News The Houses of Parliament illuminated at night

Battersea have drawn up a list of their top mousers

Comedy Moments: No way to treat a heckler

Our monthly series in which comedians reflect on funny moments in their lives finds the effervescent Adam Bloom dealing with a heckler in an unusual fashion.

The Independent Recommends: Theatre

BRIAN FRIEL'S tricksy reflection on the Troubles, Volunteers, has been given the belated premiere it richly deserves by Mick Gordon, who wrings every drop of bitter comedy from this tale of five internees wisecracking and breaking ranks on an archeological dig. The Gate has been transformed into a boggy site, providing an earthy counterpoint to the many high-flown observations.

The Saturday Profile: Helen Mirren, Actress - The drama queen of England

WHEN I told people that I was writing this profile of Helen Mirren, the most common reaction was a snort of disgust. "Oh God, more excuses to run pictures of sexy old Helen," said one woman. "Why? She's the most written about woman in England," said a theatre type. Nor could anyone resist pointing out that she likes the odd nude scene. "You know the one thing that you can count on with her," said another man, eyes aglint, "is that she always takes her kit off." And then, finally and always on cue, came the discussion about whether those really were her legs in the Virgin ad.

Top black policeman fights racism in the Met

A RADICAL new approach to crimes of racial hatred will dramatically improve the poor standing of the Metropolitan Police, according to Britain's most senior black police officer.

Plenty of room for improvement

If you love where you live but feel it's too small, consider an extension, says Gwenda Joyce-Brophy

Bastien & Bastienne

The appropriation of Mozart's very early operas has been a healthy trend already this year, with stagings for Lucia Silla and Apollo et Hyacinthus. BAC'S new production of the singspiel Bastien and Bastienne (above), composed when Mozart was only 12, should follow suit. The piece was commissioned by none other than Franz Anton Mesmer, as part of an entertainment for his circle of enlightened intimates. Further Enlightenment comes from the fact that the libretto is an adaptation of one, by philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Plus, uncannily, the theme of the little Overture is identical to that of the first movement of Beethoven's Eroica. Award- winning director Maggie Forsyth produces the piece as the culmination of an intensive four-day "open process', working with the cast of three, and with a "unique twist" promised as well

KNOW THE SCORE: Schoenberg's `Pierrot Lunaire'

1912 in Paris: Igor Stravinsky is working on one mighty example of musical High Modernism, The Rite of Spring - a ritualistic ballet scored for huge symphony orchestra. At the same time in Berlin, and by means of a soprano speaker and just five instruments, Arnold Schoenberg (above) is contributing his own no less radical addition to musical history, in the form of his extraordinary Expressionist song cycle, Pierrot Lunaire.

Shopping: Shop Talk

ENSURE YOUR party goes with a swing by ordering a vodka luge from The Ice Box. Sit back, open-mouthed, while a vodka shot is launched from the top of your personally sculpted ice chute, carved in any shape from a mountainside to a human torso. If this is too much to contemplate, the company will carve your name in ice, design a corporate logo or simply "freeze" a thought. And in the unlikely event that you run short of ice this summer it provides a rapid-response delivery service of ice cubes within the central London area. Vodka luges cost from pounds 50 and corporate logos from pounds 200.

Comedy: Growing pains

Bruce Morton is doing the bravest thing a stand-up comedian can do - he is giving up stand-up. At least for a while. Rather, he is currently performing Blood Below the Window, a narrative, closer to theatre than stand-up, about his own process of growing up.

Lord, forgive them

The Deborah Ross Interview; Martin (Lord Noel-Buxton to you) is an endangered species. He lost all his money, nearly drank himself to death and is a bit vague about Hague (`Who?'). For some odd reason, people want him out of Parliament (along with all the

weather wise

DRUG traffickers, of all people, are being blamed for the bizarre clouds of smoke and fumes that have been blanketing much of Texas in the past week. The smoke has reduced visibility to as little as three miles in some areas. People have been warned to stay indoors as much as possible, and the elderly and children are thought to be particularly at risk from respiratory problems triggered by the toxic haze.

Performing theatrical miracles

LITERATURE

Jongleurs April comedy highlights

This month, two of the Jongleurs venues are hosting special nights in aid of Help A London Child on Thur 2 April:

Schools: From truants to voters

"There is not so much fighting and jumping around anymore. I like being in class more because we get to go outside and we get to make the school better. I liked what we did today and I think I am learning what it means to be a good citizen."

Wednesday's ticket

Samuel Beckett's existential wonderings are finding growing favour as the idiom for the new millenium. Leap of Faith has a new production of Beckett's Happy Days at the Battersea Arts Centre in London from Feb 10. Amanda Bellamy will tackle the mystifying role of Winnie as she speaks from within her tower of sand to her similarly constrained husband, making general natterings and fumbling around in her handbag - the simple means through which Beckett brings his positive nihilism to light.
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Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam