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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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

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Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
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Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
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As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

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Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
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'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
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