Curatorial coup: Nairy Baghramian and Phyllida Barlow share a show at the Serpentine

It's a good idea, from time to time, to forget what art is. We vaguely know what it's meant to be. But imagine you didn't know, and then you came across it, and tried to work out from scratch what role it might have in our lives. There's something that lies on the floor by the entrance. It's a small object. It has the form of a plastic inflatable, with ridged seams, roughly the shape of a biscuit tin, or a small cushion, but not firmly inflated, so that its form is rather squashy. But clearly it isn't literally squashy. It is black, and polished, and solid. It must have been cast in some hard medium – hard rubber, in fact. Doorstopper is its name. Nairy Baghramian made it.

Dancing all the way to Moscow

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the best, and you dream of visiting a place that could change your career, you could be a British Airways Great Briton

Pandora: 'Godfather' star Duvall to be Gilliam's Don

Maverick director Terry Gilliam's ongoing battle to get his big screen version of Don Quixote off the ground has proved one of the movie industry's more fraught sagas in recent years.

Book Of A Lifetime: Pedro Páramo, By Juan Rulfo

For me, reading Pedro Páramo is like opening a small mosaïque box, only to discover that it is empty, save for the whispers of those who had opened the box in the past. The novel is set in the post-revolutionary dustbowls of early 20th-century Mexico, when rapid industrialisation left hundreds of ghost villages scattered across the rural south. Urged by his dying mother to reclaim his patrimony, Juan Preciado arrives at Comala, and finds that things are not as they seem.

Pandora: Depp's trip back in time with Gilliam called off

He may boast one of the most prolific big-screen careers in recent history, but it seems that Johnny Depp has been forced to abandon his long-planned project with the former Monty Python star Terry Gilliam.

Protocols of the Elders of Sodom and other essays, By Tariq Ali

Tariq Ali momentarily puts his politics aside, to write of books, films and sticky wickets

Pandora: Esther wins her most important endorsement

Esther Rantzen may have the unyielding support of the 24-hour news brigade, but not everyone has been quite so easy to win over in her bid to stand as an independent MP.

Screen Talk: Gilliam tilts at windmills again

One project certainly getting everyone geed up is the prospect of Terry Gilliam resurrecting his ambitions to make a movie based on Cervantes's "Don Quixote". Gilliam has hooked up with Oscar-winning British producer Jeremy Thomas. Screenwriter Tony Grisoni's script revolves around a film-maker who is charmed into Quixote's eternal quest for his lady-love, becoming an unwitting Sancho Panza. The move is the latest twist in a movie-making saga almost as epic as Cervantes' 17th-Century classic. Nine years ago, the original shoot suffered a series of setbacks captured in the documentary "Lost In La Mancha", which went on to became a cult hit in its own right.

Howard Jacobson: Someone should make a final stand for humankind before it's too late

Those who say we misplace the threat of terror are committing us all to suicide

The Complete Guide To: Spanish journeys

Whether you crave a spiritual pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela or prefer to follow in Don Quixote's fictional footsteps, you can find your perfect route

London Philharmonic Orchestra/Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall, London

You generally know within seconds of the start of a performance if a conductor has what it takes to take us to that other place where senses are heightened. It was the performance of Ravel's La Valse at the start of Yannick Nézet-Séguin's first concert as principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic that will have convinced a lot of people of great things to come.

London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Nezet-Seguin, Royal Festival Hall

Conducting is a mystical business. You generally know within seconds of the start of a performance if he or she has what it takes to take an orchestra and an audience to that other place where senses are heightened and the air seems to move a little differently.

Kermit Love: Designer of Big Bird

With a background in designing costumes and marionettes for ballet productions, Kermit Love created for television a towering, iconic character that would achieve worldwide fame in a programme acclaimed for its educational qualities. The 8ft 2in Big Bird, with bright-yellow feathers, orange legs and big feet, is one of the mainstays of the American series Sesame Street, aimed at pre-school children and set to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year.

Christina Patterson: We are all following the gospel of recyling

In a wonderful short story, first published in 1939, the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges introduced the work of a minor French writer called Pierre Menard. In an extended passage of literary criticism, he contrasts the contemporary prose of Menard with that of Cervantes. While Cervantes, he says, indulges in "mere rhetorical praise of history," Menard's work, much "richer in illusion", explores ideas, about history and truth, which are "staggering". The texts he is comparing are, by the way, identical. The (fictional) Pierre Menard has sat down with Don Quixote and copied every word.

Lars and the Real Girl, (12A)

Shy young man brings home his ideal woman – and she's an anatomically correct plastic doll! The premise shrieks indie quirkiness, and the opportunities for smutty humour abound; but as it turns out, Lars and the Real Girl is a humane, and often sweet, study of the strain of growing up and having adult relationships. Why, at times it's almost plausible.

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Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

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Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
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videoWatch Lynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance
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A view of today's Spanish papers
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The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
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High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg
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Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

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The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions
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Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

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Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London