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

The old power generation

EXHIBITIONS I: There were red braces, there were wine bars - and there was the power glower. Peter York visits the new show at the NPG, to size up some of the faces of the Eighties

Animal magic nets pounds 40m for pet shop boys

NIGEL COPE

When small is no longer Beautiful

THE CRITICS Paul Heaton would require considerably more surgery than Paula Yates to look like Michael Hutchence; Tonight, Ian Broudie's tunes were as out of place as a Pet Shop Boys' T-shirt at a Black Sabbath concert

Through the professional looking glass...

The career path from practitioner to critic is a well-trodden one. Novelists review books, politicians opine in newspaper columns, retired sports stars slip easily in to the commentators' seats - success, it seems, qualifies you to hold forth at will. Not many make the leap the other way, from commentator to player, from critic to performer. Few noisy hacks in the press box would dare jump down on to the stage and assume the lead role, even if the chance arose. But a select few have made the unlikely move, with varying degrees of success ...

So why do we need Midler, Madonna, Patsy, Edina? Well, we don't

You'd swear it was the Second Coming, but it's just a club/record promo thing: another woman singer with a happy House anthem to sell. So here she is, in shades and Big Hair, miming to her Greatest Hit in front of a seething crowd of off-their-face faggots.

Momus The Philosophy of Momus Cherry Red CD BRED 119

The laconic anthropologist returns, with more hugely intelligent, hugely entertaining musings on contemporary mores. Whether speculating upon the sadness of things, analysing Lee Perry's paranoia as a self-fulfilling prophecy, or simply advocating androgyny, Nick "Momus" Currie's tone is urbane, witty and always perfectly measured: in these songs, he manages the difficult trick of applying a veneer of tinder-dry irony without betraying the essential sincerity of his enquiries.

Two ever so slightly irritated young men

Lee and Herring's comedy is for lazy, slacking dossers. James Rampton enters a world of hamster retreats and Whisperin' Bob Harris's till receipts

Teen dream that came true

They're 19, live at home, are the biggest pop idols since East 17 and a re very, very nice. John Lyttle has a Coke with PJ and Duncan Some time soon they plan to use the names they were born with `Did you see Byker Grove at the start? I was crap, man, crap'

Arts: The Rolf Harris factor: It pays to have a sense of humour about your image (even more so if it's laughable). Just ask Rolf Harris. Or Jim Bowen. Or Lulu. Just swallow your pride and cash in on post-modern irony. Jim White grins and bears it

Even Take That have caught a dose of it. When their British tour opened at Glagow's SEC on Thursday night, the young Mancunians had, they said, developed the best stage show of their career. There were pyrotechnics, there were micro shorts and bare buttocks, there was a wardrobe load of leather paraphernalia. And, in the finale, raised up above the boys' Chippendale- broad shoulders and wrapped in a lace dress, there was Lulu.

REVIEW / Kicking the World Cup into touch

FINALLY. Finalement. Endlich. It's been years in the pipeline, but the competition that pits the wits of the world's finest talents against one another, that mixes culture, ethics and entertainment in an unbeatable package, that keeps millions off the streets, is here. Finalmente. We all know which competition we're talking about, so there's hardly any point in mentioning it by name, but for the less sharp among us let's name it anyway: the BBC Design Awards (BBC 2).

Captain Moonlight: A Squidgy to call their own

DIANA evidently isn't getting any peace now she's separated, with policemen making fools of themselves letting her park where she shouldn't, and news reporters pursuing her all over the slopes. Small wonder. A disturbing number of otherwise healthy single men have been confessing to me their secret beliefs that the Princess will come round to them now she's ditched the impediment. They have dreams, fantasies.

RADIO / Safety in numbers

IN ANCIENT Egypt it was made of fine linen, in China of oiled silk, in medieval Ireland of a ewe's intestine - at least, Brian Boru's was. That old wolf in sheep's innards was discovered in a peat bog with all his effects intact: they included what experts agree could only have been his condom. The story of this small, useful piece of equipment was told on Radio 4 this week. Until quite recently, the very word was unmentionable. Salesmen, generally barbers, would enquire discreetly, Anything for the Weekend?

THEATRE / That Noel Coward, man he was cool . . .: Strange claims are being made for Noel Coward, 20 years after his death. That his plays have a life beyond those cosy West End productions; that, well, he's like hip. Biographer Philip Hoare presents the evidence

Tomorrow afternoon, on the lush green slopes of the north coast of Jamaica, Graham Payn and a small group of pilgrims will declare a rather suburban-looking white block of a house open. The house, Firefly, was latterly the domicile of a playwright whose birthday they will celebrate, and who was, at the zenith of his career, the highest paid author in the world.

Ice Skating: Cousins adds fire to the ice: Simon O'Hagan reports on the dashing blade with a score to settle

STEVEN COUSINS has tried a variety of music to accompany the routines which have taken him to the top of British figure skating. The Pet Shop Boys, Herbie Hancock, Phil Collins, Queen. All good to glide and triple-salchow to. And then he had this brilliant idea for next year's Winter Olympic Games.

The IoS Playlist: The five best discs of the moment

Vaughan Williams: Five Tudor Portraits, etc. Bach Choir, New Philharmonia/Willcocks (EMI, CD). Classic choral recording from the Sixties, now reissued. MW
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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'