Ready Steady Go! may be the most fondly remembered 1960s pop TV show. It lasted barely three years, fading out, at the end of 1966, before it could outstay its welcome – like the sharp singles it helped to promote. Ray Davies and the producer Vicki Wickham's one-night-only revival for Meltdown can't resurrect the social club the studio became for the Beatles, Stones and Kinks, or the young dancing Mods who were almost trampled by careening cameras. The minimal set – a couple of period photo-decorated signs – is a letdown. But somehow, the spirit of pop at its most warmly creative catches light again.
The intention of this live slice of comedy history was to commemorate some of those who shaped a new comedy scene in Britain, but it served mainly as a reminder that “alternative comedy” was often not as funny as it thought it was.
This time last year, a relatively unknown singer/songwriter named Rumer was celebrating the culmination of a decade-long slog for recognition with her first record deal. Since then, the 31-year-old hasn't wasted a moment making up for lost time.
Robin and Lucienne Day were the most glamorous, influential design couple in post-war Britain.
The Saturday Column
A veteran artist has a history. And, it could be argued, a responsibility.
The programme for Richard Thompson's Meltdown festival carries a photograph of Thompson in his salad days – taken, probably, in the late Sixties or early Seventies, some time around his founding of Fairport Convention and his marital and musical union with Linda Thompson. A little Nick Drake-like, he gazes wistfully off-shot. It feels iconic. But while for a lot of people Thompson's name might ring a bell, ask them to hum one of his tunes and you'll probably draw a blank.
Sprightly Cale still sparkles
You can only imagine Rachid Taha's reaction if he were to know that his early career as a DJ mixing Western and Eastern records in a Parisian nightclub in the 70s would lead him eventually to the throbbing makeshift dancefloor of the Royal Festival Hall's first two rows three decades later. It would probably be a cause of some jubilation for a man who's prided himself on his ability to cross geographical and stylistic boundaries.
Bryn Terfel arrived in the capital armed with countless sneers and as many ways to make mischief. His latest album, Bad Boys – a comprehensive gallery of operatic rogues and villains – was now a tour, and there was a big, glossy, souvenir programme to prove it.
A sumptuous production of Thomas Arne's Italian-influenced opera, and tributes to Keith Volans, Steve Reich and Sibelius
After Trevor Nunn’s futile attempt to turn The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess into a book and song musical how bracing to return to the through-sung original where only the whites get to speak – or rather are denied the gift of song.
The alternative prince still rules
At the close of their 5-day residency at London’s South Bank Centre the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra played “Nimrod” from Elgar’s Enigma Variations with such unbridled fervour as to suggest that Venezuela might be our last remaining colony.
The wheel of fashion never stays still, but it’s possible that the last seven days may leave an enduring residue, in the form of belated public acceptance that classical music can be as stylish and exciting as any race or any ball-game.
Haydn's interpretation of Christ's last words and an exceptional reading of Bach's St Matthew Passion