News

Most brothers of the groom use their best man’s speech as an excuse for some mild teasing and emotional childhood tales.

Design: One-Storey Wonder

It was a Seventies bungalow in Sussex, without a great deal of style. Now it's been transformed into a family-friendly haven of design. Dominic Bradbury drops in

Liza Minnelli, Coliseum, London: Queen of cabaret wows adoring fans

It might all be in the genes, but second-generation stars often struggle to live up to expectations and match their parents' success. Not so Liza Minnelli. A celebrity for all of her 62 years, the daughter of The Wizard Of Oz star Judy Garland and the director Vincente Minnelli has done a better job than most, even if she owes more of her current notoriety to the antics of fourth husband David Gest than the fact that, in 1989, she made the best Hi-NRG record of all time.

Album: Flight of the Conchords, Flight of the Conchords (Sub Pop)

Comedy and music mix as well as oil and water, but Flight of the Conchords – the Grammy-winning New Zealand duo of Radio 4/HBO fame – are one of the rare and precious exceptions.

The Pet Shop Boys/Madness, Heaven, London

The Pet Shop Boys' stock has been gently sinking for 15 years. Since perfecting their English art-disco with Very, the consistency of the sleekly subversive pop singles that made them dance culture's Kinks has been lost. How much Neil Tennant confirming he was gay also contributed to their commercial slide is a matter for their audience's consciences. But in Heaven, the often gay nightclub, the Pet Shop Boys' enduring quality and meaning becomes movingly clear.

Gays apologise for Sir Elton's act with 'cub scout strippers'

THE GAY rights group Stonewall has apologised after Sir Elton John caused outrage by performing a dance act with male teenage strippers dressed as boy scouts at a benefit concert.

ROCK & POP CHOICE

THIS WEEK BLUR

Pop; ALBUM REVIEWS

The Beastie Boys `The Sounds of Science' (Grand Royal/Capitol)

Rock & Pop: Shameless, absolutely shameless

Michael Bracewell sees integrity and irony entwined as the Pet Shop Boys launch their new show in New York

Design in Britain: Coming up with the goods

From chocolate to needle-free syringes, each Millennium Product encapsulates a specific aspect of innovative British design. By Nonie Niesewand

Arts: Pop: B-sides on display

BLUR ELECTRIC BALLROOM, LONDON

Your chance to fight `dumbing down'

IT WAS billed as one of the great national shared experiences of the century. And once upon a time the BBC might have wheeled out a Dimbleby or two, or at least some of the best scientific names in the land. Yet its coverage of Wednesday's eclipse was regarded by many critics as dismally banal, left to the talents of children's presenter Jamie Theakston and the breathy Philippa Forrester, with help from the Pet Shop Boys and the Radio 1 Roadshow. No wonder the anchorman Michael Buerk seemed embarrassed at moments like these:

After the jokes, it's down to the real business of editing

Janet Street-Porter, the new editor of this paper, answers her critics and says what's in store
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project