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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Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor