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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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'