Ben Affleck

What Obama could learn from Joe Biden

New York Times writer Maureen Dowd reckons that Barack Obama lost the vice-presidential debate last week - despite not being there. The combative style of both Joe Biden and Paul Ryan showed up his lacklustre performance of the week before. And as Dowd says: "The fact that one diffident debate by the president could throw his whole race into crisis shows that nobody madly loves Obama anymore. With his aloof presidency, he shook off the deep attachments from 2008, and now his support lacks intensity."

Cultural Life: Fay Weldon, Author

The first time I went to the ballet I couldn't believe there weren't going to be any words, and asked to be taken home. But this week I was much taken by the 16th-century polyphony of Victoria, Radio 3's Composer of the Week, and realised, rather late in my life, that the music itself can be a sufficient narrative in itself to enable you to do without words.