News Brian Sewell, art critic

The revelation by Brian Sewell, the London Evening Standard's eminent art critic, that he had an affair in 1963 with the strenuously heterosexual Tatler editor Mark Boxer sent shockwaves around the art and journalistic worlds.

The Union flag has had its day in the sun

If you are reading this column, you are probably among those far-sighted Britons who have worked out that global warming has made the foreign holiday in summer redundant. Even if you are high-minded and think that meeting foreigners broadens your horizons, it is still best to stay at home. Ibiza is full of booze-fuelled Brits in search of a one-night stand (actually, a whole night may be excessive - for some young Brits one minute is apparently the equivalent of Tantric sex); and all the foreigners are here. Tony Travers, an LSE don, who knows more about this sort of thing than most, points out that if you want to meet the rest of the world in August, you don't need to waste your money in Italy, France, Spain, Japan or the United States. Just take a stroll down Regent Street in London. All humanity is there. Granted, wherever they come from they are wearing Levis and T-shirts made in Korea, and carrying cameras made in Japan, but the street is a horizontal Tower of Babel. Thank God, I say. They may be taking our manufacturing jobs, but frankly if we can dip our hands in their pockets to the tune of several billion a year, fair exchange is no robbery. And with all respect to those who have worked themselves up into rage over the British Tourist Authority's perfectly sensible plan to update its image, these people do not come to the UK to gaze adoringly at the Union flag - they want to experience our countryside, visit our stately homes, and above all they want to spend oodles of dosh on our culture and arts, particularly in London.

Humiliation with your meal, sir?

The 'Cool Britannia' hype is going to certain Londoners' heads, says James Sherwood

Radio 4 chief girds up for battle to save his audience

Radio 4 controller James Boyle will stand in the Art Deco boardroom at the BBC's London headquarters today and tell the governors the station needs to change because half its audience only listen to the Today programme, The World at One and The Archers.

Platform: Love you, hate you: the Standard's confusing cruising of gay men

It's cold comfort, but a shirtlifter knows where he stands with The Sun, the Star, The Mail, The Express et al. Nowhere. Whether tabloid, middle-market or quality, their Bash Street Kids seldom deviate from the line of most resistance: bloody poufs, uppity queers, the homosexual lobby etc. There is a constitutional inability to distinguish between a human state and a prefabricated "moral issue". The hatred of the tabloid press is clear, curiously pure and (almost) respectful. No quarter is given and none is asked. The Sun, for instance, wouldn't be caught attacking, say, lesbian mothers or adoptive gay fathers and then boldly soliciting the same parties for ad revenue.

Games people play Brian Sewell teaches Pandora Melly the joy of chess

Christopher Silvester, 37, writer and journalist.

Four historic weeks in British racial history

Within the space of a month, four important things have happened which could change the face of the politics of race in Britain. I use the term "politics of race" rather than "race relations" because I am not certain exactly what race relations are, or what the notion of relationships between "the races" means. The term speaks to me of old ideas that black people and white people cannot live together without conflict, but since that notion does not accord with my own experience I am increasingly reluctant to use a term that is so redolent of racist ideology as to be a problem in its own right. (But there is a politics of race in which, for example, Tory governments can and probably will try to use the "race card": where the ghetto and the "inner city" are codes for black people; where mugging is solely a crime committed by black men - or, more to the point, when a Commissioner of the Police can refer to mugging as black crime.

Tate exhibition stirs debate

The Tate Gallery will celebrate its centenary next year in a manner certain to incite artistic debate and acrimony by exhibiting its 100 "most significant" works.

Forget the movies, the stage, music. Tell our life like it really is

Hi. I'm Andrew. I'm John's ... well, this is always tricky. Boyfriend always sounds so adolescent, and lover is a bit grand, and partner is a cop-out: business partner, dance partner or partner in crime? As for "main squeeze", John thinks that's cute. I don't. I suppose I could tell you I'm "the Ba". That's John's title - the "Ba" (yeah, me too - try sticking your head between your knees until the feeling passes).

Boys' own club occupy shortlist for the Turner Prize shortlist

pounds 20,000 award plays safe with choice of art but risks row over artists' sex, reports David Lister

Art dealers close ranks in wake of fraud

Jojo Moyes finds the art world in denial and looking for a scapegoat

Brian, Terry and an awful lot of lolly

PETER YORK ON ADS No 132: WALL'S FEAST

Leading article: May the V&A boxes tumble and prosper

It didn't take them long. No sooner had the Victoria and Albert Museum unveiled its plans for a remarkable extension, designed by a young American-Polish architect called Daniel Libeskind than the usual suspects got on their soap boxes to condemn it.

Behind a wall of worship

Journals 1987-1989 by Anthony Powell, Heinemann, pounds 20

These are the Queen's hands

Antony Williams replies to the critics of his new royal portrait

Cruelty, still cruel after all these years

Round about this time last year BP published a full-page advertisement in the Spectator that proclaimed the message, "Thanks to BP you can now see a good clean fight at the Tate."
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there