Revived: The big mac of the Fifties: Hester Matthewman and Gabrielle Morris on the return of the plucky Pakamac

THE classic Sixties Pakamac is back - with attitude. 'Everything we wear is a statement about ourselves, and a Pakamac adds to your personality,' explains Ian McCall. He is the managing director of the Manchester firm Casket, which has redesigned, repackaged and relaunched the original foldaway raincoat.

Bunhill: Trotting on

BLAST from the past: Part One. Lord Kagan, the Gannex raincoat-maker who was made a life peer by Harold Wilson only to go to jail for 10 months for theft and false accounting, is moving into property development. His multi-million-pound scheme to redevelop the trotting racetrack between York and Harrogate includes a 'health village' for people suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer's. If he gets planning permission, how about Ernest Saunders to do the honours and cut the ribbon?

OPERA / Starless night: Raymond Monelle on La Boheme at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow

ELIJAH Moshinsky's production of La Boheme, with beautiful designs by Michael Yeargan that resemble a set of accomplished book illustrations, has become a Scottish institution. It is now in its fifth year and has seen a series of casts, including a few real stars. When we first saw it we were struck by what seemed perceptive novelties. The framing of Act One in a narrow rectangle made us think of a TV screen; the convertible set that permitted the transfer of the bohemians to the interior of the Cafe Momus, rather than its forecourt, reminded us that the first two acts take place on Christmas Eve when Paris is usually cold.

Aussie scrub-bashing with a machete: Marianne Brace talks to the Australian writer Helen Garner about wretchedness and work

MOST NOVELISTS would like to be required reading. Helen Garner, on the other hand, was 'rather shocked' when Monkey Grip featured on school reading lists in her native Australia. 'As I become older and more prim and puritanical, I think 'God - all that sex and drugs, and they let them read that stuff at school'.' It was this novel which somersaulted Garner into the Australian literary scene, winning her the National Book Council Award and cult status.
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