Arts and Entertainment

The idea of The Great American Novel feels like an albatross around the neck of that country’s literature. Sooner or later every white middle-class male writer with any kind of reputation feels obliged to have a stab at it, usually with limited success. Eventually they think it’s time to pack away all the fun stuff like storytelling, energy and plot, and make some big state-of-the-nation address, telling people exactly how things stand in the good ol’ US of A. Interestingly, America’s women writers don’t tend to feel the obligation to grandstand so strongly, and their novels are usually all the better for that.

Sean Lamont (right) celebrates with Tim Visser (left) and Ruaridh Jackson during Scotland’s victory over Italy last weekend

The Last Word: If Scotland back themselves they
could yet upset the Six Nations odds

Goaded by odds of 66-1, they could 'still rise now/ and be the nation again'

Snowdrop season: Can you tell your 'Primrose Warburg' from your 'Spindlestone Surprise'?

The craze for snowdrops continues, with more and more gardens opening in February to show off their collections. I like snowdrops en masse and some of the best are in old gardens where the flowers have been left to their own devices to spread, often in areas some little way from the house. That's how it is at Chippenham Park in Cambridgeshire, which I visited for the first time this month.

Weekend work: Time to sow snapdragons

What to do

Adele receives the Grammy for best pop solo performance

'I'm not crazy' says the Ukrainian journalist who gatecrashed Adele's Grammy acceptance speech

The man who crashed the stage at the Grammy Awards, has spoken out saying “I’m not a crazy guy. I just think differently.”

Nectar points: Honey-based skin products worth making a beeline for

(From left to right) 1. Almond coconut milk honey bath, £30.65, Laura Mercier, urbanretreat.co.uk

The Emperor's New Clothes (10/02/13)

Valentine's Day, pah! Commercialised, sentimental fuss. Incurable romantic David Randall begs to differ...
Tom Peck spreads the love

Scunthorpe: My search for love in the most unromantic place in Britain

Where do you find love in a town with a heart as cold as iron?

Butter is made by churning fresh cream or milk whereas margarine is made of vegetable fats

Start spreading the news - saturated fat 'is not so bad,' says study

US research suggests that margarine might have been more harmful than butter and lard all along

Urban sprawl
Now celebrating 25 years since it first opened for business in the UK on Kensington High Street, Urban Outfitters' idiosyncratic blend of hipster-chic and diffusion labels is a high-street shopping hit and the newest branch is no exception. 469 Oxford Street, London W1
Water fern (Azolla filiculoides): Native to the Americas but has spread to most continents. Thrives in ponds, lakes and ditches

UK bans sale of five 'alien' aquatic plants commonly bought for ornamental garden ponds

This is the first time that non-native plants have been banned from sale in Britain

Since 2001 there have been 140 burials at sea

We commit this body to the deep: Burials at sea declining as 'old salts' die off

In Nelson’s navy, it was  a necessity. In modern Britain, it is perhaps more of an emotional impulse. But whatever the motive, burial at sea carries on, just as it has done for hundreds of years.

1, Cover an entire wall with a Royal Horticultural Society print from Surface View. From £50/ sq m, surfaceview.co.uk

Pretty as a peach

Nature's bounty is the inspiration for an interiors look bound to bring a breath of fresh air to your home. Trish Lorenz steps outside

‘I didn’t come into politics to be popular,’ Suu Kyi tells Desert Island Discs

Listeners tuned into today’s special edition of Desert Island Discs, recorded at the home of Burma’s pro-Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, could hear the excitement of the programme’s famously unflappable presenter Kirsty Young as she introduced the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights campaigner “known in Burma simply as ‘The Lady’”.

How To Be Beautiful: Everything's coming up roses

Given their ancient associations with beauty, it's not surprising that roses turn up in your bathroom cabinet more than any other flower, and in so many forms. In cosmetics, it's a conceptual thing – how many lipsticks, glosses, blushers and primers come with rose-based names, promising velvety, petal-softness and delicate hues?

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FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam