News

Beyoncé called a halt to her concert in Nashville on Saturday night after news of George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict had filtered out.

MALE ORDER COMEDY

Comedian Geoff Schumann rolls up his ample sleeves and pitches into the sex war this week with Waiting to Inhale (below), a new character- based sketch show parodying Whitney Houston's women-bitching-about-men movie, Waiting to Exhale. Before launching himself on the comedy circuit, Schumann spent seven years teaching sociology at Acton High School, an experience which gave him not only the skills for observational humour but "a captive audience until three thirty every afternoon". Conversationally, waiting for Schumann to inhale is a thankless exercise. The man mountain talks a million miles a minute and audiences get their ears chewed about everything from virginity, pregnancy and PMT to why it is all black women want a guy like Alan from East Enders. ("He makes Frank Bruno look like a streetwise raggamuffin, doesn't he?"). So is Schumann getting his own back on women? "I'm not being nasty," he insists, "I'm just trying to redress the balance, explain things from the male perspective." The debate on the gender divide will run and run, but Schumann's comedy proves that confessional incontinence, at least, is an equal opportunity sport.

The bodyguard, the chess master and model vie for a taste of power

on the unlikely set of campaigners in the Russian city of Tula's elections

Christmas on the cusp of sadness and melody

ANDY GILL ON ALBUMS; Various Artists Just Say Noel Geffen GED 25107

Does not compute. Does not...

Comedy? Character development? Why try to extend Arnie's range when he's so good at doing robots.

They have a lot to smile about

It's the hit that's taken America by surprise, a black, middle- class feel-good movie with women in the leading roles (all of them positive). joined US audiences whooping or whimpering in the aisles

Obituary: Phyllis Hyman

Given the right breaks, Phyllis Hyman's soulful voice might have reached as many millions as Whitney Houston's, Patti Labelle's or Gladys Knight's have. Instead, Hyman had to settle for a cult following on the R&B and jazz scenes, though she did shine on Broadway in the early Eighties.

Are you an orificionado?

To survive the noisy Nineties, buy earplugs, advises Wendy Holden

Celebrating the sound of silence

Mention Radio 3 and most pop youths will squint at you like you're some crusty old slipper-wearing square. They'd be in for a surprise if they ever thought to tune in to The Music Machine (5pm R3), a breezy daily music magazine which encompasses all sorts of genres, from classical through pop to world music and beyond. "People think they know what Radio 3 is," Tommy Pearson, presenter, says. "We're trying to prove them wrong."

Guess what? I've got a message to ring Elvis Costello

THERE is a message on my answer machine from Elvis Costello. He wants me to ring him. When you join the wonderful world of showbiz, you quickly find yourself meeting all sorts of famous people. I've had dinner with two Beatles and a Rolling Stone;I've said "hello" to Whitney Houston and shared a cab with Larry Adler. But Elvis Costello is different from all these because he was one of my heroes between the ages of 15 and 17. I call these "the critical years" because if I meet a hero from this period, there is nothing I can do to stop myself reverting to my teenage self. I grin, giggle hysterically at their jokes, go bright red and hyperventilate. When I was 15 my great Aunt Nancy gave me a book of Alan Bennett plays, and I thought he was the bees knees. He lives round the corner from me now, and I occasionally see him in the street and start to shake. I can't help staring at him until he eventually locks eyes, and after a couple of seconds of embarrassed silence he tends to say "'lo". " 'Lo," I reply too loudly, and shuffle past him as fast as my fat legs will carry me.

POP / Secrets of staying single: Why has an old Troggs tune been No 1 for three months? Nicholas Barber reports

HOW PROPHETIC those lyrics seem: 'There's no beginning, there'll be no end.' Today we find out if Wet Wet Wet's 'Love is All Around' is at No 1 for the 15th week running. Already it's been there so long that people are starting to think it's the signature tune of Top of the Pops. Another week and it will equal Bryan Adams's '(Everything I Do) I Do It for You' as the single with the most consecutive weeks at No 1 in the British chart. The inevitable question is, Why why why? What makes a record a record-breaker?

The man with the golden pen: Lawrence Kasdan

Lawrence Kasdan is best known as the director of 'Body Heat' and 'The BigChill'. But he has also written some of the biggest box-office hits of alltime. In an extract from 'Projections 3', he talks to Graham Fuller about 'The Bodyguard', 'Raiders' and 'The Empire Strikes Back'; while (panel, right) Quentin Curtis looks back at a prolific career

FILM / Hits of 1993

Steven Spielberg's 'Jurassic Park' fulfils the hype by crushing the competition and scaling the top of the 1993 box-office chart (grosses calculated from 4 December 1992 to 28 November 1993). Even with the advantage of opening six months earlier, the runners-up - the Whitney Huston / Kevin Costner weepie 'The Bodyguard' and Macauley Culkin reprising the role that made him in 'Home Alone 2' - took less than half as much at the box-office. It's a sad reflection on Britain's film industry that every film in the chart was produced in America.

BEST-SELLERS / Top 10 Videos

----------------------------------------------------------------- BEST-SELLERS TOP 10 VIDEOS ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 The Jungle Book . . . . . . . . . . pounds 12.99 2 The Bodyguard. . . . . . . . . . . .pounds 10.99 3 The Muppets' Christmas Carol . . . .pounds 13.99 4 Sister Act . . . . . . . . . . . . .pounds 8.99 5 Beauty and the Beast . . . . . . . .pounds 12.99 6 Take That: Live at Wembley . . . . .pounds 10.99 7 Dracula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pounds 10.99 8 Bottom: Live . . . . . . . . . . . .pounds 12.99 9 Bad Golf Made Easier . . . . . . . .pounds 9.99 10 Roy Chubby Brown: Rise and Rise . . pounds 14.99 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Chart supplied by Virgin Megastore, 14 Oxford St, London -----------------------------------------------------------------

REVIEW / Me and you, and baby too: At Sheffield Arena, Whitney Houston danced, sang and introduced her new baby. Joseph Gallivan sat in the stalls and went 'aaah'

After all, it's not as though she needs the money. When your latest album has just sold its 23 millionth copy and everybody on the planet has seen the movie (The Bodyguard), you don't hack around the arenas of Europe with a husband and an eight-month-old baby in tow for the cash. No way. Whitney Houston does it because she loves the sound of her own voice. Fortunately, so do the rest of us.
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform