Arts and Entertainment

A sideways look at the world of music

Double Take: 'I Go to Sleep' - Peggy Lee/The Pretenders

Robert Webb's guide to pop's most intriguing cover versions

The grateful undead

Too young to die, too old to rock'n'roll? Not if you're Paul or Mick or Keith or Tina or any one of a host of Sixties rockers back from the grave and back on stage. Personal trainers, wig manufacturers and St John's Ambulance brigades stand by...

Review: Nostalgia is never enough

Ray Davies, The Storyteller; Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Behind the song

You know the hit, but do you know how it came to be written? What was the inspiration? Today: Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks

Wednesday's Book: Waterloo Sunset (Viking, pounds 14.99)

A very English group, the Kinks were a hybrid of music hall and Noel Coward on electric guitar. At first they sounded like a garage band. Their three-chord smash hit "You Really Got Me" showed no sign of the mordant, world-weary melancholy to come. But in 1966 Ray Davies gave us "Waterloo Sunset", one of the most beautiful pop songs ever written. It's a perfect vignette, a classic English weepy.

Waterloo's Greatest Hits

Thirty years ago, this was a busy week in pop music. Scott Mackenzie's only hit - "San Francisco (be sure to wear some flowers in your hair)" - hit the UScharts. In Britain, the summer of love was a less glamorous affair. The new arrival here was "Waterloo Sunset" by the Kinks.

Ray Davies Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Ray Davies made his audience wait one and a half hours before finally allowing us to hear the opening riff from "You Really Got Me", played as it was meant to be, on an electric guitar. Not that anybody minded: we knew it would come in the end. Several times he teased us with those great chopping chords banged out on an acoustic guitar at the beginning of a completely different song, or in the middle of a story about the Kinks' original eight-watt amplifier. But Ray and his "band" (one musician, called Pete) remained strictly unplugged for the first 90 minutes of his show. Arriving on stage, carrying, for unknown reasons, a battered suitcase, Ray Davies launched straight into "Victoria", a song not about the great British railway station but about the great British queen. Who should never be confused, of course, with "straight" Kinks drummer Mick Avory. Poor Mick, Ray informed us with a lewd grin, unwittingly won the affections of Brian Epstein in those heady days of 1964.

THE CRITICS : Harry and the hamster - you heard it here first

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL : COMEDY

The old devils

At the age of 80, Lord Young of Dartington has become a father again, only months after marrying his 37-year-old third wife. Jeremy Hamand examines the rising trend of late fatherhood and marriages between old men and young women, while Lesley Gerard speaks to six couples who have confounded friends and relatives. Photographs by Zed Nelson

HOW WE MET: RAY DAVIES AND NED SHERRIN

Ray Davies, 52, was born in London. He founded the Kinks, with his brother Dave, in 1963. He has also written music for musicals and films, including Absolute Beginners and The Virgin Soldiers. He lives with his wife in Surrey; he has three daughters from previous relationships. The director, producer and broadcaster Ned Sherrin, 66, was born in Somerset. His successes include That Was the Week That Was, The Virgin Soldiers and Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell. He now chairs Radio 4's Loose Ends. He lives in London

PETER YORK ON ADS: No.94: Tango

I HAVE to admit that I want my free Tango doll, as advertised on TV, and may very well buy an orange- flavoured carbonated drink to get it. I can't quite explain the appeal of this object - it looks like a cross between Kermit dyed orange and a voodoo doll (though much more hip and spacey than either) - but it is testimony to something. Perhaps I want to buy in to the advertising and its attitudes. Perhaps I need a holiday.

Melange of emotions

Music: MELTDOWN; South Bank, London

600 more jobs to be axed at VSEL

BY RUSSELL HOTTEN
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