Life and Style Courgette (or zucchini) flowers

This week I've been eating... courgette flowers

RADIO : Culture? I'll drink to that

Too Late for the Party, R4/ Nightwaves, R3

Making fun - and a name: Politically divided but united cartographically, Fitzrovia is much in fashion. Rhys Williams takes a tour

The standard reponse to the word 'Fitzrovia' (as in 'I work/live/have my hair cut in') has been 'Where's that?' A fairly tortured explanation follows, involving something about an area tucked between Tottenham Court Road, Great Portland Street, Euston Road and Oxford Street.

BOOK REVIEW / A marmalade cat in Fitzrovia: Christina Hardyment on the irrepressible creator of Orlando - A slender reputation: Kathleen Hale - Frederick Warne pounds 12.99

KATHLEEN HALE'S 18 marvellous books about Orlando the Marmalade Cat could only have been created by somebody with an exceptional sense of humour and an extraordinary artistic talent. To spread wide any of their generously filled folio pages is to become mesmerised by the detail, wit, and grace of the drawings. Clearly, a large number of people were equally mesmerised by Hale herself, from the moment she arrived in London in 1917 after an art course at Reading University, 'with only a few shillings in my pocket, my pince-nez delicately chained to one ear, and no qualifications whatsoever for earning a living.'

Go East: More than a quarter

It's not quite Montparnasse - there are more caffs than cafes - but this is London's artists' quarter. Forget Cork Street. There's more of the real cutting edge of contemporary British art here, in a twenty square mile patch of the East End that's home to the studios of over 800 of our brightest young hopefuls. Not since Sickert, Fry and Epstein rubbed shoulders in Fitzrovia has the city seen such a concentration of creative talent. And once a year, from May to the end of June, artists from Greenwich to Stratford open their studio doors to all-comers. It's an unique chance to gain first-hand experience of what goes on in an artist's studio, to discover what's new and to spot work that just might be the 'next big thing'. Among the better-known names with studios in the East End are artists as diverse as Mark Wallinger, Anthony Whishaw, Laura Godfrey-Isaacs, Herve Constant and Cecilia Vargas.

Books: A significant eccentric: Michael Ayrton, painter, sculptor, illustrator, critic and clubbable landmark of 1950s Fitzrovia, is little known today. A new biography brings his difficult talent vividly to life: Michael Ayrton: A Biography by Justine Hopkins, Deutsch pounds 25

AT THE AGE OF 20 Michael Ayrton drove John Gielgud to distraction over his stage-sets for the 1942 Macbeth, by his 'savage resentment', his 'ungraciousness of manner and lack of charm and generosity towards the work people in every department'. Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, playing Lady Macbeth, was more charitable: 'Don't go on 'being insufferable' longer than you can help. It's a sort of defence against something isn't it? But it only gets in your way.'

BOOK REVIEW / A city that beggars the imagination: The Faber Book of London - ed A N Wilson, pounds 17.50

I AM generally doubtful about anthologies. Who are they for? What are they supposed to do? Bits of this and that clustered around some contrived category (Saints, Villains, Chocolate - why not an anthology of anthologies?) are almost bound to dissatisfy anyone with a real interest in the subject and bore everyone else. Good for the loo, I suppose, but people I know who read in the loo generally require something more substantial - War and Peace at the very least.

Second Thoughts: Too close a call: D J Taylor recalls Real Life (Flamingo pounds 5.99) and the real trouble it caused

MY SECOND novel, Real Life, came out in hardback in the spring of last year. It got some respectable reviews, and a stinker in the Observer from a chap I vaguely remember from university (what is it about those chaps we vaguely remember from university? Why do they hate us so?) A dozen bad reviews would have been as nothing, though, compared to what happened on a bright morning in April - April Fool's Day, appropriately enough - about three weeks after publication, when the telephone rang.

Call for BT tower to reopen: London publicans want West End tourist attraction reinstated

'WE CAN'T just give in to terrorism,' Eugene O'Brien, landlord of the George and Dragon, said. He is one of more than 40 publicans in the West End of London campaigning for the British Telecom tower to reopen to the public in order to boost local businesses.

DANCE / Darling, simply too tired for words

THE FOUR men and two women who comprise Adventures in Motion Pictures are working too hard. The company's touring schedule is punitive and, because it has little trouble attracting funds, it has been duty- bound to create two new works a year. Under the strong artistic direction of Matthew Bourne, AMP is still touring with its zany version of The Nutcracker, and last week presented its latest work, The Percys of Fitzrovia. Remarkably, the dancers show no sign of flagging, but their vitality merely serves to prove the body is more durable than the choreographic flame, which is flickering.

DANCE / Terribly strange adventures: Stephanie Jordan reviews Matthew Bourne's Adventures in Motion Pictures at the Lyric Hammersmith

IT SEEMS strangely appropriate for Adventures in Motion Pictures to occupy the Lyric Hammersmith for their current London season, what with that theatre's considerable history of plays and revues. This history, indeed, supplies much of the source material for AMP: different genres of cabaret and theatre - Noel Coward, for instance - as well as the archetypal human material of social satire. Matthew Bourne's choreography comments slyly on this bygone world, using it to create his own, distinct language. Every move becomes part of a taut choreographic plan and he cleverly blurs the borderline between period- class affectation - fey gesturing and slouching - and naughty references to films, ballets or current events, all outside the premise of the piece.

THEATRE / Close to their art: Paul Taylor on Colquhoun and MacBride

THE TWO Ronnies we've all heard of, but mention of the Two Roberts (as they were called) is unlikely to ring many bells these days. Aiming to put that right, John Byrne's new play Colquhoun and MacBride takes us on a brisk tour of the rowdy, well-lubricated lives of these two Scottish painters, who met at the Glasgow School of Art and then went on to become partners (or even 'a single organism' as one critic purply put it) in love, art and assiduous alcohol abuse.
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?