Mary Wakefield: Teaching: a job with no kudos

So far, here at the office, 2009 has been the year of the work experience kid. Perhaps it's something to do with the shortage of university places, but since early March it's been more like Gossip Girl than journalism round here.

Mercy Madonna of Malawi, The World @ St George's West, Edinburgh

People are dying in a Malawian world/ And I am a Malawian girl". It's not quite the joyful paean to excess and consumerism that Madonna had in mind. But then the Material Girl also probably never imagined that one day she'd be played on stage by a 6ft tall Malawian man wearing a blonde wig, giant star-shaped sunglasses and a silky pink nightie.

Rhiannon Harries: Madge, it's time to stop changing before you forget who you are

If necessity is the mother of invention, what is it that begets reinvention? Every time I clap eyes on a celebrity's "amazing new look" on the cover of anything from OK! to Vogue, I'm tempted to conclude that, when it comes to self-reinvention, insecurity and desperation are primary motivators.

William Orbit: Coming back to Earth

The pressure of producing hit records for Madonna, Blur and No Doubt all became a bit much for William Orbit. He talks to Chris Mugan about how he got his groove back

Hit & Run: Stars of the silver sheen

You might have heard of airbrushing and retouching, but there's another, less ubiquitous weapon in the photographers' war on flaw – solarisation. And Madonna is the latest subject to try out its perfecting powers in Louis Vuitton's autumn/winter ad campaign, shot by fashion photographer Steven Meisel.

The Black Album, National Theatre, London

It lives on the page but it dies on the stage. That, alas, is the story of Hanif Kureishi's second brilliant novel, The Black Album, which in 1995 picked up on the Salman Rushdie fatwah and the rising cultural phenomenon of British Muslim fundamentalism while cracking open the whole issue of what should form the basis of a liberal, multicultural education programme.

First Night: The Black Album, National Theatre, London

Kureishi's brilliant novel is better left unsaid

Madonna in talks for X Factor slot

Madonna is said to be in talks about performing on this year's series of The X Factor.

Madonna hails Michael Jackson in 02 gig

Madonna paid tribute to Michael Jackson as she described him as one of the greatest performers the world has ever known.

Glasvegas' James Allan: 'There's no end to the Boss's abilities'

The first piece of music I ever bought was "Streets of Philadelphia". I was 11. It's a love song. A message of love, highlighting pure community and freedom of faith. I like those things. I really do. When I was a little boy, I never wanted to admit I liked music or girls. I was really crippled by shyness and for reasons I don't understand now, I hid the tape from my mum. I was attracted to his obvious soul, good heart and pure genius. The movie Philadelphia and the Care Bears cartoons broke my heart and made me want to show compassion to others.

Madonna to 'cocoon' new adopted daughter

Madonna will "cocoon" her new daughter Mercy in Britain over the coming days while the pair bond, it was reported today.

Madonna's Mercy adoption back on track

Madonna will reportedly be granted permission to adopt a Malawian orphan by three appeal judges.

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Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world