1990s Peter Pan - whoever he really is, Jools Holland is a pixie who likes to have fun

Ready, steady, ramble

The presenter wears cords; the camera stays still; the programme starts at 10pm. Martin Kelner on The White Room, Channel 4's mould-breaking pop show

Start the lift, I want to get out

"It was kind of like free-fall television," said Jools Holland, recalling the glory days of The Tube (in The Legend of the Tube, Channel 4). "It wasn't contrived, was it," he added, turning to Paula Yates for confirmation. "It was genuinely shodd y." It was too, but memory is forgiving and The Tube now stands as one of television's Dunkirks, a disaster proudly remembered because of its evidence of pluck in the face of adversity. They filmed some fine bands too, which is important now that televis ion networks are beginning to exploit the value of their backlists.

Tube-tastic! But still Tops?

As the legend of The Tube is celebrated with a documentary and a 14-wee k series of reruns, Steven Poole questions whether all this retro-TV is really necessary amid today's music shows

Empire brings comedy to Willesden

A new comedy venue is to open next month on the site of a former cinema and variety hall in north-west London.

Edinburgh Festival / Day 4: Having a grand old time of it: At his masterclass, Jools Holland takes things in his stride. Not to mention his boogie woogie

It's a little-known fact about Jools Holland that he comes from a musical dynasty. There was his grandmother, who had an old player-piano in her front-room (a wedding present from her mother). There was his uncle - Uncle David, actually - who played the bass in an R & B band but had mastered the St Louis Blues on the keyboards. And there was his Aunt Eileen who, frankly, taught him all he knows. 'She played the stride piano with that oompah, oompah, oompah rhythm, only she'd keep her left hand in the same place all the time. And she'd leave the sustaining pedal on all the time, so that it sounded like this . . . ' Jools Holland, on stage at the Assembly Rooms, clanked up and down the gleaming black Bosendorfer grand to stunned silence. 'She was,' he continued proudly, 'probably the worst pianist in the world.'

The Edinburgh Festival 1994: Rock

Ryuichi Sakamoto (Playhouse, 031-557 2590, 30 Aug). The Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence man comes to town.

The pride and joy of Greenwich: Head south of the river this weekend

'Greenwich has its own sense of humour - a cynical, knowing sense of humour.' After seeing lifelong Greenwich resident Malcolm Hardee's act, The Greatest Show On Legs, you may wonder whether 'knowing' is quite the right word. Although hardly the highlight of the Greenwich Festival which opens today, Hardee's legendary strip balloon dance at his own Up the Creek comedy club ('Jongleurs without the A-levels') reflects the organisers' desire for the festival to retain a strong local identity.
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