Voices

To buy a ticket for a hotly tipped play, within seconds of booking opening, requires perseverance and nerve as websites falter, payments vanish and a confirmation finally limps through. The goal is to see a top cast, whose fluency and fluidity is testament to years of determination – getting to drama school, being noticed at the end-of-year shows, getting an audition, getting a part and nailing it.  

Gangsta cat has to go. Are you ready, polar bears?

More news in the regular soap opera that is my family of cats. Regular readers will remember I adopted a gangsta' cat who had been shot in the mean streets of the Cheltenham hood. We named him Captain Kangaroo and despite him showing gang boss-like tendencies towards our other animals we presumed he'd eventually settle down. But then, two months ago, our other two cats disappeared and having searched high and low we presumed that they had been the victims of a gangland "hit" and were sadly never going to be seen again. Captain Kangaroo was now the undisputed "Cato di tutti Cati" – there was very little we could do but accept the situation.

Guido Gryseels, director of the colonial museum at Tervuren, said
it wanted to become a window on contemporary Africa

Belgian museum faces up to its brutal colonial legacy

The institution dubbed the last colonial museum in the world is packing up its stuffed animals and controversial statues this weekend as it closes down for a three-year makeover aimed at modernising the monument to King Leopold II and his murderous reign in the Belgian Congo.

New species of terrifying looking 'skeleton shrimp' discovered

The omnivorous ocean-dwellers are thankfully only a few millimetres in length

Paperback review: Priscilla, By Nicholas Shakespeare

Ever since his aunt Priscilla died in March 1982, Nicholas Shakespeare had been curious about her past. In the summer of 2009, he had a stroke of luck: he decided to act, just as the one person who might know something about her was wondering what to do with a trunk full of her papers. The contents proved to be more rewarding than a novelist and biographer such as Shakespeare could hope for.

Police in crackdown over ghost broking

The police are stepping up their fight against "ghost brokers" who target vulnerable people with offers of low-cost car insurance that prove to be non-existent.

Stuart Broad celebrates on the first of the First Test

Ashes 2013-14: Courier Mail continues 'Stuart Broad Ban', despite the 'Phantom Menace' taking five-wicket haul

The England bowler is revelling in the attention

3 million PS4s will be sold by the end of 2013 and 5m by the end of March according to predictions by Sony

PS4: An afternoon with Sony's Xbox One challenger

<b>Jamie Merrill</b> tries out Sony's slickest gaming machine yet

Dev Hynes is now firmly established as one of the most innovative and exciting musicians around

The Playlist: Blood Orange / Ghost Mutt / Barnaby

The songs that are hot on our playlist this week

One minute with: Tony Benn, politician and diarist

Where are you now and what can you see?

Another one-day strike for university academics and staff coming in December

Second day of industrial action comes little more than a month after the first

Writing is on the wall: Britain's 'ghost signs' provide faded memories of our consumer past

Londoner Sam Roberts has been obsessively documenting Britain's brick adverts for posterity and has set up a blog to document the signs

Anthony Rose: 'Forget ancient vicars and maiden aunts - Drakes Tabanco's sherries are fresh and innovative'

Missing the recent London Sherry Trail – aka tapas bar crawl – didn't prevent me from taking in the new sherry and cava bar phenomenon that's adding a dimension to the growing tapas scene. Following Bar Pepito, Rosita and Copa de Cava comes Drakes Tabanco in central London. Tim Luther and Nigel Howell's authentic tavern serves excellent Fernando de Castilla sherries from the cask and sells them to take away.

Cate Le Bon: 'Toko Yasuda has the voice of a beautiful ghost'

Fantasy band: Cate Le Bon

'Toko Yasuda has the voice of a beautiful ghost'

Call of Duty: Ghosts announces $1bn sales, but critics prefer Battlefield 4

Clash of the shooters continues, but next-gen consoles have yet to make their mark

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable