Arts and Entertainment The dark side: Bill Bailey

Cultural Life: The comedian on his favourite music, film, tv and theatre picks

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, Radio 4<br>Spinal Tap: Back from the Dead, Radio 2

No Humph, no Samantha, but plenty of quality smut

Black and white and red all over: Left-wing reads

Socialist fiction, feminist theory, even Marxist tracts &ndash; thanks to the recession, the classic left-wing reads of yesteryear are back in vogue. But which titles really deliver power to the people? Andy McSmith finds out

Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra, Barbican Theatre, London

Economic uncertainty, racial tension, a looming Tory government; not much has changed since the heady summer of 1979, when The Specials (then known as The Special AKA) first bounded out of Coventry.

Tom Sutcliffe: Slow cookers rock &ndash; and casseroles roll

I found myself wondering what happened to slow cookers the other day, a feature of late Seventies domestic life which – though my memories are hazy – I recall being touted as a gadget that would simultaneously halve your electricity bill and quadruple your standing as a housewife and mother (it was the Seventies, remember).

Bill Bailey: 'People are obsessed by how I look'

Bill Bailey's talent embraces everything from bloke-in-a-bar gags to Chaucer and Pinter. Where will his quicksilver wit alight next?

Boris Godunov, Coliseum, London<br/>Berezovsky/Kniazev/Makhtin, IndigO2, London<br/>Kozen&#225;/Martineau, Barbican Hall, London

Only a tentative Tsar undermines ENO's arresting new production of Mussorgky's searing opera

The Big Chill, Eastnor Castle Deer Park, Malvern

It sparkles like a rare diamond and its contents are sought after by millions. Yes, ladies and gentleman, Noel Fielding's jumpsuit has landed. It was not a musical act that filled the Saturday night slot of this family-friendly musical festival in Herefordshire, but a surrealist comedy duo who were greeted with as many bamboozled silences as outpourings of laughter. But if there was an element of the emperor's new clothes to 10,000 people standing around slightly confused to watch Fielding and Julian Barratt's Mighty Boosh take us through a "musical journey", then it was just one stop on an otherwise successful weekend.

Editor-At-Large: Naomi, Wrighty, Bono... do what you do best and skip the politics

Why do celebrities feel entitled to spout their opinions? Their bizarre lives make them poor spokespeople for the rest of us

The Museum of Curiosity, Radio 4

Try pitching this to the boss

The Lover/The Collection, Comedy Theatre, London<br />Happy Now?, NT Cottesloe, London<br />Three Sisters on Hope Street' Everyman' Liverpool<br />Uncle Vanya, Rose, Kingston, London

Kinky? Yes. Pinter Lite? Not when the mood can turn on a sixpence: Sex in the Sixties swings back to life in leather and killer stilettos, and Chekhov's girls dream of romance in post-war Liverpool

Back to basics: Forget wallpaper and fancy furnishings, Sally and Mark Bailey make a virtue of stripped paint, old wood and factory-yard finds. Caroline Kamp visits their deliberately undecorated home in Herefordshire

"We understand that people might not get it," says Sally Bailey, co-owner of mail order company Baileys, "but it's what we like." We are standing in her spare room at Whitecross Farm in Bridstow, Herefordshire, and she is pointing to a stack of old solicitor's deed boxes, which are being used for storage. Next to them is a bed with a frame made from old scaffolding, and suspended from the ceiling on a long cord at shoulder-height is a naked lightbulb. The walls are unfinished.

The Odd Couple, Assembly Hall, Edinburgh

Couple lacks oddness but retains terrific one-liners

Bill Bailey: For whom the Bill toils

His refusal to wear a tie saved Bill Bailey from a career in telesales. Now, he's a star on television and his inimitable stand-up is conquering the West End. James Rampton meets a true original
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