News Hanging Rock is under threat

Protest meetings – and even a protest picnic - held at the site as petition with 5,000 signatures urges council to reconsider

No wonder so many young men are alienated when we eulogise this ape

YOU will not catch me blubbering because of the latest tragedy to have befallen the nation. Indeed, if we are to use the word tragedy to describe what happens when an unfit footballer is left out of a team what will we say when something really bad happens?

Welcome to the pleasure zone

Is a new interactive installation at the ICA art or massage therapy? By Judith Palmer

Pop review: Super Furry Animals UEA, Norwich

"Please note crowd surfing is not permitted," it said on the tickets. Ferried aloft like the packed lunches of some strain of giant ants, several students in tonight's audience gleefully ignored the ban. Earlier, SFA's shaggy-haired singer Gruff Rhys had confessed he felt tempted to sing a chorus of "Born in the UEA". When this pun at Springsteen's expense segued into one about "Surfing UEA", die-hard fans couldn't resist taking him literally.

Gazza drinks in the last-chance saloon

NOT FOR the first time, though just possibly for the last, Paul Gascoigne's off-field activities consumed about 90 per cent of England's press conference yesterday.

Rock: Saint Etienne almost get into the party spirit

DEPENDING ON which Saint Etienne fan you speak to, Sarah Cracknell, Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley can take the credit/blame for Britpop, Eurodisco, neo-lounge music, the Sixties film-theme revival, the indie-dance crossover, or any combination of the above. And maybe that's why they're not as successful as you'd expect. They're an oddity, neither one thing nor the other, and while bands from Air to the Cardigans have done well for themselves by focusing on one ingredient of the recipe each, Saint Etienne's sophisticated blend of Eighties electropop, kitschy orchestration and grey British lyrics about burnt toast and cold coffee has always been too confused to be wholly satisfying. The music tends to sound as if it's spent too much time hanging around with the glum lyrics. Try as it might to be fluffy and fun, it's too tired and undernourished to get into the party spirit.

Motown writers cash in royalties

LEGENDARY Motown songwriters Holland/Dozier/Holland do indeed know "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved You". They have just signed a deal that turns the royalties from songs like that into a cool pounds 60m loan.

Travel: Gone with the wind

Once you've got over your first ducking it isn't long before you're hooked on sailing. Eric Kendall messes about in a dinghy

Interview: Singin' on the range

Bernie Taupin, expat Englishman and author of a thousand unforgettable songs, has ended up ... herding cattle. Spencer Bright talked to him

Brunei saves face in pounds 180m deal

THE MOST expensive civil action in British legal history - between Prince Jefri of Brunei and two of his closest emissaries - was settled out of court amid speculation that the sultan had ordered his brother to put an end to all his court cases around the world.

Theatre: Adolescence - it's a difficult age to stage

TRADITIONALLY, teenagers on-stage are zombies. They slump on sofas, grunt unintelligibly and only listen to what's on their Walkmans. If you want to know what it is like to be 14 - or if you're 14 and want to see life reflected on stage - the Oxford Stage Company's production of Junk is a stark corrective. Melvin Burgess's disarmingly frank novel won two awards, hit the headlines because of its subject-matter, and went straight into schools as a "text" for teachers and a "resource" for Drug Educational Officers. Now it's on tour.

Pop: The approach to stardom

When Joe McAlinden arrives at the rather swanky Malmaison hotel in Glasgow's West George Street, there's no mistaking him. Superstar's frontman might euphemistically be described as "portly", his short red hair looks like it's just had a playful ruffle, and he's wearing the same pullover that he wore on Jool's Holland's Later. "It's my `Mars Bar jumper", he quips when I quiz him about it over our cafe au laits. "It's for work, rest and play."

The Things That Shaped Our Year: Gianni Versace

From the death of Diana to the birth of Dolly, and from the rise of Bridget Jones to the fall of the Spice Girls - our writers choose the 10 people and events which made 1997 so special

CV: BARBARA CHARONE director of press, WEA Records

Some nights you just want to go home after work, rather than see a band you don't love. But then you meet an unknown who 18 months later is a star

Pop on Record: Janet The Velvet Rope

Virgin CDV 2860

Who called the taste police?

All is minimal, all is tasteful, all is bleached beech and pan- fried kangaroo. Whatever happened to individual style? asks Eleanor Bailey
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
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South Africa
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there