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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The National Lottery is a national disgrace

This institution seduces punters into a pernicious fantasy of overnight riches and contributes to our something-for-nothing culture

Have the years mellowed Julie Burchill's other great enmities?

The world has gone mad if Julie Burchill can’t stir things up and cause offence

This row shows the sensitivity police are ever more powerful and vigilant

John McCririck is suing Channel 4 - but it's not age that holds him back, it's aging attitudes

John McCririck can’t complain about “ageism” at 72. The real problem is a certain sort of baby boomers who just can’t let go

Whatever your age, there’s an anxiety that’s just for you

The modern advice culture is enough to stress anyone out

Book of a lifetime: A Fan's Notes, By Frederick Exley

Most of the books of my lifetime have an explicable chronology to them. I read Joseph Heller's Something Happened when I was first working in an office. Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier fascinated me when I was first trying to write a novel. Lorrie Moore's collection The Birds of America reached me when I was in a post-divorce haze.

Samuel L. Jackson is right about bad Hollywood endings, but then real life isn't much better

At work, in love and in life, no one has worked out the third act

Pippa and Kate Middleton

The New Year Dishonours list: Recognition for those who did their worst

There has been no shortage this year of nauseating figures in public life

We aren’t proper friends – so do I really owe you a Christmas card?

Sending rushed missives to distant acquaintances says nothing about friendship

Square eyes, warped souls: In every sense screens are playing a bigger part in British lives

No other country buys as much online, but does our digital dependency comes at the price of everyday fulfilment?

Terence Blacker at home with his baffling 20-page bill

Terence Blacker: The day my power supplier gave me a £5,914 electric shock

The Independent’s columnist is mystified by the arrival of a 20-page utility bill from E.ON Energy

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game