I always played a bard as an optional 5th party member in D&D. I tend toward the more flexible style of bard rather than the spell caster. Thus your mileage may vary.
I would go with Savvy (Talent) Bard (Specialty). You get two instances of Free Hint with the corresponding AD if the GM refuses to give you a hint, If I Recall ... which is an excellent knowledge sponge and Beguiling which is basically a bardic music ability without the need for an instrument. The Well Rounded feat (from Bard) ensures that you'll never be untrained at whatever you do.
Assuming you don't go for a casting class, you could do worse than picking up The Gift as your level one feat. (If you're not near your books, it lets you grab a few Level 0 spells for utility use.) Polar Ray I is a must. Other good choices include: Dancing Lights, Detect Secret Doors, Feather Fall, Flare, Magic Vestment I, Touch of Light and Water Walk.
EDIT: I can't spell tonight.