Student

The move, long rumoured, has finally been announced as part of plans to raise student numbers

First call...Last call

Like it or not, Christmas is fast approaching, and to ensure your share of festive spirit, book now for Raymond Briggs' The Snowman at London Sadler's Wells at the Peacock Theatre. It's the enchanting story of how a snowman comes alive, and befriends a young boy to take him on a magical journey. It is brought to life in this theatrical extravaganza as the boy and snowman fly over the audience. The show is on for eight weeks only from 8 Dec, so book early to avoid disappointment. Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, London WC2

Gomez a winner made in a garage

THE MERCURY Music prize for best British album was awarded last night to Gomez, a young five-piece band, exactly a year to the day since they signed their first record contract.

Debate: The Beatles were fab, but are we sticking to the safe old formulas at the expense of new talent?

Sixties and Seventies bands dominated the top 1000 albums published by Virgin last week. Andy Gill argues that commercialism is dumbing down standards. Julian Rolfe believes that the best albums are made today

Cries & Whispers: Mercury by name, mercurial by nature

THE SHORTLIST for this year's Mercury Music Prize was made public on Tuesday, and from the look of it, the committee had to put a few albums in there just to make up the numbers. One of the top 10, for instance, is Catatonia's International Velvet, of which the judging panel's spokesman said: "I would defy anyone not to be enchanted by the way Cerys Matthews rolls her Rs." He's right. I yield to no one in my admiration for Matthews's Rs, but the fact remains that International Velvet hasn't a hope in Hell of winning. The same goes for the albums by Robbie Williams, Propellerheads, Asian Dub Foundation, and probably Gomez. They're all enjoyable records, and they all deserve the publicity leg-up which is the whole point of the Mercury Prize shortlist (not that Robbie needs it), but I would defy anyone to put any of those albums on the stereo, sit back and listen, and say, yes, this is peerless. British music has reached no higher peak in the past 12 months. While it may not be plain to see which album will win the prize, it is clear which albums won't.

Music business denies slump

What do they mean by the 'Great Rock and Roll Dwindle'? Sales and exports are up, say label chiefs

Classical music: She's making plans for Stanley

Classical? Pop? Jocelyn Pook's work defies labelling. Which is why Stanley Kubrick signed her for his new film.

Pop: Still massive after all these years

He was big 30 years ago, but Horace Andy is singing sweetly to this day.

Pop Music: Opium from the Massive

MASSIVE ATTACK ROYAL ALBERT HALL LONDON

Hot stuff? Sadly, I don't think so

Grown-ups have fiscal might and a burning fear of losing touch to assist their pursuit of terminal trendiness

Divide and rule with the genre benders

Most artists find success by carving out a niche in one medium. Others won't be pigeonholed so easily. By Andrew G Marshall

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