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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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker