Arts and Entertainment Sam Bailey sings

Who will be leaving the competition tomorrow?

Dance : Not exactly glad to be gay

THE POSTER shows a man with his head in a polythene bag, features pressed flat in an ugly, ecstatic gasp. You read that this is a dancer who treats his own body like a lump of meat. Yet nothing can prepare you for the experience of Nigel Charnock. It's not the obscenity that's shocking, nor the lack of dance, but the exposure of Nigel himself: Nigel unzipped, Nigel unbound, Nigel's very existence arrayed on a slab. It is not a pretty sight, but it's riveting.

POP MUSIC : What a guy. What a swinger

In case you didn't already know this, Tom Jones - the man with the incredible swivelling hips - is now hip. His audience at the first night of his three shows at the Hammersmith Apollo was full of cool people wearing black clothes. (including Chr issy Hynde, the lead singer of the Pretenders); his new album (The Lead and How to Swing It) has been produced by men with names like Youth and Flood, and they've got Tom Jones to do some rapping on it. Rapping! The man is 54, and he sounds like he inven ted Nineties dance music.

Shirley Bassey

(Photograph omitted)

Lives of the great songs / Bridge over troubled water

ART GARFUNKEL sang this song, but Paul Simon wrote it and he thought it could have turned out differently. 'The demo of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' will show you that it was a much less grandiose thing than the record. It was a humble little gospel hymn song with two verses and a simple guitar behind it . . .'

Crowning glory

Whether it's a small blue beret or a hat piled three feet high with fake fruit, hats are back and are back big. Though prices are steep, a couture milliner will create a unique hat for every day or special occasions. Most work by appointment only and will expect you to bring an outfit with you to the first fitting. Top designers will usually have their season's collection samples to choose from which they can personalise or adapt. Some will even make your own personal design from scratch (bring your credit cards).

If they can make it there . . . they can keep it there

I WAS listening to the Radio 4 programme called Postcard from Gotham on Saturday, in which various New Yorkers were talking to Mark Steyn about abortion and Barbra Streisand. Separately, that is. They talked about abortion first, and whether it was really murder, and then they talked about Barbra Streisand's approach to a song and whether it was really murder, and during the course of this discussion someone let drop the fact that Ms Streisand was very popular with the gay community - and immediate1y I understood why I didn't like her singing.

Obituary: Don Phillips

Don Phillips, pianist, died Hertfordshire 24 February, aged 80. Played with stars ranging from the Marx Brothers to Shirley Bassey and had a long musical association with the singer Dickie Valentine. Won an Ivor Novello award in 1958 for an outstanding contribution to popular music. Composed songs for the Eurovision Song Contest including 'Love is the Same Everywhere', sung by Matt Monro.

Letter: Neither classless nor classy

JOHN MAJOR has again proved to have no understanding of the way in which the institutions and people of this country operate. His new honours list seeks to implement his vision of a classless society; it fails miserably. Some 70 assorted bus drivers, traffic wardens and midwives are honoured amid the usual collection of civil servants, actors, sports administrators, businessmen and elderly Tory MPs.

Coales' Notes: Going round in dress circles

MONDAY: This morning the Pipeline Radio people were pressing me to accept a ticket to the Sunset Boulevard premiere. They saw 'Andrew Lloyd Webber: has he pulled it off again?' as the number one issue for Thursday's phone-in.

William Donaldson's Week: Done for hopping out of season

IT MAY be all over, I think, between me and Penny, my beloved. I suspected this when I discovered that the musical cocktail cabinet belonging to her fat regatta man plays 'The Last Wasted Evening', from Don Henley's The End Of Innocence album, rather than our song, which had been 'My Way', the Shirley Bassey version.

Recovery: Clubbers get down as the economy turns up: Fresh activity on the disco floor is a reliable indicator

ANYONE looking for further signs of economic recovery need go no further than their local night-club. The mandarins at the Treasury may not agree, but the country's 1,800 discotheques see themselves as a very reliable economic indicator.

ROCK / Shaky rattles and rock's rollin' again

I HAVE seen the future of rock'n'roll and his name is Shakin' Stevens. Christened Michael Barrett, Shaky was born in South Wales at around the same time as the National Health Service, and he looks in much better shape. On stage at the Dominion, he straddles the generation gap like a Brylcreemed colossus. His commercial heyday may have passed - in the Eighties he spent longer in the British singles charts than any other performer - but his uniquely benign brand of showmanship still delights young and old, and Shaky flags still flutter proudly in the air conditioning.

COMEDY / Cut out and peep: James Rampton reviews Ennio Marchetto

ENNIO Marchetto obviously attended the Julian Clary School of Comedy. The school motto is: 'Think of a joke, then base your whole act on it.' The Italian performer's joke is to mime along to operatic and pop songs with a cardboard cut-out of the singer stuck to his body. (He is a bit like an all-singing, all-dancing version of those seaside attractions where you stick your face through a mural and instantly become a calorifically challenged person in a Victorian bathing-costume.) Fortunately, like Clary, Marchetto keeps it up rather well.

ARTS / Show People: The rise and rise of big voice: 46. Jane Horrocks

AN EVERYDAY scene in Islington: playwright Jim Cartwright has come round for a cup of tea with actress Jane Horrocks (who has been in the stage and TV productions of his first success Road). They're sitting in the back garden and she's talking about the showbiz voices that she's imitated since childhood. 'Go on then', he says, 'do some for me.' So she does her Shirley Bassey and her Marlene Dietrich. He finishes his tea and says he's going off to write a play: she doesn't think any more about it.
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