Adam Jacques

Adam Jacques is a features writer for The Independent on Sunday.

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Lewis Pugh: The world's leading cold-water swimmer on pain, the plight of the penguins and taking time over tea

As a young boy I saw myself as Sir Edmund Hillary, and water as my Everest When Hillary and Tenzing Norgay walked up Everest, they didn't know whether they would be coming down again; it's a pioneer mindset. Similarly, as a cold-water swimmer, standing on the edge of the sea ice as you're about to dive into the black water is terrifying: I don't know what will happen by the end of the swim – or even if I will still be alive.

James Rhodes: The concert pianist on mental illness and opening up about sexual abuse

Somewhere along the line, classical music has been appropriated A guy walks on in a monkey suit and perpetuates the "amazing scowling genius shrouded in my own artistry" thing. Instead, why not introduce this guy Bach, who was surrounded by death – 11 of his children died in infancy, and then the love of his life dies – then play a piece he wrote in her memory. People will get more from it than by reading an Oxford don's programme notes.

Conan O'Brien: The chat-show host on the influence of Monty Python and the curse of James Dean

Monty Python was my generation's atomic bomb I watched a lot of British shows when I was younger; Python in particular changed everything in comedy, as they didn't have to have endings for their sketches; they did something only for as long as it was funny. It was sort of Picasso discovering abstract art; a huge leap forward. They still hadn't caught up in the US even 20 years later. I did Saturday Night Live for four years in the late 1980s and we had to narratively end these sketches, even when I only had three minutes' worth of a funny idea.

Indonesia's five-year-old child jockeys stare down death to stave off poverty

They hurtle without saddles at 50mph. Some will fall; a few will die. These are the child jockeys of Indonesia – and the youngest of them is aged just five

John Myatt: The artist and convicted forger on life and art in and out of prison

I'll always be known as the perpetrator of the biggest art fraud in history I'd go along to the Birmingham Art Gallery, study a painting by, say, Monet, then come back and invent my own hitherto-undiscovered Monet painting, using acrylic paint and mixing it with KY jelly. [Commissioned by his conspirator John Drewe, Myatt went on to sell more than 200 forgeries of famous 19th & 20th century painters between 1986 and 1994.]

Pascoe says: 'I'm shocked by the parochial mindset outside London. When I go back to Essex, where I grew up, I'm still appalled by the homophobia and casual racism and aggression'

Sara Pascoe: The comedian on Darwin's marriage issues, tutting at old people and her mountain of unread books

I don't want my comedy to be at the expense of others When I started watching comedy there was a lot of negativity about women; a lot of comics were spewing out aggressive, violent and negative material. It's easy to do a routine on Kerry Katona, say, but while Jo Brand has said that you can't have victimless comedy, I restrict my victims to dead people, such as Charles Darwin – or criticising ideas.

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