From new non-stop flights and 'Place Pins' to photo workshops and air bridges

Games: What to play on cold winter evenings

This is the concluding part of Charis Maslanka's survey, begun last week. (See key at end for noise and game-rage ratings.)

Obituary: Murray Burnett

Murray Burnett, writer; born 1911; twice married (one daughter); died New York 23 September 1997.

Of all the gin-joints in all the towns in all the world ...

Scientists say that our appreciation of the weirdness of 'coincidences' is flawed; our brains simply have not evolved to cope with big numbers. But Mark Rowe is still awestruck by the way he keeps meeting long-lost friends in unexpected places.

pounds 48,000 for `Casablanca' poster

A promotional poster for the film Casablanca was sold for pounds 48,800 at Sotheby's yesterday - a record for a film poster.

Bid to move TV 9pm watershed

ITV is battling to stop television's regulator "sanitising" television by moving the 9pm watershed to 10pm.

Film: An alien act

Men in Black Barry Sonnenfeld (PG)


Actors may seem to be natural subjects for stage or film biographies, but only if their lives are colourful and/or tragic. At least, in the case of musicians and singers, film and stage can illustrate the work and exploit its popularity. In the theatre, Jean-Paul Sartre gave his own slant to Edmund Kean; George S Kaufman and Edna Ferber portrayed the Barrymores as The Royal Family, in their 1927 comedy; and Arthur Miller wrote about his marriage to Monroe in After the Fall. There was also the musical Judy, about Judy Garland.

Bacall sighs out a perfect plume of smoke, a spectral limb which reaches up to caress his face

Watching To Have and Have Not the other night, shortly after the news that an American tobacco company had conceded that cigarettes were addictive and harmful, turned out to be a strange experience. Even at the best of times Howard Hawks' film has problems with its plot, a desultory Casablanca rip-off which serves principally to separate Bogart and Bacall's smouldering scenes together - much as the graphite in a nuclear reactor isolates the fuel so that the whole thing doesn't go critical. But to watch the film with that news item in mind was to be made aware of how literal the description "smouldering" is. Barely a scene in the film is without a wreath of smoke rising from the glowing tip of a cigarette. Indeed, when Bogart finally takes his boat out on its hazardous mission it's perfectly conceivable that it is not a fog-bank he travels through but a fag-bank, a dense cloud of blue smoke that has drifted out from the relentless fumeurs of Martinique.

MY WEEK: CLEMENT FREUD 'Watching Casablanca after smoking had been excised, the audience thought Bogart was trying to set fire to Bergman when he lit her expunged cigarette'

It is about now that MPs with small chances of being returned to the Commons start looking to see whether there might not be jobs around Westminster more secure than endorsement by the fickle electorate.

A deceptive beauty

The English Patient; Anthony Minghella (15)

40's How to achieve The Look: Fashion

nyone who has watched Casablanca will have felt pangs of nostalgia for an era when people changed for cocktails or afternoon tea, and a hat was worn at all times. All you had to do was make sure your seams were straight and your hat pin matched your shoes, and it was all so, so perfect.

Ethiopia team goes offside

Sixteen members of Ethiopia's national soccer squad sought political asylum in Italy, leaving their country without a proper team after slipping their escort during a stopover on the way to a match.

Red hot Chile

Despite the vagaries of the 1996 vintage, Chile remains the rising star of New World wine

Obituary: Frida Boccara

The old Bobino music hall in the Rue de la Gaite, Montparnasse, was one of my favourite rendezvous in the Sixties and Seventies. Georges Brassens was one of its most regular and popular stars of the chanson: in 1964 he had a three-month season there which attracted over 120,000 fans. It was also a platform for many young and promising unknowns, who were always encouraged by Brassens. One night I found he had invited to occupy the first part of his programme a beautiful Moroccan girl, Frida Boccara, who had already begun to make a name for herself through an impresario with the improbable name of Buck Ram.

Pulp diction, Denver style

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