Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Bethnal Green

Glam rocks: Meet the stars who are taking cabaret mainstream

Cabaret and burlesque are back in fashion – and booming like never before. But will the scene lose its divinely decadent edge now that it has hit the mainstream? Holly Williams meets the leading lights and searches for secrets among the sequins

Shhhhh, 2011 London Word Festival is back with a library theme...

How to speak up for a space where speaking up is not exactly encouraged? Just one challenge facing the nationwide campaign against local library closures this year. "Please keep the noise down" isn't an ideal protest chant. Then again, perhaps libraries aren't quite as quiet as we all thought.

Micky Flanagan: The Out Out Tour, Hammersmith Apollo, London

There's good reason for the extra spring in the step of Micky Flanagan's signature Cockney walk this evening. After nearly 15 years in comedy, and jobs before that which have included fish-packer and dishwasher, the Bethnal Green-bred 46-year-old was strutting out on to the stage of a venue that seats over 3,500 people and is synonymous with career ascendancy.

'We want to keep our father's story alive': A new generation is taking

It was an accident that alerted Motek Grzmot's saviours to his presence. An accidental groan. Unconscious, slumped atop a cart, all but buried under a mound of corpses, Grzmot's battered body was destined to join a thousand others in the mass graves of postwar Europe. And then he groaned. Without realising it, he had saved himself. The Danish troops around him heard his cry and removed him from the pile – a pile headed directly for burial – before placing him on another vehicle, this one headed to a nearby hospital.

Libraries: 'Hands off our doors to learning'

<i>The Independent on Sunday</i> has been inundated with stories about the role public libraries have played in readers' lives. Campaigns to stop councils from closing as many as half of their libraries are gathering pace, as public figures protest furiously about 'cultural vandalism'. They share their memories with Nina Lakhani

Aisle 16 invites poets to find inspiration in Tom Cruise's Cocktail

I am the world's last barman poet/ I see America drinking the cocktails I make/ America's getting stinking on things I stir or shake." So begins the worst performance-poem ever. When Tom Cruise hopped up on to the bar in the 1988 film, Cocktail, little did he know he was damning a whole generation of young men into believing that performance-poetry was a no-talent-necessary route to getting girls. When Tom rhymes "snazzy" with "kamikaze", a beautiful woman yells: "Give me a kiss you sexy beast!" If we're being generous to the film, it's readable as a critique of both cocktail waiters and performance poets: all flare, no content. At the end of the poem, the bar erupts in to a chant which, in all my years of attending readings, I'm still waiting to experience first-hand: "More poems! More poems!"

Viajante, Patriot Square, London E2

Fifteen years ago, the Independent on Sunday hired Helen Fielding as a restaurant reviewer, and I lucked into the role of regular reviewer's companion. Our first outing was to a hilariously pretentious restaurant in Bayswater's Hempel Hotel, where we were served designer Thai food by a team of off-duty supermodels in an atmosphere of utter solemnity. It was ridiculous, but enjoyable, in a mad sort of way.

More headlines