Arts and Entertainment

Where are you now and what can you see?

I’m at the BBC recording Front Row and apparently I’m looking at a brass bust of Henry Wood. The statue is in the foyer.

Read 'em and weep: The literary masters of misery who delight in desolation

Tomorrow is officially the most dispiriting day of the year, but don't even think about fighting it, says James Kidd: it's far more rewarding to embrace the gloom in the company of a masterpiece of misery

Log on to see the last days of tortured Turing

A fictionalised account of the final moments in the life of Alan Turing is to be premiered via The Independent website from today. In the first collaboration of its kind between a national newspaper and an independent production company, the radio drama features Samuel Barnett, star of History Boys and Desperate Romantics, as the Bletchley Park code breaker. He died in 1954, eating an apple laced with cyanide after being convicted of gross indecency. The shame meant Turing was dropped from sensitive government work.

Stalker movies - The genre that just won't go away

As Patrice Chéreau's 'Persecution' premieres at the London Film Festival, Geoffrey Macnab looks over his shoulder and sees the stalker movie lurking in the shadows of movie history

Tim Lott: Our land changes by the hour, but novelists have nothing to say

There are plenty of good writers, but where are the novels that tackle the big issues

Clean, By Katherine Ashenburg

For much of post-medieval history, the East scrubbed and the West stank. The twain met one early 18th-century day, when the "notoriously grubby" traveller Lady Mary Wortley Montagu had to shed her stays in the women's baths in Turkey.

The seven ages of love: The teenager's view

A fourteen-year-old gives her take on the meaning of love

Consummation: A very peculiar practice

We rhapsodise and obsess about it, yet the act of sex is as likely to be ridiculous as sublime. Hannah Betts considers the paradox of consummation

My life in travel: Sadie Frost

'Kate Moss's party on the Great Wall of China was outstanding'

<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & texts, 29 June 2008

It is totally absurd for Ian McEwan ("I despise Islamism", 22 June) to state that "Islamism in most of its manifestations not only wants to kill me – it wants to kill you" because the majority of terrorists come from the Shia sect of Islam which amounts to about 2 per cent of all Muslims. The British portrayal of Muslims is leading to the general public's assuming that all Muslims are going to be a part of some terrorist attack or another, and to be honest it is getting completely out of hand. It is about time the media stopped putting such negative ideas about Islam into the public's mind and started to report fairly.

Fashion: Out of Africa

As the doyenne of classic simplicity, Nicole Farhi is celebrating a quarter century at the top of her profession. She talks to Carola Long about the exotic inspiration for her new collection and her passion for interior design

Paperback: The Fantastic Book of Everybody's Secrets, by Sophie Hannah

It's rare to read a collection of short stories from beginning to end, but Sophie Hannah's debut in the form will leave you feeling genuinely tickled and wanting more. Better known as a poet and crime novelist, Hannah introduces some very contemporary twists into these old-fashioned tales of the unexpected. The award-winning opening entry, "The Octopus Net", sets the book's confident narrative tone. A domestic chiller about a young family's brush with an unidentified stalker, the story is menacing enough to keep the pages turning, and astute enough about rocky relationships to make even the narrator wince. Yet more terrifying are Hannah's stories of shame and humiliation. The more comic the scenario, the scarier the consequences. In "The Tub", a jilted young woman resolves to enjoy a one-night stand with a man she finds repulsive; in the title story a former deputy director of a literature festival so embarrasses herself in front of Ian McEwan, she's forced to move to Loughborough and take a job in a hotel laundry. Stories of ill-judged memos, lavatorial mishaps and petty crimes follow, related with a relish rarely matched since the outré offerings of Roald Dahl.

Amis? He owes it all to Hitchens, says critic

Martin Amis, the novelist turned socio-political ponderer, is well accustomed to the occasional beating in his native Britain, particularly regarding his regular denunciations of Islam in the years since the 9/11 terror attacks. But the anti-Amis brigade is suddenly attracting new recruits across the Atlantic.

Cultural Life: Rose Tremain, novelist

Theatre

Man Booker Prize: It's Barry Unsworth for me

Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the fairest Booker book of all? Trying to judge literary excellence by committee means that the prize has sometimes fallen victim to compromise voting, tokenism, or the suspicion that a book suitsthe prize rather thandeserves it. It's hard to claim that the 41 prize-winning novels in the Booker's history represent the flower of English literature between 1969 and 2007.

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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
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home