Well, it’s about time. The good people at the Wellcome Trust charity have given £60,000 to the Clerks choral ensemble to explore the science of misheard song lyrics. The initiative hopes that the research into mistaken song words – otherwise known as mondegreens – will give a clearer understanding of how we perceive music.

The Sixties? I was there ... I think


Captain Moonlight: Funky Phil is a right royal raver

SOMETIMES I think the Royal Family just can't win. Too posh for some, not highbrow enough for others. Take tastes in music. Some people might sneer when they read that the Duke of Edinburgh is a big Bee Gees fan; not the Captain. So taken was I by the revelation that the Duke has been known to get down at the Royal Yacht Squadron Ball in Cowes to the beat of 'Night Fever' that I commissioned an impression of the occasion. The Queen, I recall, has slightly less exuberant tastes. She used to like 'Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud' a lot. The Prince of Wales, for once, follows his father. His favourite 'group' has long been The Three Degrees (remember 'When Will I See You Again?' That was their big hit. It was some time ago, but the Prince has stayed touchingly loyal). The group will be here next month for an engagement at the Cafe Royal, and, I hear, a special performance for the Prince is in the offing. Personally, I find myself more in sympathy with the Queen Mother, for whom Flanagan and Allen are matched only by Gracie Fields, the Captain's especial favourite.

DIARY / Hurd enforces Kent no-fly zone

AT THE eleventh hour, Douglas Hurd is trying to prevent the reopening of one of Britain's most historic airfields because he fears it may be used for an aerial attack by terrorists on nearby Chevening, his official country residence. Upon learning last week that a Kent farmer, Timothy Barr-Smith, had gained both the support of English Heritage and Sevenoaks development control officers to reopen an airstrip built in 1909 at nearby Sundridge, the Foreign Office leapt into action to intervene.

THEATRE: How deep is their love?: Paul Taylor reviews Penetrator at the Royal Court

Life is certainly no picnic for the teddy bears who feature in Anthony Neilson's Penetrator, newly transferred to the Royal Court's Theatre Upstairs. As if they didn't have their paws full already (being forced to have sex not only with each other but also with male human beings), one of them is eventually held at knife-point by a maniac who threatens to give it him 'up the ass' if his owner doesn't confess to being a clandestine 'penetrator'. Teddy's slashed-out innards are soon, alas, cascading on to the carpet. By the end of the play, the stuffing has been knocked out of just about everybody.

Dear Robin, Barry and Maurice

Could this be the biggest thing in pop? Tonight the nation's favourite castrati have a gig with a planning committee.

ROCK / But where was John Travolta?

MIKE READ: age shall not wither him. Compering Capital Gold's Giants of Seventies Soul extravaganza at Wembley Arena, Read doesn't allow his composure to be ruffled by a profusion of technical hitches. The Wembley bar prices - normally a powerful incentive to temperance - have had no effect on this hardened crowd of superannuated soulboys, and these are not people to be messed with even when sober. Luckily, the acts themselves process smoothly. George McCrae ('Rock Your Baby') confounds those who believed him to be dead. The Real Thing counsel, 'Don't forget our new single, it's called, erm . . .' And the vocal harmonies of the Tavares are miraculously intact, though cricketing brother Chris is sadly missing. What exactly were the Bee Gees thinking of when they wrote the words to 'More than a Woman'?

TELEVISION / Small tragedy of two into one

Over 10 years ago, I was sitting in an examination hall staring at a paper called Tragedy. The only thing to penetrate my thrumming brain was a song then at No 1: 'Tragedy, when the feeling's gone and you can't go on.' The Bee Gees weren't of much immediate help with Oedipus at Colonus. In fact, they were the toothsome embodiment of a culture that had reduced tragedy to its new tabloid definition: the Heart- Op Hope Kid; Gazza's yellow card. High tragedy involved the fall of a great guy because of a fatal flaw, and would elevate the spirit. Television is now groaning with low tragedy (999, Fighting Back) that won't elevate anything except the ratings and is certainly not short on fatal flaws. But every so often you see a programme that transcends the grotesque or the prurient to produce something acutely moving, and so it was this week with First Tuesday's Katie and Eilish (ITV).
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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album