Brian Viner

Brian Viner swapped London for the Herefordshire countryside, and his column ‘Country Life’ documents his attempts to chase the rural idyll. Chiefly a sports writer, he pens a weekly sports column and interview for the paper. He is the author of 'Ali, Pele, Lillee and Me: A Personal Odyssey Through the Sporting Seventies'.

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Jackie Leven, Scottish songwriter and folk musician

Jackie Leven

Further to your obituary of Jackie Leven (17 November), when I was writing a book about the British on holiday, and wanted to include a chapter on cruising, a mutual friend put me in touch with the singer-songwriter, who in his droll Scottish manner told me about his experience as the "entertainment" on a two-week cruise of the Norwegian fjords in 2002.

The best spinner in the world, Graeme Swann

Graeme Swann: Swann goes below the surface

The Brian Vinet Interview: The shock of seeing cricketers jailed for corruption has forced the England spinner to look beyond the 'bubble' of his own success

Gary Player (right) says golf brings people together. It seems Ian Woosnam is in agreement, even if the majority of people would beg to differ

John Gosden: 'Flat racing is in peril. the future is in the East...'

The Brian Viner Interview: John Gosden talks frankly of his fears for the British racing industry's future, and eloquently puts forward a rescue plan

Dan Lydiate: 'I woke after the op and wiggled my toes...I was just so happy'

It takes Dan Lydiate about three minutes, on the family farm in mid-Wales, to shear a sheep. He uses the Bowen technique of shearing, but three minutes won't gain him much respect when he arrives some time tomorrow in New Zealand, where the Bowen technique was invented, and where a quick shear takes 45 seconds. What might gain him some respect, however, is his ability to play hard, direct rugby. The big blindside flanker made his international debut for Wales in 2009, but it was not really until this year's Six Nations, in which he excelled, that he made the No 6 shirt his own.

Guus Hiddink: Flying Dutchman

You manage Chelsea Football Club at your peril. So how come the latest man to take on the task is succeeding so spectacularly?

It's cricket, Geoff, but not as we know it

If Michael Vaughan's second-in-command were called Spock rather than Trescothick, there is little doubt that he would by now have murmured "it's Test cricket, captain, but not as we know it".

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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn