Eating Out: A jewel in middle England

RESTAURANT BOSQUET

ETCETERA / Design Dinosaurs: 12 The Hostess Trolley (CORRECTED)

CORRECTION (PUBLISHED 24 APRIL 1994) APPENDED TO THIS ARTICLE

Number One looks after you

NUMBER ONE BAR BISTRO

CLASSICAL MUSIC / Baroque on a positive roll

THERE ARE good historic precedents for governmental neglect of the arts, and they include the fact that in the late 17th century there were English court musicians living destitute because their salaries were four years in arrears.

FOOD & DRINK/ Eating Out: Where to find a famous Belgian

THERE were not one but two celebs eating supper on tables near mine at Belgo last week. I got two celebs, a full belly, a couple of glasses of delicious ale, an incredibly small bill and loadsalarfs with the fancy-dress waiters - all in the space of one happy evening. What an amazing place.

Travel: Starved in France

WHEN does service at a restaurant cease to be merely relaxed and become downright slow? And when do you decide it is time to write the whole thing off?

Bottom Line: JM and Cookson prepare a joint tonic

TO JUDGE from the smells wafting from the kitchen, something is cooking in the metals and materials sector between Johnson Matthey and Cookson.

Strippagrams are a bare-faced cheek: In a restaurant or at a party, the atmosphere is suddenly ruined. Andrea Adams objects

UNLIKE Lucky, the alsatian reported to have wagged his tail in delight when a curvy blonde stripped down to sexy undies for his birthday treat, I am still reeling with a sense of outrage after my first exposure to somebody else's strippagram. What I object to most is being compromised.

OPERA / Arias a la carte: Rosie Millard reports from Arundel on a company that caters to tune-starved commuters

'IT'S THE combination of opera and eating, I think,' says Elaine Holden, manager of First Act Opera Company. 'I thought it was the most brilliant idea when I joined the company. I still do.' In the words of one of its fans, First Act Opera equals 'Classic FM with food'. Performing an unashamedly populist programme of opera hits at pizzerias, brasseries and private functions, it aims to bring some of the ambience of Covent Garden to Network SouthEast land, converting hundreds of pizza- munching commuters into opera buffs as it goes.

THEATRE / A flightless bird

Elizabeth Egloff's The Swan at the Traverse is a desperate plea for romantic love from the snow-covered wastes of modern Nebraska. Egloff couches her message in the idiom of the contemporary adult fairy-tale, a device which in this instance creaks more and more loudly as the play's activity increases.

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold: Trollope: lost genius

NO DOUBT I was out at the ungodly hour at which the literary editor of this youthful newspaper chose to telephone, but he - or she (]]]) - failed to get hold of me to ask me to contribute my list to the annual 'Books of the Year' feature. It is not for me to say, of course, but it seemed to me that my absence left something of a gaping hole in the feature. To my mind one can have a little too much of the book choices of what one might call the Blue Stockings - of both sexes]]] - who comprise today's literati.

MUSIC / Proms: BBC Welsh SO / Hickox - Royal Albert Hall

Once upon a time, new music was the bitter pill to swallow before the main course, but for this Prom the audience grappled with Beethoven before arriving at the sweet certainties of John Tavener's We Shall See Him As He Is. This year Tavener is every music festival's sine qua non: is the originality waning, or is originality the wrong concept? As the opening cello phrases struggled to emerge from the Albert Hall silence, this felt like Return of the Protecting Veil. Richard Hickox kept the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra on course throughout a piece which at every instant threatened to lose momentum. As ever, banks of strings provide a shimmering surface, punctured by clangorous trumpet fanfares, swelling organ, thumping percussion and massed choral interjections. Of three vocal soloists, John Mark Ainsley had most work, his classical technique contorting to accommodate Levantine microtones and elaborate melismas - a fine performance. The piece lasted an hour. It could have been five minutes or five hours, since the original idea - devotion - is the only idea. I refuse to share Tavener's humility before the divine, but then his music has its own hubris as it repeatedly tries to outdo nature's beauty. Critics and composers, addicted to complexity, throw up their arms in dismay while Tavener cowers in serenity, his cocoon of faith rendering him immune to criticism.
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