Alice-Azania Jarvis

Alice-Azania Jarvis is a feature writer for The Independent

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In the Red: The dreaded call that tells me Christmas is coming

There comes a time, every year, when the calls start arriving. “Hi, is that Alice?” they say, bubbling with good cheer.

Days of the Commune, White Bear Theatre, London

Much is made, by the Gunpowder Theatre Company, of the fact that Days of the Commune is one of Bertolt Brecht's least-performed plays. Cynics might reply that there is a reason for this. This is a hefty, agenda-ridden account of the Paris Commune and as such it represents a challenge in any milieu – all the more so when that happens to be behind a South London pub during a grudge football match.

Gyms are on a spin cycle

It was 1989 in Santa Monica. Duran Duran, Roxette and Bon Jovi blasted from the radio, while Madonna implored fans to express themselves. The fashion-conscious wore leopard print, shoulder pads and plaid. The body-conscious headed to Johnny G's Spin centre to burn off 600 calories an hour. Born in South Africa, Johnny Goldberg had moved to the US a decade earlier, working as a personal trainer and taking part in a host of endurance cycle races. One night, while out training on his bike, a passing car narrowly missed him. It was then he had the idea of taking cycling indoors. Spinning was born.

DVD: Prom (U)

There is a lot about Prom that's surprising – in that it is, in fact, totally unsurprising. It follows every plot twist in the Book of Disney Clichés, something which – in the age of Mean Girls and Easy A – seems enormously out of place.

Communal plates: Who said it's good to share?

On the rare occasions that my boyfriend and I go out for dinner, the conversation will, at some point, assume a familiar format: "Can I have a bite of that?" I ask, ignoring the protective arm curled around his plate. He protests, I insist, and eventually he relents, fussing that I might contaminate it by digging in my fork. Indecisive and naturally greedy, it is impossible for me to sit opposite someone and not want their food.

I love you (just not the way you are)

It's an age-old story: boy meets girl, they fall for each other – then she sets about trying to turn him into someone else. Alice-Azania Jarvis wonders what's really going on

How Britain fell back in love with baking

Forget MasterChef, now we're all in love with The Great British Bake Off. As the show reaches its final tonight, Alice-Azania Jarvis discovers why comfort food wins

Last Night's TV - The Truth about Child Brides, BBC3; Home Cooking Made Easy, BBC2

They're beginning to lift the veil

How to make it sizzle: Modern chefs are elevating steak to an art form

But what makes the difference between a decent grill and a connoisseur's cut? Alice-Azania Jarvis finds out
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Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions