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.

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Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
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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
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home