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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.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
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Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
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Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola, writes Ian Herbert
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Zoë Ball says having her two children was the best thing ever to happen to her
voices Thank you Zoë Ball for saying what all parents are afraid to admit...
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Tim Sherwood celebrates after Aston Villa open the scoring against West Brom
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn