Arts and Entertainment

The comic's aggressive style does not match his true self, finds Gerard Gilbert

Tom Hodgkinson: 'The only booming businesses are booze and payday lenders. No one buys books. The high streets are collapsing'

In the run-up to Christmas I found myself watching a lot of telly. My friends accuse me of hypocrisy since I used to rail against the evils of TV and even advised people, in a book, to chuck out their telly. I defend myself by blaming my children: I felt bad denying them the pleasures of schoolyard conversation about The X Factor.

Review: 'Demons: our changing attitudes to alcohol, tobacco and drugs', By Virginia Berridge (Oxford University Press, £16.99)

A table published in the Lancet in 2007 ranked substances for harmfulness, and it made headlines when it placed alcohol ahead of crack cocaine and ketamine (“Special K”, to those who enjoy administering a horse tranquiliser on themselves). Tobacco was judged to be worse than cannabis, glue and solvents, LSD and ecstasy. Bar-room philosophers all over the land almost spilled their pints at the notion that they were hard-drug users.

Source Battersea, London: Restaurant review - this is the kind of place you want to keep jealously to yourself

Ransome’s Dock is one of those names that dinged around the heads of London foodies in the 1990s as a little dream of ‘neighbourhood dining’.

Last orders: has the liquid lunch had its day?

To his cost, ex-Glencore trader Andrew Kearns has found being hungover a sackable offence, but the liquid lunch shaped many a day in days gone by, says a wistful John Walsh

Keep it on ice: Mark Hix reveals his delicious freezer essentials

Great ingredients such as prawns, globe artichokes and tomato sauce can all be kept in your freezer, ready to be deployed at the drop of a hat for a delicious tasting dish. You can even have a vodka shot on hand, too

Recommended: ‘Blue Is the Warmest Colour’ tops Gillian Orr's list as film of the year

Listless abandon: In defence of our obsession with the end-of-year list

The annual deluge of December lists is upon us - and readers can’t get enough of them

<p>As if the bottle and the
prospect of exceptional pink champagne wasn’t charming enough, then this
edition of Laurent Perrier Rosé will really wow its recipient with two oenological champagne glasses
and a decorative gift box. If you don’t decide to keep it for yourself that is…</p>
<p>£85,
<a href=johnlewis.com

" title="

As if the bottle and the prospect of exceptional pink champagne wasn’t charming enough, then this edition of Laurent Perrier Rosé will really wow its recipient with two oenological champagne glasses and a decorative gift box. If you don’t decide to keep it for yourself that is…

£85, johnlewis.com

" width="80" height="49" onclick="location.href='http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/food-drink/bottoms-up-10-best-alcoholic-gifts-for-christmas-2013-8985867.html';" class="" />

Bottoms up: 10 best alcoholic gifts for Christmas 2013

For the loved ones in your life who like a tipple, consider one of these very drinkable pressies

<b>8. Lindt</b> Everyone loves Lindt and this includes 24 of their most iconic festive novelties, including mini Santas, mini reindeers and those melt-in-the-mouth Lindor balls. Children, be warned - you might need to hide it from the adults.
£5.29 www.lindt-shop.co.uk

The 10 Best advent calendars

The most delicious chocolate treats help make waiting for Christmas so much more enjoyable for children and adults alike

The 10 Best advent calendars

The most delicious chocolate treats to help make waiting for Christmas so much more enjoyable for children and adults alike

Strawberry and sparkling wine jelly

Strawberry and sparkling wine jelly

Serves 4

Mark came up with the idea of a Peatini after a pea-shoot lunch he held at Hix Oyster & Chop House

Peatini

Makes 2

Five-minute memoir: Jonathan Grimwood recalls monkeying around on an island paradise

'Suddenly feeling myself watched, I looked up into the eyes of a baboon'

Between the Covers 25/08/2013

Your weekly guide to what's really going on in the world of books

The 10 Best gins

On the rocks, with a slosh of tonic or as part of perfect martini, gin is the ideal summer drink. Here are our top tipples

Prickly customer: The Mexican agave plant, a source of fermented beverages, including tequila, for centuries

Drink it in: Raise a toast to a growing band of home-brewers

When it's too hot to walk as far as the corner shop for a beverage, there's only one thing to do: make it yourself at home.

Sport
Andy Murray reaches the final of the Australian Open after beating Tomas Berdych in another impressive display, but the match was marred by ill feeling
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The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
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Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
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Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
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Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
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Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
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The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
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newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
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Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links