Terence Blacker: Our overpaid and overrated public servants

It is truly bizarre that as the economy spirals ever deeper into the red, one group of highly privileged men and women become increasingly wealthy from the public purse – and no one seems to give a damn. MPs may be vilified, bankers may be pariahs, but the fact that senior civil servants can see their already large wages galloping ahead of inflation is treated as if it were an immutable law of nature.

Authors? They're all just jealous, bitchy backbiters

Literary writers look down on crime novelists like me, says Ian Rankin

Does the Female Ennuch still have balls?

It turned society upside down in 1970 and kick-started the women’s movement. But can The Female Eunuch deliver any important life lessons today? First-time reader Alice Jones gives her verdict

'Germaine Greer? She has no idea what makes women tick,' says Nowra

40th anniversary of 'The Female Eunuch' provokes astonishing attack on seminal text of women's liberation

Aloud and proud: The new Performance Poetry

Performance poetry conjures up images of po-faced writers declaiming depressing verse. Could a young collective bring some humour to the spoken word? Holly Williams takes a masterclass

Sarah Sands: It's better to be a young mum – and cheaper, too

The premise of Francis Wheen's new account of the Seventies, Strange Days Indeed, is that recent history can seem remarkably distant. It was pre- mobile phones, pre-Tony Blair and early Germaine Greer. Given the timescale, it is not surprising that we have lurched rather than marched towards social progress, particularly in the field of human relations.

Martin Amis: Now we are 60

Andrew Johnson, Gemma Mcintosh and Russell Arkinstall find the literary world's former enfant terrible still dividing critical opinion

Pandora: Scam gives Campbell cause for complaint

First Jack Straw, then Lt-Col Henry Worsley – now Alastair Campbell has become the latest public figure to fall victim to one of the credit crunch's money-laundering scams.

Hoppy against tyranny: talking about a revolutionary

A new exhibition from activist and revolutionary John 'Hoppy' Hopkins has opened at the Idea Generation Gallery.

Miss Machismo: Zoe Lyons on cracking 'the funniest joke' at last year's Edinburgh Fringe and winding up Germaine Greer

Zoe Lyons has been on the UK comedy circuit for six years, gigging in clubs and fringe festivals all over the country with her own brand of observational wit. She was made a patron of Pride in 2007, and will be performing at the Southbank's Udderbelly venue as part of this year's festival, alongside Craig Hill, Susan Calman and Jonathan Mayor, in Stand Up with Pride!

Page Turner: Where are Amis, Greer, Faulks and Truss now, then?

The first edition of The Independent on Sunday Review, on 28 January 1990, was a generous launching pad for keen young book reviewers. Alongside Anita Brookner and Germaine Greer the books pages carried an essay by Alan Bennett ("Anthony Powell's Books Do Furnish a Room was not my mother's way of thinking," he wrote. "'Books untidy a room' more like or, as she would have said, 'Books upset'") and a column by some chap called Sebastian Faulks. His first column for The Sunday Review was a literary ramble about driving a Sinclair C5 and was much like this one in tone, but with better hair. He left the paper not long afterwards to "concentrate on his writing". Nobody knows what has happened to him since.

Greer joins campaign for more women in business

Professor Germaine Greer will add her confrontational voice to the call by Prowess, the women's enterprise network, for more female entrepreneurs to lead us out of recession. Ms Greer, speaking at the Prowess international conference in Blackpool this week, will also back its campaign urging the Government to put more pressure on banks to help businesses by extending and renewing overdrafts and other facilities.

The Female of the Species, Vaudeville, London<br/>Zorro, Garrick, London<br/>Hangover Square, Finborough, London

A new play satirising feminism has enraged Germaine Greer, on whose experience it is loosely based

The Female of the species, Vaudeville Theatre, London

That banshee wail you hear when the wind is in the northeast is the sound of the biter bit – Germaine Greer is very, very angry at the author of this play about a sixty-ish feminist scribbler (played by Eileen Atkins). Its action is inspired by the time Greer was, briefly, held hostage by a devotee. And that sound you hear from the Vaudeville is the audience roaring at the best Ayckbourn play Alan Ayckbourn never wrote. Joanna Murray-Smith has expanded the original incident into a chorus of demands for approval, apologies, explanations, relief, compensation, and closure. No one, it seems, can be satisfied, but, at the end, remarkably, all are happy, rolling in love, money, and taramasalata.

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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness