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


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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As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
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3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

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The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

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Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

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