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Sex and savagery won't be tolerated

LAST week it was drugs, this week it's sex and rock'n'roll. George Michael, who has just bought John Lennon's piano to keep it in Liverpool, made a scathing attack on manufactured bands, such as the Spice Girls and Take That. Pop culture, said the ex-Wham! star, has been wrested from artists who tried to change history into providing tunes for bored children in the playground, he complained.

A bit unfair on former Take That star, Robbie Williams, who is doing his bit for posterity by donating pound;50,000 to St Margaret Ward, his old school in Stoke-on-Trent, to help turn it into a performing arts college.

Modern movie makers have come in for some stick as well. Lord Attenborough, a veteran of the British film industry, has accused Guy Ritchie, the director of Snatch and Lock, Stock, etc, of promoting the "pornography of violence". He said: "Violence on screen is much worse than sex. It makes us lose the capacity to be shocked or moved."

Thegenteel world of Mills and Boon could be shaken by a dose of realism as publishers are facing calls to print health warnings on book covers. American psychologists reckon their idealised romantic scenes encourage women to have unsafe sex. Whatever next?

The race is on to find the Toy of the Year - the award launched in 1965 when it was won by the James Bond Aston Martin car with hidden extras. This year, retailers say that traditional favourites such as Barbie, Thunderbirds and Bagpuss, are topping the list. Next year, it might even be Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, who are making a comeback on the Beeb in January. Little Weed has been given a greater role, a makeover and a more varied vocabulary - not hard to do.

And now a cautionary tale: traffic police have identified a new breed of affluent men they've nicknamed "Bambies" - born again middle-aged bikers who are a danger to themselves and others on the road.

Diane Spencer

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