Arts and Entertainment Hair time: Colin Wilson breaks another literary rule: don't pose for silly pictures

For ambitious would-be authors, the life of Colin Wilson presents itself as a cautionary tale. Here, Terence Blacker explains where the self-proclaimed genius went wrong

THE PATIENT ENGLISH

John Banville's finely-tuned prose is famous for its precision, but has he pulled off the feat of ventriloquising a gay British spy? Ruth Padel meets the Irish novelist, while Elspeth Barker reviews his latest (right)

Watch the birdie: a guided twitch in London

UK OUTDOORS: Hawks in Hackney, raptors in Regent's Park, peregrines in Paddington. If you know where to look, the capital can be a birdwatcher's paradise. Rupert Isaacs on reports

Athletics: Fear and running in South Africa

Mike Rowbottom on a perilous path for two men in the London Marathon

Corporation gets a toe in door of Keats House

People & Business

Rabbits on the roof in Britain's greenest house

Stephen Goodwin on the new home that even recycles its own water

Non-sale of the century

Nicholas Parsons reveals his biggest financial mistake

Obituary: John Hillaby

Pedestrian was the last word to apply to John Hillaby, though he has been called the most celebrated pedestrian in England. Yet like his contemporaries, Clive Wainwright and Wilfred Thesiger, he was admired as much by armchair idlers as by the serious walking fraternity. Whether pacing rapidly through the streets of London or across the high moors of his beloved Yorkshire, his tall, spare figure was instantly recognisable, and even in his seventies he could leave younger men struggling in his wake.

'I feel passionate about our continuing onslaught on the natural world, and the reckless extermination of ever-growing numbers of life forms. And the reason I feel passionate about other creatures is because I feel passionate about humankind.' Jonathon Porritt introduces this special report

The way we relate to other creatures is a very personal thing. Some people couldn't care less, and some seem to care more about animals than they do about human beings, which makes the job of generalising about endangered species a very tricky business I start from an odd position. Just as I don't much like pets (never having recovered from living near Hampstead Heath, with its army of dementedly defecating doggies), nor am I much turned on by the "big brown eye brigade" - the so-called charismatic mega fauna such as tigers, elephants, rhinos. pandas, birds of prey and so on. Give me the humble slime-mould on the forest floor any day! But I still feel passionate about our continuing onslaught on the natural world, and the reckless extermination of ever-growing numbers of life forms. And the reason I feel passionate about other creatures is precisely because I feel passionate about humankind - about our future, our quality of life, our moral and spiritual integrity. When asked the commonplace question, "Why bother about endangered species?", there are a host of possible answers: because other creatures have a basic right in themselves to be treated as equally valuable expressions of evolution as we humans; because our own self-interest may depend on some future use we come to make of these species or the habitats on which they depend; because we have no right to deprive future generations of their enjoyment or use of these creatures. But more important than all of these is the fact that we owe it to ourselves, right here and now, to fulfil our obligation to act as stewards of this heaving and mysterious multitude of life.

Mayo's terrace army to fight on

Mayo squandered a six-point lead to a flurry of late scores from a below-par Meath team, whose 12 points matched the Connaught side's goal (worth three points) and nine points to force a replay in yesterday's All-Ireland Gaelic Football Final.

How music inflames the savage breast

Just off to Africa - pop acrorse and pairtr'nise the blairk mairn, don't you know? - but before I go I thought I'd let you know what I've decided about this business of music.

THEATRE Love in a Wood New End, Hampstead

Paul Taylor uncovers the contemporary echoes in a comic tale of outdoor sex

SUMMER IN THE CITY

Ealing Jazz Festival, Walpole Park, Mattock Lane, W5 (0181-758 5743).

Rhymes of the ancient mariner

music on radio

Would you like to be a househusband?

John Peel, DJ and presenter: As viewed traditionally, I wouldn't. I'm not at all envious of my wife's role as a housewife because she has the unenviable task of looking after me. My wife is the fuel on which I run, in fact yesterday we were having one of those conversations about what would happen if Mummy died and I said that obviously I would have to cope and our 14- year-old daughter said: "Daddy you would go completely to pieces." If anyone had to do a time and motion study on our house they would be appalled.

A man of a different kidney

Seven weeks ago, Clive Sinclair wrote memorably here about illness, health morality, dialysis and the hope of a transplant. Here is his account of that transplant. Photograph by Michael Chambati-Woodhead
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'