Arts and Entertainment

Monks from China’s Shaolin Temple stand perched on tall wooden boxes. Swaying from side to side, they rock the crates until they fall, leaping free at the last moment. Famous for their warrior skills, in Sutra the monks are both movers and pieces in a puzzle, setting up patterns or standing inside the boxes as they fall like dominoes.

Leading article: Statuesque

One has to feel a little sorry for those members of the public chosen to be the first to stand in the open air on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth as part of Antony Gormley's art project. After several days of sunshine, the capital was lashed by torrential rain yesterday. Still, what great art was not borne of a little suffering? So what to make of the first day's participants? Jason Clark, a nurse from Brighton, didn't do an awful lot while performing his "Ordinary Man On A Plinth". Scott Illman, from Hammersmith, spent an hour shouting the merits of his bar. But the participant who really sticks in the mind was the uninvited protester. Never mind an hour, Stuart Holmes needed less than five minutes to get his anti-smoking message across.

Minor British Institutions: The Angel of the North

Pretty big, for a minor institution, this chap – and it does seem a manly sort of angel – standing 66 feet (20 m) tall, his wings stretching for 178 feet (54 m) across. When you pass the Angel on the blowy A1 not far from Gateshead you wonder how it is that this striking structure manages not to take off across the North Sea.

David Lister: Sexy or not, it's best to keep quiet

When Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe starred in a film together, Monroe took particular exception to Olivier, who was also directing, saying to her before a scene: "OK, Marilyn, be sexy." The suggestion that her greatest natural asset was a mere technique that any decent actress could turn on did not go down well.

Gormley on his plinth: 'I would be very upset if nobody took their clothes off'

Almost 5,000 people sign up to take their place as part of sculptor's 'living artwork' in Trafalgar Square

'Angel of the South' to be giant white horse

A giant white horse was announced today as a new £2 million public art commission in south-east England dubbed the "Angel of the South".

Artists jubilant as £50m Titian saved for nation

MP attacks sale as schools close for lack of funds

Design rebels of Burns Night

Glasgow design group Timorous Beasties make Burns Night a wild affair, discovers Annie Deakin

Close-up: Rungwe Kingdon & Claude Koenig

When Damien Hirst goes large, who does he turn to? His 'hands'

Party of the Week: Snapping the snappers

Fresh from the choking press scrum sparked by Annie Leibovitz's starry presence at the National Portrait Gallery some weeks ago, the gallery's director, Sandy Nairne, emerged bright-eyed and unjaded from a cloud of party-goers at the reception party for the annual Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

Birmingham named UK's ugliest city

It’s official - Birmingham is the UK’s ugliest city. According to a new survey, it is home to the some of the nation's least-loved buildings.

Kapoor's 'Giants' to be the world's biggest public artwork

A decade ago, Antony Gormley's 65ft sculpture, Angel of the North, was credited with placing Gateshead on the artistic map of Britain and starting a trend for large-scale public artworks nicknamed the "Gormley effect".

Leading article: Holes in the accounts

It would take a heart of stone not to smile at the plight of Gordon Brown and those others left to bale out the Labour Party ship. Tonight's fundraising dinner at Wembley promises to be a rather desperate affair, after last year's event, held in the first flush of the Brown era, which the party describes as "the most successful fundraiser in Labour's history". The contrast is equally stark with the days – how long ago they seem now – when Michael Levy simply had to touch an arm and murmur Tony Blair's name for the million-pound cheques to be forthcoming.

Trafalgar Square: The people's plinth - a portrait of our time

A soupbox in Trafalgar Square will give anyone who fancies it a chance to do whatever they like for an hour. Arifa Akbar discovers the idea behind it and gets a taste of what may be in store

Leading article: Performance art

We were never among Ken Livingstone's greatest fans. But one achievement cannot be denied him as mayor of London: the vitality of the street theatre and art that flourished in the capital under his auspices. Happily, this is one part of his legacy that Boris Johnson seems to be continuing with his characteristic panache. The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square was a test case.

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Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album