The Saturday Miscellany: Long-running musicals; Alan Sugar; How the Light Gets In; Roger Kasparian; Cathy Azria



Some musicals never die. On and on they go, reducing coach-loads of tourists to tears and keeping West End producers in champagne.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera opened in 1986; since then, 130 million people have surrendered to the music of the night, giving it the highest box-office revenue of any theatre production, (its sequel Love Never Dies was less successful).

Les Misérables opened at the Barbican in 1985 – and has become the world's longest running musical. Based on Victor Hugo's novel, it overcame poor reviews to win the public's heart. The film repeated the trick; Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" didn't hurt either. Do you hear the people sing? With Les Mis, you really, really do. The winner: Les Misérables.

Holly Williams


Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1989
Subject: Re: Proposal

Dear Mr Bernerslee,

Thank you for writing. I was interested to read your blah blah plan about blah blah can you insert the details Janice they're in his electronic mail thing.

I'm a busy man so I'll be blunt. Your idea about this interweb that will give 'universal access' to lots of documents worldwide sounds OK if you're some kind of librarian, but I really can't see it taking off. So wot if I can 'access' an article by some dago boffin in Bwaynos Iriz? I dont see the point. I have quite enough to read in the Daily Express. And you say it's not supposed to make money – are you off your trolley? I'm not a charity.

Yours blah blah

Alan Sugar

PS: This place you live, Cern – is it near Essex? Drop by if you're near, I'm looking for an apprentice.


Dear Ellen

I can't help glancing at texts when they pop up on my partner's smartphone. Should I look away?

Yes. When you hear their text tone, silently repeat this mantra: "I respect my partner's privacy, as he/she respects mine". Before long, you will feel Zen-like calm. Your dignity demands it.

Ellen E Jones


Charlie Cooper


Thought, music and sunshine: get your tickets now for How the Light Gets In, the world's largest philosophy festival at Hay-on-Wye, in Wales, 23 May-2 June;


Rare black-and-white shots of Sixties icons including Van Morrison and Marianne Faithfull by photographer Roger Kasparian at Snap Galleries. Until 22 June, London SW1,


In the hope of more evenings spent outside, why not invest in one of Cathy Azria's 'outdoor fireplace' sculptures for the patio? From £2,430,


Laura Lea

* Dan Brown’s latest novel, ‘Inferno’, is out this month; worldwide sales of his books top 200 million copies

* 5.1m: Number of copies of Brown’s 2003 thriller ‘The Da Vinci Code’ sold in the UK

* Since 1998, the various editions of the Highway Code have sold 4.8m copies

* 71: Number of novels James Patterson has authored in 33 years. The US writer’s work was most borrowed from UK libraries in the past decade

* 48: Pairs of black ankle boots owned by British bestseller Jackie Collins, who claims to have had an affair with Marlon Brando when she was 15 (he was 29)

* 10,509,988m: Number of copies of  EL James’s ‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy sold in the UK last year

* The average yearly earnings of a self-published author are £6,375

* 149% Increase in sales of fiction ebooks from 2011 to 2012, with sales of £172m

* 400: The number of bookshops that closed down in 2012


1.Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown tackles Dante's Inferno for new book: The Independent

2. The top 100 bestselling books of all time: how does Fifty Shades of Grey compare?: The Guardian

3. The top 100 bestselling books of all time: how does Fifty Shades of Grey compare?: The Guardian

4. Library lending figures: which books are most popular?: The Guardian

5. The jackets Jackie Collins almost never wears twice: Wall Street Journal

6. Top 100 bestselling books of 2012: The Guardian

7. Stop the press: half of self-published authors earn less than $500: The Guardian

8. Publishing Industry Continues to Grow with Sales of Consumer ebooks rising by 134%: The Publishers Association

9. Bookshop numbers halve in just seven years: The Daily Telegraph

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