Arts and Entertainment

A sideways look at the world of music

Golf: Qatar not a problem for Sherborne

GIVEN that Andrew Sherborne was shocked to see a television documentary describing his home town, Portishead near Bristol, as one of the worst areas for drugs in Britain, it might be wrong to term this likeable golfer as streetwise. "I've never seen anything. It's been blown up out of proportion," he said.

Hockey: Wright named in England indoor side

Sam Wright, who played her first competitive hockey of the season for Slough on Sunday in the Indoor League at Crystal Palace, has been selected by the national indoor coach, Pete Atwell, for England's team to defend their European title in Orense, Spain, over the weekend of 23- 25 January.

Coastguards send their last messages in Morse code

Any mariner thinking of learning Morse code to send out that vital SOS message might be better off practising their breast stroke. From midnight tonight no one will be listening. Stephen Goodwin, Heritage Correspondent, reports on the decline of a mechanical language.

Hockey: England preparing to reign in Spain again

Last weekend England's women began their preparations at Lilleshall to defend in Spain next month the European indoor title which they won last year in Glasgow.

Rock: Very good at being themselves

Portishead Is not just the name of a band. It's the name of that band's second album, and it's the name of their hometown, just outside Bristol (the show in the Brixton Academy on Wednesday began with "Welcome to Portishead" signs flickering on the backdrop), a town which must have mixed feelings about losing its identity to the renowned pioneers of post- hip-hop haunted-house lounge music.

Rock: Undeniably, Beth is back on top

Portishead, Dublin Olympia

Rock: Lyric Sheets

lyric sheets martin newell

Pop singles, dance & albums charts

SINGLES

Pop: Album Chart

1 Urban Hymns Verve

At last! A replacement Dummy

One Of the many pleasures of the arrival of the new Portishead album is the hope that the characters in This Life might now stop playing the last one, Dummy, which has pretty much been done to death in the three years since its appearance. The group's Geoff Barrow has even commented on the unwanted "fondue-party" factor attendant on its amazing popularity across all known social boundaries. Indeed, so familiar had the formula of Dummy become that there was a real danger that any follow-up would be superfluous. But Portishead (Go! Beat, all formats) is both a seamless continuation of the group's signature sound, and a deeper version of what went before.

Pop: Albums On Record

Portishead Portishead Go! Beat 539 189-2

Mono Cafe Blue, Bristol

When Mono's debut single, "Life in Mono", came out last year, it seemed almost impossibly modish and beguilingly retro at the same time. A perfect pop song built on a slow, rumbling, trip-hoppy, dance beat, with a John Barry soundtrack sample (from The Ipcress File) forming the backdrop to a pouting female vocal, it was Portishead meets Francoise Hardy in Burt Bacharach's bio-morphic kitchen, as filmed by Richard Lester. By the time the album came out at the beginning of this month, however, the Zeitgeist had moved on and there was a danger that the group would be left wearing the conceptual equivalent of thin, black knitted ties when everyone else was into fat, silk kipper jobs. You could almost hear the sound of Burt's kitchen being stripped down for a Habitat rustic-pine re-fit. Happily, though, Mono's songs are built to last.

Everything But the Girl Hammersmith Palais, London

It was all fields around here when Everything But the Girl started out. That was when an acoustic guitar, bad hair and a cardigan was all you needed to persuade forlorn undergraduates that their grant cheques would be better spent on your winsome tales of love gone astray than a Darkness at Noon study guide. It worked for a while, hence the emergence of an entire generation who can quote every sleeve note from the Eden album, but not a solitary word of Arthur Koestler. But the times, they a-changed. People started dancing. Yes, dancing. And not even in an ironic sense. Acoustic guitars were tossed on the bonfire (all right, so it was a metaphorical bonfire, but you get the gist). Which left Everything But the Girl looking anything but fashionable. So they changed.

Dash it: after 160 years Morse code receives a goodbye message

BRITAIN: Satellites are replacing a star of many dramas, writes Roger Dobson

Rock: Nice face, shame about the lyrics

"They're coming home, they're coming!/ Bush are coming home ... !" It's not just Tony Blair who has appropriated the "Three Lions" refrain. When Bush's fans weren't chanting the band's name over and over, like the bit in the Only Fools and Horses theme that leads up to the chorus, they were applying Skinner and Baddiel's words to their own national heroes.
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