Books: Pick of the week - To "E" or not to "E".
Saturday 27 March 1999
Banishing the letter "E" was only the tip of the experimental iceberg. Dip into the new Atlas Press treasury, The Oulipo Compendium, and discover hundreds more enigmatic parlour games to have emerged from Oulipo's Workshop for Potential Literature. Compose a poem without using any of the letters in your girlfriend's name; write a novel using no word more than once; or bastardise a classic text by substituting every noun with the word seven entries away from it in the dictionary of your choice - "To be or not to be: that is the quibble."
The Nux Vomica cabaret club pays homage to Oulipo tonight, with a soiree of dotty performances. Rene Eyre and Matt Fraser unveil a lipogrammatic striptease, Stephanie Mass terrorises classic French chansons, amidst poems, films, and readings from the sacred texts of Oulipian masters.
If you find yourself in a less avant-garde frame of mind, The Word festival provides plenty of alternatives. This afternoon Booker prize-winner Ian McEwan reads from his latest work. And in tonight's poetry gala, Ariel Dorfman, Margaret Atwood and Simon Armitage together with Derek Walcott perform their work.
Irish Nobel Prizewinner, "famous" Seamus Heaney, heads for the Barbican on Sunday, for an unmissable musical collaboration with uilleann piper Liam O'Flynn. O'Flynn contributes the traditional airs, laments and dances, while Heaney digs deep into his collected works.
Nux Vomica Oulipo Soiree Senso: Albert Hotel, 191 Queensgate, London SW7 (0171-490 8742), tonight, 8pm - 2am, pounds 8/pounds 6 concs: Ian McEwan, LSE Peacock Theatre London WC2 (0171-863 8222), today, 4.00pm, pounds 6.50; Poetry Gala; LSE Peacock Theatre, London WC2 (0171-863 8222), tonight, 7.45pm, pounds 12/pounds 10 concs: Seamus Heaney & Liam O'Flynn; Barbican, Silk St, London EC2 (0171- 638 8891), tomorrow, 7.30pm, pounds 8.50-pounds 20.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
Best underrated Christmas movies from Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food