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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Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin