Arts and Entertainment

Without question, the book that has most influenced my life has been Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs. I was astonished by the outrageous pot-head humour: crazy ideas taken way beyond their normal limits. The book was a savage indictment of American racism and consumerism, it dealt with the corruption, graft and lies of politicians with Swiftian humour. I had never read anything like, then or since.

'Hello, world!': Space probe Rosetta wakes up and calls home before embarking on its comet-landing mission

The signal came at 18:16 GMT. Rosetta, the comet-chasing space probe launched by the European Space Agency a decade ago, had woken up.

An artist's impression of Rosetta releasing it's on board robot Philae which will land on the comet's surface

Will the Rosetta spacecraft wake up today after two-year sleep? It is due to make 24,600mph comet landing

The vessel is being woken, hopefully, by the 'most important alarm clock in the solar system'

All for one and one for all: Porthos, d'Artagnan, Athos and Aramis in the new BBC production

The Musketeers, BBC1, TV review

Peter Capaldi as the villain is patently over-qualified

Table talk: A mafia pact, as Marlon Brando ends a vendetta in The Godfather

When Mafia bosses dine, it can only mean trouble... A decapitated Cosa Nostra is reorganising itself – over banquets

The Sicilian clans are trying to regroup and strengthen the organisation – and enjoy themselves at the same time

Action movie start star Steven Seagal has said he is considering running for governor of Arizona

Marked for Governor: Steven Seagal hints at Arizona election bid

Hollywood hard man could surprise voters with environment-friendly policies

James Avery in 2004

Indyplus video: The Waterboys

Did you #joinin this Christmas?

Judging by the national mood, I would urge David Cameron to go to the polls now; the mood is good out there

Jane Austen's best quotes

'Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing after all' and the best of her other quotes

Nelson Mandela in 1956

Nelson Mandela life story: Thabo Mbeki's praise poem

'You have stood at the brink...'

Why erase memories that make us wince or cringe?

As seen in Men in Black, you may realise unpleasant memories were bruising but somehow defining moments in your life

Theories about the assassination of JFK

50 years after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas by an unknown gunman, we look into some of the more outlandish conspiracy theories that have arisen since his death.

Indyplus video: The Independent Critic's Choice

Watch a selection of trailers for our film and television critic's choice in the videos below:

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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor