Rob Sharp

Rob Sharp is a freelance journalist specialising in arts and culture. He was on staff at The Independent from July 2007 to December 2011, first as a features writer, and then as the paper’s arts correspondent. He has written for a wide range of newspapers and magazines. For more information visit his website, www.robsharp.com or email him at rs@robsharp.com.

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Emergency: more puddings please, Heston

It is the ultimate middle-class nightmare, and likely to cause mayhem in the aisles: Waitrose has sold out of its Heston Blumenthal's Hidden Orange Christmas puddings, forcing desperate customers to bid up to £150 for the desserts on eBay.

Tim Minchin

Fantastic Mr Minchin wows the West End

Comedian earns acclaim for musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic surreal novel Matilda

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991

Skill or skullduggery? Damien Hirst gets a major UK retrospective

The ultimate symbol of the art world's excesses will form the centrepiece of the first major British retrospective of Damien Hirst's work next year at Tate Modern. For the Love of God, the diamond-encrusted skull which notoriously sold for £50m in 2007 to a consortium which included Hirst himself, will be housed in the gallery's huge turbine hall for nearly three months. As the world struggles with economic troubles, some of the artist's best-known works, many of which have sold for millions, have been chosen to showcase British art during London's Olympic year.

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991

Has Damien Hirst jumped the shark?

Tate Modern will host the artist's first British retrospective next year. But critics are divided about whether he deserves it

The Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy

That'll teach them – mural records Duffy's rift with exam board that banned her poem

Poet Laureate's work is enshrined by Leeds school in a giant wood-cut artwork

2003: One of the Priddy Circles, with sinkholes and ditches clearly visible

Not a Priddy sight: man held after Bronze Age stone circle vandalised

A man has been arrested after a set of Bronze Age earthworks more than 4,000 years old were vandalised.

Judge puts library cuts back on shelf

A High Court judge has ruled proposed library closures in Somerset and Gloucestershire are "unlawful", reversing the decision to close them and creating fresh hope for those seeking to challenge library service cutbacks nationwide.

Nurse goes from children's wards to literary awards with first novel

Christie Watson makes Costa shortlist only three years after quitting job to study creative writing

Bookshops attack charity tax breaks

A battle has broken out on the high street after bookshops attacked charity shops for using tax breaks to undercut them.

The Last Supper, 1495-1498, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan:
Impossible to transport, as it is painted directly on to a wall, this is Leonardo's second most famous painting, and shows the last days of Jesus. It began to flake as early as 1517, and has been the subject of a series of restoration projects, the most recent of which was completed in 1999.

Who needs the National? Where to see the world's other Da Vincis

If you can't face the new blockbuster show, visit these instead

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Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003