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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Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

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No postcode? No vote

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Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

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Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

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