Arts and Entertainment

Let’s talk about sex, baby – and nothing but sex

Pop on Record: Janet The Velvet Rope

Virgin CDV 2860

Body & Soul

Toni Braxton has put the romance back into black music. Interview by Jacqueline Springer. Photograph by Jeff Stern

Obituary: Harold Melvin

Harold Melvin was one of the pioneers of the Philly Sound which now epitomises the mid-Seventies.

My old trouble

DILLIE KEANE on losing her hearing

'Barry may be the walrus of love. But Luther is the real thing'

Probing, insidious and effortless ... Luther Vandross's voice caresses parts other vocalists cannot reach. His fluctuating weight, the visible emblem of his vulnerability, just makes you love him more - even though he's just stood us all up. By Phil Johnson

Letter: Aretha's no softie

Aretha's no softie

CD-ROM review: The Music File File Productions, pounds 14

Produced in association with Mojo magazine, this CD-Rom runs only under Windows 3.11 or Windows 95. If you rely on the disk's readme.txt file for installation instructions, you'll be puzzled as it gets the names of the separate set-up programs for Windows 95 and 3.11 obviously mixed up. Go with the sleeve notes - they get it right.

LAST 5 RECORDS I BOUGHT: Jacqui Dankworth

Jacqui Dankworth, Cleo Laine's daughter, is becoming famous in her own right. Her new album is entitled Field of Blue

Wholesome goes wholesale

If you're a preacher's daughter, then market-friendliness comes at a price. Toni Braxton is a diva with a problem.

Wigan prevail in bruising contest

Halifax 4 Wigan 50

Today's ticket offer: Tina Turner

Today's ticket offer

let your fingers do the talking

FORGET tasteful French manicures or last year's short, dark Dietrichesque Vampish nails. Nail art, once a disastrous Seventies disco fad, is back, with the hippest nails sporting everything from tacky gold transfers to feathers, rhinestones, even chains. Formerly confined to the trashiest of trailer trash, nail art is now being sported by a new generation of Seventies revivalists. "Recently it's all the rage with clubbers and party girls ," says Pansy Alexander, 42, owner of the salon Nails to Go.

He's on the brink of mega-stardom, has a Hollywood home and a new Mercedes. But he still gets teary-eyed over gloomy London skies; the interview SEAL, SINGER, TALKS TO BEN THOMPSON

seal Henry Samuel is one of those names - like Prince Rogers Nelson or Madonna Louise Ciccone - that seem to destine their bearers for fame. Snowflakes nudge the Park Lane hotel room window as Seal, somehow contriving to sound modest rather than monomaniacal, says: "My manager tells me that I'm on the verge of becoming a megastar." Does he view this prospect with any trepidation? "I embrace it whole-heartedly ... that's what life's all about: embracing each experience as it happens, even if it's a bad one. Every experience is good in retrospect."

SHARPENING UP SAVILE ROW

Ozwald Boateng's leap from computer engineering to Savile Row has taken 11 years. Last week, his colourful arrival was made official with the launch of his new shop at 9 Vigo Street (just on the borders of "The Row's" territory, which has always extended beyond the actual street itself).

Jazz HAROLD MELVIN AND THE BLUE NOTES The Green Room, Cafe Royal, London

Imagine, for a moment, being Harold Melvin. There you are, a soul singer plying an unknown, unrecognised and unspotted furrow for 16 years, when, in 1972, your home town of Philadelphia unexpectedly becomes the centre of black music. As a local who can sing, you and your vocal trio are picked up, promoted heavily, wonderful songs are written for you and you start to sell international quantities of records. At which point you discover it is not you the world is interested in. It is your lead singer, Teddy Pendergrass, the leather-clad soul God, the original Theopholus P Wildebeest who woos the ladies with his sensational tenor and his bedroom demeanour.
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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us