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Site unseen: Sir Sidney Waterlow, Highgate, London

The recent and continuing fiasco over Railtrack's inability to produce accurate railway timetables must have had one man at least spinning in his grave. Sir Sidney Waterlow made his fortune by printing tickets and timetables for Victorian travellers.

Pick of the week


Ring leader

At Thaxted's Morris Ring Meeting, more than 180 dancers from 20 clubs perform some of the male ceremonial dances of England. The only Ring meeting to be held in the same place every year, the men are bussed out to sites in various East Anglian villages and end up with a "mass dance" in Thaxted.

Men behaving madly

Why do Morris dancers in Essex wear condoms on their heads? And are Morris women anatomically incorrect? Pull the other one, says Anthony Clavane

Film of the week: Fargo

The setting is Minnesota's snowy plains where you can't see the division between land and sky. But the Coen brothers' icy style looks like thawing; there may be as much cruelty, barbed humour and as many sneering asides as usual in their tale of a kidnapping gone wrong. But in the figure of Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), the pregnant police chief investigating three murders linked to the kidnapping, they've located an odd model of humanity and morality previously absent from their work. Low-key, but likeable.

Angela Lewis on pop music

Placebo were a sure thing, huge potential stars in Indie when they emerged last year, but nothing prepares you for their debut album, a quality sparkler beyond all hopes. Songs are full of lightning energy, focus and charisma - just like frontman Brian Molko. He's the American with the male superwaif sexiness and sharpest pop lyrics since Kurt Cobain. The words to "Teen Angst", for instance, lacerate the heart with their intense imagery. "I don't really write about anything I haven't experienced, or is at least second hand from what friends have told me," explains Brian. "It's semi autobiographical, sort of saying check yourself before you wreck yourself."

Double exposure

Jeremy Hardy and Jack Dee, both successful solo comics, have decided that two heads are better than one and joined forces. James Rampton reports

John Lyttle on film

She was the last blonde. Sure, there have been blondes since: Hawn, Stone, Pfeiffer are bleach babies deluxe. But they aren't Marilyn Monroe.

David Benedict on theatre


On the box

A Manchester GP earlier this week was warning that excessive viewing of sport on TV this summer might lead to an epidemic of a condition to which there is no known cure: mad couch disease. It seems that some viewers may be afflicted by it already - if the BBC2 viewing figues for the week ending 5 May are anything to go by. Viewers were keeping that pizza-delivery man busy and hunkering down on the sofa in front of the San Marino Grand Prix (5.04m viewers), the World Snooker championships (4.86m), and the Badminton Horse Trials (3.29m) - all of which made the channel's Top 10 that week. And that's long before the mid-summer madness of Euro 96, Test cricket, Wimbledon and the Olympics ...

Iain Gale on exhibitions



Appropriate anagrams: who are the following:

James Rampton on comedy

James Rampton on comedy


Here's a beastly puzzle:

Dominic Cavendish on literature

Last year, the Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa flew there by helicopter. Ian McEwan apparently pitches camp 16 miles away and hikes there. So why let the minor problems of accommodation deficiency and an irregular bus service from Hereford put you off attending this year's Hay-on-Wye festival? It is the town's highly strange situation, straddling the Anglo-Welsh border, that has made it the literary behemoth's fest de choix over the last nine years. Combining, 'tis said, the atmosphere of a country wedding with the programme of an international conference, the festival does everything in its power to let effusion reign.
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Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

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Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

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As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
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Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

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Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
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Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

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Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

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Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
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BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

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Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
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Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

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Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

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Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

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Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little