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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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
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?