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'We were exotic strangers competing for notches on the bedpost'

Observations: Josie's shows will be Long on laughs

Comedian Josie Long has been popping up on our televisions of late (notably Never Mind the Buzzcocks and The Culture Show), but fans take note – she is back on the London live circuit with two regular club nights. Long took a break this year from the Edinburgh Fringe – where she has previously won the If.comedy Best Newcomer award – and Lost Treasures and Adventure Club mark her return to the limelight.

Man held after Leona punched at book signing

Singer Leona Lewis was recovering today after being punched in the head as she signed books for fans.

1-2-3-4 Shoreditch Festival, Shoreditch, London<br></br>Cornershop, Jazz Café, London

Some bright upstarts ensure spirits aren't too dampened among the pseudo trendies

Observations: The Wick is hot for local art in Hackney

Who knew that London's Hackney Wick has the largest number of artists per square metre than anywhere else in the world? From today and throughout the weekend, more than 500 of them will be out in force, taking part in the second annual Hackney WickED arts festival to highlight the artist community living and working in the area.

Gang of six guilty of Shaquille Smith murder

A gang of six youths were found guilty at the Old Bailey today of murdering an innocent 14-year-old schoolboy stabbed in a park.

Teenage boy dies after stabbing

A teenage boy died after he was found with stab wounds in the street early today, Scotland Yard said.

My house: Iain Sinclair's 40-year love affair

In the 40 years since Iain Sinclair moved into Albion Drive, Hackney, Britain has become obsessed with owning property. Do we really need to move on (and up) to be happy?

Katya Kabanova, Hackney Empire, London<br>The Magic Flute, Hackney Empire, London

Even a flawed tour is a gift to the nation

Katya Kabanova/The Magic Flute, Hackney Empire, London

English Touring Opera, which has just started its annual tour, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. And when you consider the artists who have done time with it (directors Richard Jones, Declan Donellan and Stephen Pimlott, and a dazzling array of singers), you realise what a seminal effect it has had on British operatic life.

Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire, By Iain Sinclair

The grim spectre of the Olympics drags a psychogeographer back to his E9 roots

Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire, By Iain Sinclair

Anyone who has lived in Hackney is accustomed to surveillance. In my own 30 years in the borough, I've been woken by police helicopters circling my tower block, leaving me to wonder, in a state of half-awake paranoia, whether the searchlights were about to shine into my ninth-floor bedroom window. The truth, as revealed by Iain Sinclair, is worse. During an interview with the young film-maker Rob Petit, Sinclair learns of the existence of a secret bunker in Stoke Newington where banks of monitors display the real extent of Hackney's Orwellian ambition.

Susie Rushton: My Hackney feels different somehow

Urban Notebook

Keothavong slams LTA after entering world top 50

Anne Keothavong broke into the world's top 50 this morning - and then claimed she would have done it years ago were it not for "unprofessional people" at the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

The Taming Of The Shrew, Novello Theatre, London<br />Othello, Hackney Empire, London

Contemporary distaste for The Taming of the Shrew is never adequately justified by the play itself which is delivered in quotation marks as a sort of warped treatise on sexual relations between a choleric, charismatic bully and a nightmarishly spirited and waspish hoyden.

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In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible