Simon O'Hagan

Simon O'Hagan is Editor of Independent Voices

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I hope the news that rowing caused Andrew Marr’s stroke won't put anyone off exercising

As I'm a similar age I know it's easy to get carried away. The urge to prove something to oneself – which may indeed be a middle-aged male thing – is strong

The Saturday Quiz

1. Africa's busiest airport serves which city?

The Saturday Quiz answers

1. Justin Bieber.

The Saturday Quiz

1. Who recently turned 19 and tweeted, 'Worst birthday ever'?

Album: The Leisure Society, Alone Aboard the Ark (Full Time Hobby)

Spring may be slow to arrive, but musically the sun is shining thanks to the third album from this most English of bands – confirmation of what an exceptional talent is their songwriter Nick Hemming.

The Saturday Quiz answers

1. Rimbaud and Verlaine.

The Saturday Quiz

1. Which two 19th-century French poets are honoured in London with the first blue plaque celebrating a gay relationship?

Changes: Bowie’s stage costumes show a career in development

Review: David Bowie is - We all know he's Major Tom. But did you know David is also Ground Control?

Britain's roads weren’t up to much in 1972. There were motorways, but long journeys still needed careful planning – all the more so if you were David Bowie and had Ziggy Stardust to transport to all corners of the UK.

Saturday Quiz answers

1. Leonard Cohen.

The Saturday Quiz

1. Which major singer-songwriter is also the author of the 1966 novel Beautiful Losers?

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Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick