Voices

These letters were published in the 26th December edition of the Independent

Holly Williams: Arts Council Cuts - a blow for rural areas

I grew up in rural mid Wales, and there wasn’t a lot to do; the cinema on a Friday night (and that was half an hour’s drive away), and the pub when you’re almost old enough (we’d willingly walk half an hour along muddy tracks).

The Arts Diary: Eye of the storm

Francis Alÿs, the Belgian-born artist who lives in Mexico, and whose oeuvre has just become the subject of a Tate Modern exhibition, told me he spent 10 years running into tornados that swirl around the outskirts of Mexico City to create a new film work, unveiled at the London gallery, but stopped after realising it was just getting too dangerous. "I spent about three weeks every year in the tornado season doing it but a lot of the material was too damaged to be used. I blew six cameras over that time because of the extremely thin dust particles that got into them." When asked what kind of body armour he worked in to protect himself from the violent conditions, he answered: "Um, a scarf around my neck."

Win the 15 books up for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize - and a bottle of Tattinger champagne!

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, supported by Arts Council England in association with Champagne Taittinger, celebrates an exceptional work of fiction by a living author which has been translated into English from any other language and published in the UK.

David Lister: Tough questions, but still no answers

In the midst of world-shattering events and important political debates, a little-noticed but fascinating question was asked in the House of Commons the other day. The Labour MP Tom Watson asked the arts minister which private members' clubs used by Arts Council staff and board members are funded by the council.

Artist to have an epileptic fit live on stage

Sufferers' charities express concern over deliberately voyeuristic project that has received an Arts Council grant

Cultural Olympiad 'will be a fiasco as big as Dome', says Tory spokesman

Shadow culture minister expresses his fears for the future of £80m project

Adrian Hamilton: This redefines art, but not in a good way

There are two simple rules of public patronage of the arts. One is that, if you do it for a social or political purpose, it will fail. And the second is that if you hand over the actual commissioning to the Arts Council it will produce the very worst art.

The man who set sail on an island... and other works chosen for the Cultural Olympiad

Arifa Akbar examines how Britain hopes to inspire the world in 2012

Cultural Olympiad projects announced

Some might regard a cash injection of £5.4m into the Olympic Games to be best spent on Britain's competing athletes in preparation for 2012.

Letters: Sir Thomas Legg and expenses

Three cheers for Legg – a truly independent man

Simon Carr: Unelected, yes, but very handy for passing the buck

Sketch: One interesting thing was said, but I don't think he had wanted to say it

Creative Britain must be kept in good health

The departing Culture Secretary Andy Burnham says we cannot afford to waste the creative talent of a new generation

North is the poor relation in spending on the arts

Arts funders are propping up a system in which grants are skewed heavily in favour of London's museums and galleries to the exclusion of any other part of the country, figures have revealed.

Madame de Sade, Wyndham's Theatre, London

All silk skirt and no knickers

Philip Hensher: So sharp they've cut themselves

Tragic news from the coalface. Arts administrators for Arts Council England (ACE) are facing a grim future as their traditional occupations have been declared to be no longer economic.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn