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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam