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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks