The Week in Arts: Frankly, these bands are fooling their fans

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What's in a name? In the pop world, pretty much everything. Names sell. Two days ago the record producer Trevor Horn organised a charity concert at Wembley Arena for the Prince's Trust. A much-hyped highlight was the first performance for years by one of the biggest names of the Eighties, Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

What's in a name? In the pop world, pretty much everything. Names sell. Two days ago the record producer Trevor Horn organised a charity concert at Wembley Arena for the Prince's Trust. A much-hyped highlight was the first performance for years by one of the biggest names of the Eighties, Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Only, it wasn't quite Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Missing was the group's outlandish singer, Holly Johnson, who fell out with his bandmates some time ago. Yet, Holly Johnson was the only Frankie well known enough to write his autobiography; he was the only Frankie whose face appeared in the papers for years; he was the only Frankie whose name was known by even the most casual music fans.

So what exactly is the point of Frankie Goes to Hollywood without Holly Johnson? Not a lot, I would argue. But then the question of whether a band should keep its name after the departure of a prominent player is a tricky one.

It seems reasonable enough for Blur to continue being Blur after the departure of guitarist Graham Coxon, though it would seem unreasonable if the leaver had been singer Damon Albarn. The Libertines still feel very much The Libertines despite the absence of Pete Doherty. But it was clear in the early Seventies when Paul McCartney formed a new band that he could not possibly call it The Beatles. Then again, it was less clear cut when Pink Floyd's singer-songwriter Roger Waters left the band whether the name could continue without him. Waters took legal action and lost, and the name continued with the band remaining a global phenomenon in live performance.

There doesn't appear to be any consistent rule. Bands with well-known brand names are obviously unhappy about losing their name when they lose personnel, and having to get recognition all over again. Some accept fate. The Grateful Dead announced the end the night their best-known figure, Jerry Garcia, died. Most are more reluctant. On the oldies circuit it can get completely ridiculous. Slade still tour, but without their singer and best known personality, Noddy Holder. It's a muddle, but surely when one person personifies a band, it's not being quite above board to boast about the band's return when he is absent.

In the Seventies, after Alex Harvey left the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, the others called themselves SAHB Without Alex, a rare example of band name integrity in the pop world.

There was nothing illegal about putting on Frankie Goes to Hollywood without Holly Johnson. But morally it was a bit iffy.

Rattled by the song of the siren

I've always thought it exciting at Glyndebourne, but the mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena puts it better than I ever could. The opera star, who met the conductor Sir Simon Rattle at Glyndebourne's summer festival, and became his partner after working with him there, explained the intimacy of opera rehearsals with some memorable quotes in a newspaper article this week.

She said: "Promiscuity is typical of our world. In opera, you work with the same people for two months, you play together, touch, spend all your time together, and you create a world of your own where all these little affairs take place. They often end with the end of the performance, but one doesn't recognise whether one's emotion is real or one has just got fooled by the atmosphere of the two months. It is hard. And I know very few colleagues who can be faithful for all their life."

I now realise why Glyndebourne got rid of the rather quaint tennis court it had for singers and musicians. There just can't have been time to play.

¿ The producers of the West End play By the Bog of Cats, starring Holly Hunter, are boldly considering making the first night less artificial than usual.

Critics will sit with an audience of the paying public rather than invited celebrities. It sounds like a publicity ploy to me. Critics are rarely - if ever - affected by the unnatural first-night glee around them.

Now if the producers really wanted to give critics a taste of what going to the theatre is like for regular people, they would sit them in the upper circle rather than in the best seats, and make them pay for programmes, so that they could gasp at how expensive they are. I wonder if those brave By the Bog of Cats producers will do that.

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