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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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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
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor