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Pop shots

Next time you're mooching around the Virgin Megastore, squinting at the tiny artist photos on badly printed CD inlays and wondering if the artists are actually good looking enough for you to buy their wares, worry not. Put away that scanning electron microscope and skip up to the second floor, where your senses will be assaulted, at no cost to your sensitive pocket, by the Q Photographic Exhibition. Massive prints of classic Q shots of famous artists over the years will be hanging on the wall in the brand- new gallery space, in stunning colour and trs cool black-and-white - shots of Blur, the Rolling Stones, Michael Stipe, Leonard Cohen, Paul Weller and many more. Even the Stone Roses (above left), although their emulsion compulsion didn't stretch as far as, say, getting out of bed and putting on some decent clobber. Q photographer Ken Sharpe says of the 1990 shoot: "It was really strange because they were really obnoxious and arrogant... [but] as soon as we'd finished, they all turned really nice..." Such are the winsome vagaries of rock and, if you will, roll photography.

ROCK / Shane's fairy tale of new work

''YOU better give him a bloody good report,'' said a Shane MacGowan fan who spotted my notepad at the end of the concert. Anything to oblige: at London's Forum, MacGowan didn't keel over or forget the words, and he revealed that he has a singing voice and not just a raw roar. His new band, the Popes, were up to the job, particularly guitarist Paul McGuinness, a karate-kicking Bruce Willis lookalike. The crowd shouted along to the punky new single, ''That Woman's Got Me Drinking'', as much as to rollicking old favourites like ''Dirty Old Town'', and they shouted a carousing chorus of ''There's only one Shane MacGowan''.

ARTS / Outside Edge: James Bloom on the new sound of political protest

LAST THURSDAY saw the opening night of the Velvet Revolution, a nationwide tour of art and music against the Criminal Justice Bill.

State of the unions: The cheap beer and hep band experience is spreading as student unions open their doors to a wider public. Alister Morgan reports

University . . . the best days of your life? Perhaps it's the sporting opportunities that you remember; or maybe those two- hour philosophy lectures on Wittgenstein? Whatever the case, few graduates can forget that unique blend of college discos and cheap alcohol. For many, such nights are little more than a blurred memory (more often the result of past inebriation than passed time). Now many of those spartan gym halls you left behind have been transformed into some of the nation's most attractive night-spots.

Joseph Gallivan on pop

It was Jerry Dammers who wrote the song 'Too Much Too Young', but Terry Hall (below), lead singer of the Specials at the time, sang it with conviction. Now he's 35, he lives in the Warwickshire countryside, his three kids are at school and he's back on the road. But this is not just another case of a Golden Age pop star getting old and ordinary, struggling to rationalise his past and reclaim the limelight with a shred of dignity. Terry Hall is still cool, even after the Fun Boy Three, Colourfield, Terry, Blair & Anoushka, and Vegas. His continuous creativity is akin to Paul Weller's, and he's about due for a similar critical renaissance. 'It's taken me 14 years to get a solo career together,' he says. 'I won't say I get bored with my bands, but bored is the nearest word.' These days the Terry Hall sound is a mellow, middleweight pop with his usual melancholic lyrics sung in that reedy voice. He's been working with Andy Partridge, Nick Heyward, Chris Sharrock of World Party and Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds. 'We all grew up loving the Kinks and the Beatles and like that style of writing, or at least that feel. But I've stopped worrying about other artists, it just dilutes your own work. You have to stick to what you do best.' His new songs are more relationship-specific than ever, but that, he says, is because he's been with the same girl, Jeannette, for 20 years. 'I wrote a song called 'Forever J which is about each person accepting that the other is no Mel Gibson or Elle MacPherson, but being happy together on a day to day basis.' So has the man who sang 'Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think and 'It's all a load of bollocks - and bollocks to it all] gone soft?

Tired of London? Far from it: Taylor Parkes wonders what's got into a lot of young boys' heads

Right now, nothing is more fashionable in pop than the cockney accent, the dandy flourish; the whole devalued currency of London pop. Perhaps as a reaction to all-American grunge more and more young groups are adopting a nostalgic vision recycling the precious sepia-tinted imagery of The Kinks and Madness.

ROCK / Not even star of his own band

THE TITLE of Bryan Adams' compilation album, So Far So Good, says a lot. Despite spending almost a third of 1991 at No 1 with '(Everything I Do) I Do it for You', Adams is still pretending a wheel could fall off any minute. His appearance at Wembley Arena was all about this strange contrast between phenomenal record sales and self-effacing blokedom.

Locks, stock and apparel: The Belle Stars' former singer now sells pristine Sixties fashion to collectors, says Tony Marcus

Two decades of fashion collide inside Dredd Experience, a tiny shop in the West End of London. An Ossie Clark black crepe nightgown fit for a vampire queen hangs next to some neatly pressed denim safari suits from the Seventies; matching hippie smocks and flares in wildly embroidered chiffon nuzzle up against a rack of Sixties slimfit button-down shirts.

ROCK'N'ROLL / Things are what they used to be: Primal Scream made the best record of 1991. Tomorrow they release the follow-up. David Cavanagh talks to their leader

FIRST, the inevitable jokes. Give Out But Don't Give Up by Primal Scream is the album of the year - 1972, that is. One listen to it will confirm what everyone suspected - rock'n'roll is the new comedy. It's great to hear the Stones sounding so good again. Etc, etc, etc.

Peter Greenaway Competition Winners

ON 13 February we ran a competition to win videos (18; Electric) and CDs (Koch International) of Peter Greenaway's The Baby of Macon. We had a very good response, and many readers correctly identified Sacha Vierny as Greenaway's cinematographer, but the first 15 names out of the hat were: Robert Watts of London SW6; Diane Greenwood, London NW11; S Dustan, Edinburgh; D Parker, Leicester; Martin Carter, Sheffield; Julie Gordon, Salford; Alan Moore, Greenock; Hugo Burchell, Coulsdon; A Simmons, London N16; D Andrews, Chichester; G Bromley, Lowestoft; J Medcalf, Brighouse; David Hoddell, Newport; Paul Weller, Harrow; Gary Moss, Belfast.

ROCK & JAZZ / At last, a style to call his own

ANYONE passing along the southern edge of Hyde Park this week may have noticed a smouldering ruin where the Albert Hall used to be. The culprit showed the Heritage Secretary not only a clean pair of heels but also an expensive pair of shoes. That man Paul Weller: he came and he rocked.

REVIEW / No mod cons, thanks: How to go from mod to hippy in a little under 15 years - Jim White watches Paul Weller wow the Royal Albert Hall

According to the biographical notes in his glossy 'Match Day' programme, Paul Weller suffered several years of total creative block after he turned 30 in 1989. Four years on, the prose suggested, he had emerged from the darkness a wiser, stronger, more mature performer. When he popped, with minimum fuss, on to the Albert Hall stage it was immediately clear that one thing. at least, had changed. The Weller hair, on which hours of creative work had been lavished over the years, had been left to its own devices. From the darkness it had emerged as a naughty schoolboy mop with, apparently, a total block on shampoo.

ROCK / You people deserve to hear this right: Al Green returned to the London stage this week, raring to stop and start. Jim White watched him at the Royal Festival Hall

THE audience was so cool it looked as though it had had a head-on incident with a truck-load of liquid nitrogen: Paul Weller and Roland Gift merely two of many there to pay homage. Al Green, king of soul, champion of gospel, had condescended to bring his show to England for the first time since flares were last in fashion. Certainly the master of ceremonies was in no doubt: 'Welcome to a genius, the fabulous Mr Al Green,' he said. At which the spotlight picked out an embarrassed young man, carrying a briefcase, dashing head-down across the stage. This, it turned out, was not Al Green, nor were the three plump backing singers, nor the trio of Memphis Horns who followed, set up behind their microphones and began to pump out the unmistakable sound of spine-tickling funk.

MUSIC / Never Jam today: Paul Weller - Royal Albert Hall

'HRRMPH. Not like the drugs he used to take,' said a loud Geordie to his mate as they wended their way through the corridors of the Albert Hall after Paul Weller's Tuesday night show. The confused punter was not alone in expecting some speed-fuelled rants from the Jam catalogue, followed by a dollop of the Cappuccino Kid's sweet jazz balladry from his Style Council days. But, as Weller wearily points out in every interview, he can't stand the idea of resting on his laurels and churning out a hit parade.
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