News In other news ... Jon Snow performed at last year's Newsroom's Got Talent charity event

The veteran Channel 4 host let readers in on the inner workings of his mind – and it’s not as laundered as one might have thought

Arifa Akbar: Rock 'n' roll writers catch festival fever

The Week In Books

Parties: Grayson Perry zigs and Bill Nighy zags at Tate Britain's summer party

Guests ummed and ahhed as they wound themselves around Eva Rothschild's giant, room-encompassing zig-zag of a sculpture that was the centrepiece for Tate Britain's summer party on Monday.

Parties: Beth burns up the art world

Nicky Haslam says Beth Ditto isn't beautiful, just fat. "Parties" wouldn't dream of wading into such a spat, but we can report that the Gossip girl was operating on Gas Mark 8 at the Royal Academy of Arts' summer exhibition party last week, first to shimmy up the blue carpet and last to leave, belting out her songs on a specially erected stage as the well-refreshed throng tripped into the night.

Observations: Come to the butterfly ball

What do Kate Winslet, Ricky Gervais and Tony Blair have in common? Aside from a propensity for making embarrassing speeches, that is. The answer, unexpectedly, lies with butterflies.

Parties: Tsars in their eyes

One might have been forgiven for thinking there was a dandruff epidemic among guests at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Tuesday night, but in fact the white flakes speckling the immaculate shoulders of Prince Michael of Kent and the Conran clan were the work of an artificial snow machine at the gallery entrance, creating a suitably Muscovite setting for London's latest blockbuster exhibition, The Magnificence of the Tsars.

Fabric of life: Selvedge magazine celebrates its fifth birthday

Is it possible to produce a magazine about textiles that is hip and authoritative? Well, yes!

Forward Book of Poetry 2009

Every year the Forward anthology, drawn from poems shortlisted or highly commended for its prizes, supplies a face-saving one-stop catch-up for readers who feel they ought to read more current poetry, but ... The judges, chaired this year by Frieda Hughes, reliably deliver on two fronts. They present strong new work from the names you should know: respect to (among others) Mick Imlah, Sujata Bhatt, Jamie McKendrick, Mimi Khalvati. And Ciaran Carson – Nina Ricci owes him a generous tribute for "L'Air du Temps" from his future-classic narrative, For All We Know. The volume also opens doors to discovery. My month is brighter thanks to Tim Turnbull's "Ode on a Grayson Perry Urn". Would Keats have approved this pimping of his Grecian ride to "the joyful throb of UK garage or/ Of house imported from the continent"? You bet.

Spot the masterpiece?

So you think you know your art – but can you tell your £15,000 Peter Doig from your £40 student artist? Arifa Akbar reveals all

What's the meaning of life? Enrol at the School of Life and you might find the answer...

Want to know how to love? Or find a better job? There's a new one-stop philosophical shop which claims it can help. Here, its founder and star 'teachers' offer free lessons in answering some of life's Big Questions

Pandora: Fire hydrants out for the lads

September will bring publication of Nice Tits, by Tony Davidson, the advertising guru at Wieden+Kennedy (responsible for Levi's "Flat Eric"). The book appears to be an ornithology tome, featuring as it does two blue tits on the cover. Not so.

Grayson Perry turns curator for new British culture show

Let's hear it for the quiet man, says Tom Lubbock, as artist-potter-transvestite Perry enbarks on a new venture

Unpopular Culture, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea

A land of loners, misfits and Mrs Thatcher: Grayson Perry curates a vision of Britain which is bleak – until he dons a headscarf

Odd Young Things: Britain's latest style tribe

It is hard to think of anyone in British public life less connected to glamour and style than Bill Oddie. But this has not prevented the corduroy-clad ornithologist's daughter from being declared a fashion icon by one of the country's leading society publications.

Simon Carr: Big Brother considers surveillance his right

We all agree there is something new happening in Britain. DNA databases, surveillance cameras, intrusions into private lives, restrictions on liberties. Every week, we take another step into the brave new world. From last week, protesting outside nuclear power stations is illegal. It's a new world all right.

Career Services

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
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?