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Tickets to the ball

True gripes / Rock journalists

If you go to gigs regularly, you will already be familiar with rock journalists. You may even have spoken to one. But my beef isn't with any old note-scribbling journalists. No, I'm talking about a far more pitiful strain; the bad apples if you like.

Sam Fox bares her heart for Europe

The non-sexual Cockney sparrer has Eurovision in her sights. And, you could still take her home to mum, says Jim White

And there's still no snow in Africa

Ten years ago, `Do They Know It's Christmas?' was No 1. The song scribb led in a taxi chimed with the times. Giles Smith remembers that the price of a life then was £1.30; what price compassion now?

A star is born (perhaps): Angela Marray meets Wigan's reluctant answer to Marti Pellow

MY HEART was beating fast as the train pulled into Wigan station. Marti Pellow, lead singer with Wet Wet Wet, would be waiting on the platform. Or at least, the next best thing - John Finch. John who? John Finch, who swept to victory in the final of Granada Television's Stars in their Eyes, with a perfect Pellow impersonation.

ROCK / Return of the prodigal

THE BARS were never less than four deep. The amplifiers were draped in tricolours. The atmosphere was festive, approaching delirious. St Patrick's Night at the Clapham Grand would have been a ball whatever the merits of Shane MacGowan & the Popes, but this party had a significant hidden agenda: to welcome Shane MacGowan back to the peak of his powers. It was that good.

Review: The litter traits of feline friends exposed

ONE OF the less endearing tics of glossy magazines, from Titbits all the way across the block to Tatler, is an obsession with lists. In one column, it's who's in or the dos of shopping; in the other, it's who's out or the don'ts.

CINEMA / Looking after Number One: The Bodyguard (12)

WHY trust haircuts? They seem such frivolous things, mere chop and change, yet they remain one of the most accurate guides to cinema. Photographs of Harpo Marx at home show a mild, ordinary man; add the wig, however, and all hell breaks loose - a burst of blond bubbles, suggesting that his brain was made of bath foam. It was. Brando grew his hair long for Last Tango in Paris, which suited the louche old goat he was playing; then razed it off for Apocalypse Now, which was perfect for his bloated Buddha. But even he got it wrong with the white locks of Superman: most people thought he had just spent five minutes under a Mr Whippy dispenser. One glimpse, and you knew the film was a no-no.

ROCK / It's no longer so cool for cats: Stray Cats - Town & Country

IN 1981, the Stray Cats were a lively antidote to the over-produced new romantic pop of Spandau Ballet, Ultravox and the like. Relying on the bare bones of the semi-acoustic guitar, snare drum and stand-up double bass, the US trio of Brian Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom and Lee Rocker came on with a sound and a look Gene Vincent would have been proud of.

RECORDS / The sounds of breaking bones: Andy Gill reviews the week's new album releases

Tom Waits - Bone Machine (Island CID 9993)
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
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Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
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Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
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Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine