Arts and Entertainment

Private Alex Stringer, of the Royal Logistic Corps, was 20 when he was blown up in Afghanistan: "The reason I lost my left leg so high up is because the burning paint cooked my left leg all the way down to the bone. But if I hadn't set myself on fire, I would have bled out and died – as a result of it, all the arteries became cauterised".

My Greatest Mistake: A N Wilson, Literary Editor, London 'Evening Standard', and novelist

'Marina Warner's book was tosh from beginning to end, but I shouldn't have said so. She wept. I felt terrible'

Words: mastodontic, adj.

SEAMLESSLY LIMPID is the new, elegant memoir of summertime meetings with Graham Greene on Capri by Shirley Hazzard, the novelist, widow of the francophile Francis Steegmuller and a mainstay of the marvellous New York Society Library. A word leaps out when she discusses Greene's small volume on British dramatists, "a fine illustrated edition of rational dimensions (we had no premontiion, then, of mastodontic coffee-table tomes)".

Film Studies: Graham Greene, screenwriter, critic ... and actor

Neil Jordan's new version of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair has just opened in the US. One critic called it the finest Greene on screen since The Third Man - the 1949 picture hailed as the best British movie ever made. I smelt a rat straightaway, for I guessed this critic had not seen the 1953 The Heart of the Matter, directed by George More O'Ferrall, and starring Trevor Howard. You see, if you put Trevor Howard in Greene, you're home. He played Major Calloway in The Third Man, and his acting was as dry as year-old logs - the ones that burn so hard you have to back away from the fire.

Words: tote, adj. and v.

A CURIOUS aspect of Neil Hamilton's libel case is his daily arrival at court with a London Library tote bag prominently displayed. One must wonder what that august and congenial private library makes of this unusual product placement.

Monday Book: Action man with the soul of a polymath

Anglo-English Attitudes: essays, reviews, misadventures 1984-99 by Geoff Dyer (Abacus, pounds 12.99)

Football: Why football can't avoid the verbals

From Hell Razor to Peacemaker, Ruddock urges a calmer official approach to the goading game

The Independent Archive: `You get in the writer's sea and swim with him'

24 September 1987 Richard Ingrams interviews the novelist Brian Moore, whose thriller of church and state, `The Colour of Blood', has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize

Red wine, olive oil, chop-sticks

Hanoi is one of the great cultural melting-pots of the world. Graham Greene is everywhere. And so is French cuisine

Return of the native

Bryan Cheyette hails a ping-pong champion from North Manchester who can match the best shots of Charles Dickens and Philip Roth; The Mighty Walzer by Howard Jacobson Jonathan Cape, pounds 15.99, 384pp

Jennifer Paterson, Fat Lady and life-long bon vivant, dies at 71

JENNIFER PATERSON, who achieved unlikely cult status as one half of the Two Fat Ladies cookery duo, died yesterday, aged 71.

Greene King wins Morland with new pounds 182m bid

GREENE KING, the Bury St Edmunds-based brewer, yesterday claimed victory in its bid battle for Morland after it raised its offer to pounds 182m, beating a bid by Wolverhampton & Dudley, which said it would not increase its offer.

Racing: Razor sharp new image for Brighton

Once the province of the London low life, a coastal racecourse is fast rising above its station under the guidance of Stan Clarke, its new owner. By Greg Wood

Obituary: W. J. West

EVEN TO the day before he died, from rampant stomach cancer, W. J. West was still racking up a huge telephone bill as he elaborated upon another scheme fuelled by the 10,000 heavily annotated books which filled his half of the Devon house to which he retreated after each hunch-driven foray on the trail of George Orwell, Graham Greene and much else.

THE GUILLOTINE: No 22: ENID BLYTON

Twentieth-Century Classics That Won't Last
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas