Terence Blacker

The writer and broadcaster Terence Blacker contributes a twice-weekly column on a wide range of social, cultural and environmental issues. He is the author of four novels, of prize-winning fiction for children, and has written a highly praised biography of the brilliant reprobate Willie Donaldson.

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‘Play safe and always avoid risk’ is a sad lesson to teach our children

Kids these days have an exaggerated faith in formal qualifications over practical experience. What's wrong with them?

From the Pope's new Twitter account: Anyone know if it’s a mortal sin to end a tweet with OMG?

Through a quirk of predictive text, our writer is able to anticipate the pope's first batch of holy tweets

The greenbelt has untold social and, yes, economic benefits. We shouldn't need reminding

The think-of-the-kids banner always heralds some unwise and unpopular Government policy, proposals to build on the greenbelt are no exception

Kweku Adoboli outside Southwark Crown Court yesterday

The downfall of UBS trader Kweku Adoboli is another morality tale from the City. But have we learnt anything from the Great Crash?

We ought to have spurned the grabby ethic of the City - but did the opposite

Civility breaks out on a rail journey to hell

It seems that some of the Olympic good humour lingers on, even for commuters

Oldsters are wrong to fire shots at their offspring

An email from a grandfather bitterly disappointed in his children has reignited the young vs. old debate, and Philip Roth is showing his lighter side

A new officer class is required: one that has nothing to do with social class

Ties are going out of fashion and, with them, leadership itself, but it is when things are falling apart that we need authority most

Home from home: a scene from 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'

Thursdays in the Park and the undignified rise of grey sexiness

Thanks to Hilary Boyd's new book and films like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, late-flowering love is finally daring to speak its name

Scientists have been searching for aliens for 50 years

Close encounters: David Cameron, Piers Morgan and alien life

What would our world leaders and trendsetters do if they encountered extra-terrestrial beings?

The slow work of grieving in a headlong world

Maurice Saatchi feels it would be a "monstrous betrayal" of his late wife to move on

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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