Sport Juan Mata could go through a Manchester United initiation, but hopefully it won't be anything like David Beckham's

Beckham was forced to perform a sexual act on himself while looking at a picture of former United star Clayton Blackmore whereas in comparison Mata is likely to sing a song

Between the Covers 24/03/2013

Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books
Art house: Kraftwerk in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall

Kraftwerk to headline Latitude Festival 2013

Electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk are to headline this summer's Latitude Festival, alongside Bloc Party and Foals.

Jump racing's vigil for McNamara goes on

McCoy and McManus find grim perspective in the uncertain fate of stricken amateur jockey

Harriet Walker: Why I don’t like to let go of anything

I have never been very good at letting go. I hoard emotions and belongings like a squirrel facing polar night. I consign dates and events to eternal memory. I etch them on my heart, and use them the way you do a counter in snakes and ladders; I never let anything go.

AP McCoy

Paddy Power website crashes hours before Cheltenham Gold Cup

One of Britain's biggest online betting websites failed for around an hour this afternoon, just before the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet

Page 3 Profile: Danica Patrick, US racing driver

Fastest woman on four wheels?

Cappa Bleu in pink for new Aintree tilt

Runner for runner, no trainer has a better record in picking up prize-money in the Grand National these days than Evan Williams. Admittedly, the sample is small and concerns only two horses, but a third place and three fourths from five attempts nonetheless deserves considerable respect.

Notorious Exeter safer sex ball cancelled

A long-running "safer sex"-themed student ball has been cancelled, a month after it was embroiled in controversy.

Lord Dalmeny, chairman of Sotheby’s auction house, has apologised for a controversial Auschwitz joke at a Tory party fundraiser

Tory fundraiser marked by Auschwitz joke gaffe

Sotheby's chairman apologises for "horrific slip of the tongue"

Clay, By Melissa Harrison. Bloomsbury, £14.99

This debut novel by a young writer and photographer blends the ancient and the modern as it traces, over one year, the lives of a small group of characters who live around an inner-city common and its nearby scrap of parkland. As nine-year-old "TC" flees his chaotic tower-block home to find solace and stimulus in the "forgotten, wild corners of the city", and the fauna and flora that stubbornly thrive there, Melissa Harrison draws on the urban pastoral style of writers such as Robert Macfarlane.

<b>Lionel Messi's 86 goals, selected by Jack Pitt-Brooke</b><br/>
In a year when Cristiano Ronaldo finally beat him to the Spanish title, and scored stacks and stacks of wonderful, thrilling, important goals, Lionel Messi still found a way to mark himself out as a player of unique brilliance and importance.
Barcelona lost their Spanish and European titles last season, leading to Pep Guardiola's departure, but it did not stop Messi's relentless accumulation. The incredible thing is that he does not even look particularly bothered by individual accolades, playing just for the sheer fun of it and the benefit of his team-mates. We are lucky to watch the game while he plays it.

Lionel Messi to formally sign new Barcelona contract this week

World's best player has agreed a new contract

Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco gets his hands on the Vince Lombardi Trophy

Super Bowl: Ravens' epic triumph over San Francisco 49ers lights up Baltimore

Underdogs welcomed home today after beating the odds, 49ers' fightback and a bizarre power cut

Steven Gerrard wins the England player of the year award

Steven Gerrard proud to be named England player of the year

Captain picks up annual award

Test the waters: Silversea offers a selection of short sailings

Cruise Report: Mini cruises give passengers a taste of life on board

Are you tempted by the idea of a cruise, but wary of committing too much of the holiday budget and your annual leave to something you might not enjoy? Booking a mini-cruise of two to four nights is a low-risk way of dipping a toe in the ocean of available cruise lines and ships.

Graham Wylie, co-owner of Prince de Beauchene and On His Own

Wylie pair head 84 entries for Grand National

Just for a moment, all eyes are trained on Aintree instead of the Cheltenham Festival with the publication of the John Smith's Grand National entries.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
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James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
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The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick