It’s not easy for professional football players to acquire a reputation for being more stupid or badly behaved than common opinion already holds.

Perfectly balanced concert by the Brindisi Quartet


CLASSICAL MUSIC : All buttoned-up for a winter evening

Brindisi String Quartet with Barry Douglas Wigmore Hall, London

Cholera action

ROME - Italy said it would appoint a special commissioner with pounds 41m in emergency funds to confront a cholera scare after a fifth case of the disease was reported yesterday.

Football: Roy central to Forest's ambitions: Foreign fields: A Dutchman inspired by new horizons clips his wings to stimulate a revival - Richard Williams meets the striker whose move to England has galvanised a club

HE'S ON his honeymoon just now, so you can't really believe a word he says. You want to, because his eyes are so bright, and the words come out in an eager rush and float serenely away in little bubbles of enthusiasm. But there's no point in looking for perspective in the words of a man in love.

TELEVISION / Putting police and criminals in the same frame

VINCENT BROWN, a man with a face like a parboiled ham-hock garnished with a yard brush, is also a man of wounded dignity. The News of the World had called him a 'lager-swilling crook' and a '23-stone slob'. Sitting in Hiccups, the Hendon wine bar where he worked as a bouncer, he drank his lager with an extended pinkie, as if to demonstrate to the world the delicacy of his manners. Lager, yes - crook, maybe (he confessed to having been persuaded by a police informer to supply an illegal shotgun) but 'swilling'? Say not so]

DANCE / The real thing: Judith Mackrell on the formidable Cristina Hoyas at Sadler's Wells

Cristina Hoyas may not have been born a gypsy and inherited flamenco by blood - but from the first moment you see her on stage, you know that she's the real thing. Standing in profile, her torso slightly bowed and her arms curved out in front of her, the tension coiled within her body makes her as fascinating, dangerous and hypnotic as an attacking snake.

Up in smoke

Italian police used tear-gas yesterday to break up a demonstration of more than 100 contraband cigarette-sellers protesting against a law meant to force them off the streets, Reuter reports from Bari.

TRAVEL Baroque of Ages: Churches, shops and cafes in Lecce, Italy, groan beneath the weight of exuberantly carved stone. Jonathan Glancey begins a series on cities that reflect the great architectural styles

IN BRITAIN, the opulent style known as baroque was a Protestant affair; elsewhere in Europe it was a voluptuous, three-dimensional expression of Catholic triumphalism. Magnificent examples of buildings in this essentially 17th-century style abound in southern Germany, Austria, Portugal and Spain, but the home of baroque was, and remains, Italy. Its starting point lies beneath the architectural focus of 17th-century Catholic power - the dome of St Peter's in Rome.

Migrant workers attacked in EC

BELGIAN police are protecting Sikh farmworkers following a firebombing incident, while in Italy hundreds of migrant workers from Africa were escorted from a town in the Puglia region after attacks by groups of angry local people. In both cases, local authorities were intent on playing down the racist aspects of the attacks. Across Europe, however, attacks on migrant workers and refugees are rising dramatically. There were 54 racist murders in the European Community last year, most of them in Germany.

MUSIC / A purely Victorian lapse of taste: Nicholas Williams on Richard Strauss's melodrama Enoch Arden at the Almeida Opera Festival

Answering for Strauss's little- known melodrama Enoch Arden is like explaining away the indiscretions of a favourite uncle. Dark secrets have a habit of reappearing; this one surfaced at the second concert of the Almeida Opera Festival in London on Sunday afternoon. Ian McDiarmid read the poem majestically while Yvar Mikhashoff followed the tale from the keyboard with suitable changes of musical mood. Neither, however, could disguise the unspeakable lapse of taste that is the true nature of the crime.

MUSIC / And the rest was silence: Meredith Oakes on the world premiere of Kevin Volans's Rimbaud opera

'You don't understand,' I heard someone say to his companion during the interval on Friday. 'For the Almeida, this is quite good.' Anyone familiar with the Almeida's laudably eclectic commitment to new music will know what he meant. But he didn't need to hedge his defence. We were at the premiere of The Man Who Strides the Wind, and Act 1 really was quite good.

MUSIC / Making an exhibition of itself: Stephen Johnson visits Aldeburgh

WHY DOES 'well-presented' sound like veiled criticism? Peter Paul Nash's concert of his own and others' music at Aldeburgh was extremely well-presented: scripted links full of penetrating observations, professionally delivered, and music juxtaposed in ways that threw unexpected lights in all directions.

Lessons of History: Conquest that created harmony: Last weekend saw the 1,500th anniversary of a miracle whose impact was not only religious, writes John Julius Norwich

THERE IS something curiously threatening about Monte Gargano in Italy; something even a little ominous about the way it rises so sharply and suddenly from the wide plain of northern Apulia - an immense, looming mass of limestone, its darkness emphasised by the little white-painted villages sprinkled across its slopes; shouldering its way some 40 miles out into the Adriatic.

MUSIC / The old fashioned new fashioned: Stephen Johnson on David Matthews' 50th birthday concert at the Purcell Room

We've been through The Shock of the New, and already the shock of the old is beginning to lose its edge - if that's quite the word. These days there's no surprise in finding a composer cultivating traditional forms and manners; the surprise is in finding it done well.

Letter: Churchill knew about mustard gas

HAVING been stationed in Bari at the time of the air raid in December 1943 ('US Navy tested mustard gas on its own sailors', 14 March), I was amazed when some 30 years after I read the book Disaster at Bari by Glenn Infield and learned of the cargo in the SS John Harvey which blew up and caused so much suffering.
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