Arts and Entertainment

Every week another literary shortlist is announced, a judging panel revealed, a couple of longlists named, with a juicily controversial omission or a tediously predictable inclusion. But if The Parrots is to be believed, none is more significant than The Prize, the loftiest of all literary accolades, for which there are just three men in contention. They are The Beginner, The Writer and The Master. And for each of these men, the outcome really, really matters. In the Italian writer Filippo Bologna's smart new novel, we watch the three finalists in the countdown to the big announcement.

DIY ad draws wrath of faithful

CHRIST drove the money- changers out of the temple, but in Parma, Mammon is getting his own back.

Basketball: Tigers have another tilt in Europe

THAMES Valley Tigers, undaunted by their thrashing from the Italian champions, Buckler Bologna, at Bracknell on Thursday night, have taken up their option of more European competition by switching from the Clubs' Championship to the European Cup, writes Duncan Hooper.

OPERA / Welcome to the menagerie: Della Couling reports from Pesaro on Dario Fo's second encounter with the wit of Rossini

Dario Fo says, 'We should never forget that Rossini was a Voltairean. He had no time for sentimentality and high-flown phrases.' It has certainly not been forgotten in Fo's triumphant production of L'Italiana in Algeri at this year's Rossini Festival in Pesaro - the second onslaught on the composer by someone else who can never be accused of indulging in sentimentality (Fo directed a very successful Barber of Seville here in 1987).

Obituary: Giovanni Spadolini

Giovanni Spadolini, politician, newspaper editor and historian: born Florence 21 June 1925; political editor, Gazzetta del Popolo 1950-52; political editor, Corriere della Sera 1953-55; editor, Il Recto del Carlino 1955-68; editor, Corriere della Sera and Corriere d'Informazione 1968-72; Senator, 1972-94, elected Senator for Life 1991; Minister of Cultural Affairs 1974-76; Political Secretary, Republican Party 1979-87; Prime Minister of Italy 1981-82; Minister of Defence 1983-87; Speaker of the Senate 1987-94; died Rome 4 August 1994.

Cycling: Indurain off the pace in time trial

MIGUEL INDURAIN, the world No 1, yesterday received an early setback in the Giro d'Italia when the Frenchman Armand de las Cuevas won the opening day time trial in Bologna.

Bologna sentence

Three neo-Fascist guerrillas were sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday for the 1980 bombing of Bologna's train station in which 85 people died, Reuter reports from Bologna.

Arguments for Easter: A price for redemption: In the second article in a series for Holy Week, the theological writer Elizabeth Templeton considers answers to questions about the meaning of Good Friday.

THE FIRST time my youngest son saw a crucifix, he was three, and we were in an Art Gallery in Bologna, where a baroque Christ bled copiously, body twisted with pain. Calum was appalled. 'Why's he like that?' he said.

Chess: British hopes die in Interpolis

AND THEN there were none. The last British player made his exit from the Interpolis tournament in the Netherlands when Michael Adams followed Jonathan Speelman, Tony Miles and Julian Hodgson out of the event, beaten 2-0 by a Russian Master not even ranked among the world's top 100 players.

TELEVISION / Failing to achieve life's goals

'WELL, speechless I suppose you can't be as a commentator, but I've never more felt like that,' said John Motson. His world had turned upside down, and so had his syntax. We needed a flying start - and we'd got one. Unfortunately San Marino were in the cockpit. 'Oh, a mistake by Pearce. And San Marino. I don't believe this. Ex-straw-din-ary start. Galtieri the little No 11. Ten seconds. Goodness me. Trevor Brooking, what can you say?' Trev too was struck dumb, but he knew his country was counting on him: 'I gotta say something - all right, it means we need eight goals.'

Sport on TV: Impossible dream, nightmare scenario

CONGRATULATIONS to England's travelling supporters for their astonishingly pacey performance in the pre-match national anthem last Wednesday night (Sportsnight Special, BBC 1). I clocked them in at 13.67 seconds, from start to finish - an all-time lap record which left the local military band struggling to come home in second place some four minutes later. The anthem ended up sounding like a track off The Pogues Play Your Favourite Pub Classics, Volume IV, but this is the only way to operate on the international scene. The lads had a job to do - they got in there and they did it.

World Cup Football: Taylor keeps his plans under wraps

GRAHAM TAYLOR was in defiant mood after the match in Bologna, refusing to be drawn on whether he would be resigning as England manager. 'I'm a football man and I'm pretty confident I'll be one until the day I die,' he said. 'The whole thing, the speculation that's going on, is perfectly understandable when the results are not there.

Football: Adams and Steven out of England reckoning: Taylor holds fast to his 'dream' of World Cup qualification

HE HAD been walking in the grounds with his personal PR man and came in with the Martin Luther King routine: 'I have a dream'. Unfortunately, Graham Taylor bears closer resemblance to poor old Luther Blissett, the scattergun striker they used to call 'Miss-it', and England need not so much a dream as a full-blown miracle if they are to get to the World Cup now.

Football: Taylor preparing to go out with a bang: Ripley called up to join familiar faces as manager resists recruiting young generation for England's mission improbable in Bologna

HE tried to make the squad sound interesting, but it was mostly the same old faces, and there was more interest in what Graham Taylor would be doing in nine days' time than what England might accomplish against San Marino in eight.

Football: Time to pass flame to positive thinkers: Bologna is a fine opportunity for rebuilding. But will Graham Taylor take the chance? Joe Lovejoy reports

ENGLISH football has had a wake or two these past few weeks, and the atmosphere is unlikely to rise much above the funereal on Monday, when Graham Taylor rakes over the ashes of a spent World Cup campaign to produce his last squad as manager of the national team.
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

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Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
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Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
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'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

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