Voices

This definition of anti-Semitism has been too stretched for too long

Invisible Ink: No 181 - Saved from Obscurity

I’m not the only one creeping around charity shops and church bazaars looking for forgotten novels (this is not an age-specific occupation, but something I began at the age of eight – dare to be different, kids).

Invisible Ink: No 180 - L P Hartley

Many authors are specifically remembered for one beloved book. L P Hartley is recalled with a single phrase: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” It has achieved the status of a British proverb.

Theatre review: Billy, Union Theatre, London

Forget Billy Elliot the musical and remember Billy Liar, the novel by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, template for all northern working-class, aspirational escape stories in the 1960s, the Tom Courtenay movie and, in 1974, this marvellous, resonating and utterly authentic show written by “Bond movie” composer, the late, great John Barry, television comedy writers Dick Clement and Ian La Fresnais (The Likely Lads, Porridge, etc) and Tin Pan Alley and Lloyd Webber lyricist Don Black.

DVD & Blu-ray review: Billy Liar (PG)

John Schlesinger DVD/Blu-ray (96mins)

Video: DVD and Blu-Ray releases

See below to watch the trailers for this week's DVD and Blu-Ray releases

Smith: A sobering story told with clarity and sympathy
Neon Neon, Praxis Makes Perfect (Lex)

Album review: Neon Neon, Praxis Makes Perfect (Lex)

This second collaboration between Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip is, like the John DeLorean-themed Stainless Style, another biographical concept album, this one based on events in the life of left-wing Italian Giangiacomo Feltrinelli who published The Leopard and Doctor Zhivago.

Invisible Ink: No 138 - Keith Waterhouse

'A novel from the author of several previous books," said the Amazon logline about Jubb, one of Keith Waterhouse's astonishing black comedies. Was there ever a less appealing sentence?

'A for Andromeda': from left, Esmond Knight, Mary Morris, Julie Christie and Halliday

Peter Halliday: Actor best known for the science fiction TV series 'A for Andromeda'

In more than half a century as an actor, Peter Halliday's legacy is a television role he took in his 30s, in one of the small screen's early sci-fi classics, which has retained a cult following. As the young, idealistic scientist Dr John Fleming, he was the star of A for Andromeda (1961), decoding radio signals from a fictional galaxy in outer space and discovering them to be instructions for building a super-computer that can generate human life.

Wake Wood (18)

Starring: Eva Birthistle, Aidan Gillen, Timothy Spall

Doctor Zhivago, By Boris Pasternak, trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

In his introduction to this new translation of Doctor Zhivago, Richard Pevear quotes from a letter written by Boris Pasternak in English: "living, moving reality in such a rendering must have a touch of spontaneous subjectivity, even of arbitrariness , wavering, tarrying, doubting, joining and disjoining elements". Pevear uses this quote to stress his point that Doctor Zhivago is "a highly unusual book". He argues that "to embody the 'living moving reality'", it "had necessarily to be an experimental novel".

Magnificent men in their fantasy machines

Andrew Roberts explores our long and dubious relationship with vehicle accessories

A Room Of My Own: Thelma Speirs, milliner, east London

Thelma Speirs is one half of the millinery label Bernstock Speirs, which launched in 1982. Six years later, she and Paul Bernstock made the iconic topless hat worn by Kylie Minogue on the cover of her first album; they have since collaborated with Jean-Paul Gaultier, among others. Thelma, 50, lives above a café on Columbia Road in east London; Paul lives in the flat below her. Visit their online shop at bernstockspeirs.com

Glorious 39 (12A)

How does Stephen Poliakoff get away with this stuff? Glorious 39 begins, in mildly intriguing fashion, in the run-up to the Second World War, positing an appeasement conspiracy cooked up by a bunch of toffs who believe Britain hasn't a chance against Hitler.

Keith Waterhouse

The obituary of Keith Waterhouse (8 September) reminded me of an interview I once did with Albert Finney, who told me a lovely story about his West End debut as a leading man, in Waterhouse's famous play Billy Liar, writes Brian Viner.

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