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Wanted: someone who can do this: A vacancy for a singer has arisen in the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. The successful applicant will be fully fit, have plenty of bottle, fire in his eyes and an ability to murder the high notes. Not an equal opportunities employer. Joseph Gallivan reports

THROUGH the electronic gates. Past the football pitch with home and away dressing rooms. Along the gravel drive, past the red telephone box and up to the mock Tudor cottage and the private 'pub' next to it. Sitting at the bar in his Essex home, Steve Harris, Iron Maiden's founder member and bassist, is the man who has everything. Except for one thing. A singer.

BOOK REVIEW / Some like it hot, some like it dull: 'Marilyn Monroe' - Donald Spoto: Chatto, 17.99 pounds

THE paperback edition of Anthony Summers's 1985 book Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe carries the flash: 'The ultimate biography of the ultimate star'. But the copywriter must have known that, with Monroe, every pen is at best the penultimate. There will always be one more biography. At 750 pages, Donald Spoto's is this month's heavyweight contender.

TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Raves from the grave

Dr Kenny Kingston, 'medium to the stars', has been chatting recently to Marilyn Monroe. She has confided in him that she is coming back in four years' time as a man 'teaching psychology, which she has been studying on the other side for the past 15 years'. And Harry Truman has let Kingston - who drives a car with the registration number 'SEER KK' - into the secret that he has absolutely no regrets about dropping the atom bomb on Japan. L A REQUIEM (9pm C4), a portrait of the death industry in Southern California, is chock-full of such nuts. George Haggerty's documentary introduces us to the woman whose pet cemetery is bursting with 'celebrity animals' like Topper, Hopalong Cassidy's horse. We also meet a mortuary assistant who boasts of having embalmed John Wayne, and ManWoman, the self-styled Redeemer of the Swastika, who sees it as his mission to rehabilitate the Nazi symbol. He believes that it has been misrepresented; it really 'stands for the four rivers of paradise'. Just to prove his commitment to the cause, he has had Swastikas tattooed all over his upper body. Entertaining enough, but this left-field area has already been well trodden by Jonathan Ross.

Cashing in on the Golden Age of Filth

'YOU KNOW about her, don't you?'

Column Eight: Breaking in to Alcatraz

There's always the element of the unexpected at shareholder meetings. At Rank's annual meeting yesterday Charles Adams, a shareholder and freelance photographer, felt the urge to voice his concern over security at Butlins camps, part of the Rank empire, after a visit to a site in Minehead, Somerset.

BOOK REVIEW / Fat books in a world that wants to be slim

THE NEW year message from Britain's publishers is that they are cutting back. Several larger firms have announced that they are shrinking their lists by up to a quarter. This was widely supposed to be happening already, but in 1992 publishers' sails (if not sales) were anything but trimmed: 78,835 new titles were put forward, a 16 per cent increase over 1991.

Photographs of Marilyn Monroe to be auctioned

(Photograph omitted)

Garden Update: Blooming elsewhere

FLORA Photographica, the brilliant exhibition of flower photographs selected by the Canadian photo-historian William Ewing, moves today to the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, where it will be on show until 22 November. Among the early works are some of Fox Talbot's experimental images of leaves and flowers. There is also a cyanotype by Anna Atkins, one of the first women to explore this new art form. Marilyn Monroe is there too, clasping roses to her breasts. Andy Warhol dallies with iris. Admission pounds 2.

Blondes prefer gentlemen

FROM Mr Edwin J Bulloughby

Marilyn, still hot after all these years

Los Angeles - Marilyn Monroe would probably have been a trifle disappointed, given her status as sex goddess, universal icon, and major money-making machine, writes Phil Reeves. She might have poutingly observed that the occasion required something just a little grander.

BOOKS / Some like it not: Marilyn Monroe died 30 years ago - yet she is still an adored icon for pop stars and petrol-pump attendants. But do we really need more books about her life and death?

'Marilyn: The Last Take' by Peter Brown & Patte Barham, Heinemann pounds 17.50; 'Marilyn's Men' by Jane Ellen Wayne, Robson pounds 16.95; 'Marilyn' by Gloria Steinem, Gollancz pounds 3.99; 'Marilyn and Me: Sisters, Rivals, Friends' by Susan Strasberg, Doubleday pounds 14.99; 'Queen of Desire - Marilyn Monroe: A Fiction' by Sam Toperoff, Picador pounds 14.99
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