Simon Usborne

Simon Usborne is a features writer at The Independent and i.

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'Jihadi John': Why do we give notorious criminals nicknames?

Simon Usborne asks the experts whether these monikers make the grim sound glamorous

Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’

Cyber-crime thriller Blackhat used a former hacker to teach the cast to code

Mathematician and hacker Chris McKinlay seized the opportunity to help director Michael Mann achieve something film-makers often get really wrong

Right note: Simon Usborne turns the pages for Sam Haywood

The age-old art of musical page turning is under threat from the accursed iPad

Simon Usborne plays a game of man versus machine with leading British concert pianist Sam Haywood
Question time: Using I Ching in the 1950s

I Ching, Mark Rylance, and how to choose lunch

'Wolf Hall' actor Mark Rylance has revealed an ancient method of divination, I Ching, helps him to choose roles. A curious Simon Usborne sees how it influences his meal selection

Designs for Japanese life: the Shinkansen bullet train

Kenji Ekuan: From bullet trains to soy sauce bottles, the man who made Japan

Designer Kenji Ekuan, who died on Monday, brought the philosophy of a monk to his vast range of iconic creations. Simon Usborne assesses the impact of his life’s work

Bowing out: Robin Williams was remembered at the SAG awards last month

Why Bob Hoskins didn't make the final cut of Bafta's in memoriam slot

Video tributes to departed stars have become a standard part of awards ceremonies. But who decides who is included – and who is left out?

Simon Usborne meets the meerkats at Dartmoor Zoo

Zoo keeping for beginners: Mucking out with the man who inspired a Hollywood film

Simon Usborne takes a trip to South Devon to learn how to be a zoo keeper from the man whose memoir inspired a film - and soon finds out that the A-list cuteness hid some pretty mucky duties...
Fit for a queen: John Bercow had his family's nanny stay in the rent-free Speaker's apartment

A US politician spent $100k on 'Downton Abbey' office decor - but that's drab compared to some of Britain's corridors of power

Simon Usborne goes behind the scenes in Westminster to find out more about the modest - and not-so-modest - lodgings occupied by the UK's MPs

George Osborne with the Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, outside 11 Downing Street on Monday (Reuters)

Yanis Varoufakis: The Finance Minister who cooks a mean Thai meal, chats about art, and shoots hoops

Whether Greece's new Finance Minister, can sort out the economy is up for debate, but what a guy, says Simon Usborne

London's bike boom: 8 ways to keep the momentum

Bikes now make up around 16 per cent of traffic in Central London, yet cyclists are still facing some major uphill battles regarding safety and accessibility

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Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living