Extras

As the temperatures dip, the birds need our help. We round-up the most innovative (and occasionally bonkers) feeders and houses for our feathered friends

Ai Weiwei became the loudest arts story of the year and an internationally recognised symbol for China

Ten people who changed the world: Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist became a truly global force

Whether in the cut-throat field of politics or the fashion industry's corridors of power, this year they left our planet a better place. Celebrate 10 of the best, nominated by Independent writers

Professional grump: Rooney in 1978 at the desk from which he delivered his televised diatribe

Andy Rooney: Writer who found fame with his grumbles about modern life on CBS

Every American age has had its licenced curmudgeon. A century ago Mark Twain filled that role, then came Will Rogers and HL Mencken. The latest of that line was Andy Rooney, whose pungent television commentaries about life's myriad petty irritations made him a national institution.

Light fantastic

Chris Levine made his name with a hologram of the Queen. Now he has rock royalty queuing up at his studio. Charlotte Cripps meets the laser artist

Chris Levine: Light fantastic

Chris Levine made his name when he created a hologram portrait of the Queen. Now he has rock royalty queuing up at his studio. Charlotte Cripps meets the laser artist

Roman Opalka: Polish-French conceptual artist who explored the passing of time in an extraordinary series of canvases

The Polish-French conceptual artist Roman Opalka was best-known for his attempt to reflect and define the progression of time through his series of acrylic paintings of numerals titled Opalka: 1965/1-oo (one to infinity).

Tony Cragg, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Works by Tony Cragg may adorn many a company atrium, but that doesn't mean he has sold out

Von Ribbentrop in St Ives, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge

Andrew Lanyon plays with his viewers in a show that gleefully sacrifices accuracy to imagination

Orpheus: The Song of Life, By Ann Wroe

Lyric poetry is poetry sung to a lyre; the figure of Orpheus embodies it. So what does his myth tell us about how lyric poetry connects to life and what poetry offers modern lives today? Orpheus emerged from a culture intensely aware of its own communality. Ancient Greeks wove into their poetry and philosophy what it means, politically and imaginatively, that different people play different roles in society. "Music", which meant poetry as well as melody, symbolised the way many different elements combined to make harmonia. Harmonia - from harmottein, "to join or fit together" - was an important concept in moral philosophy and medicine as well as music. It was the taut balance of different forces in one body, either our own bodies or the body politic.

At home with Betty Jackson

The iconic fashion designer shares interior tips, colour advice and a few home truths with Annie Deakin.

Beautiful and damned

The rich and famous of 1920s era Hollywood appeared to have it all - but artist Pam Glew's new exhibition examines the curse of the seemingly blessed

Cultural Life: Tim Minchin, comedian

Books: Christopher Hitchens's autobiography, 'Hitch 22', is a poignant read, and very interesting because I have a very poor knowledge of recent political history – or for that matter distant political history. I'm also reading 'Jasper Jones' by Craig Silvey, about an Aboriginal kid and a white kid who find a dead woman, hanging from a rope. I was completely sucked in.

Sport on TV: Olympic pastiche ticks all the boxes in race against time

One of the dilemmas of writing a topical comedy must be that your script can be overtaken by events. The makers of a new sitcom about the London Olympics, Twenty Twelve (BBC4, Monday) might have been bemused by the apparent ability of Locog, the real organising committee, to deliver on time and on budget. Not many laughs there.

Nancy Spero: Shocks to the system

Spero spent six decades 'making the personal political' with her feminist artworks, yet recognition came late. Arifa Akbar argues that the Serpentine Gallery's retrospective is a timely tribute to her talent

The Secret History Of: The Arco light

By Kate Watson-Smyth

Christie's uncovered: Anatomy of an auction

we all know how an auction ends – with a crash of gavel, a depleted wallet and a dented ego or two – but how do they begin? Christie's auction room in London's St James's has seen more action than most. It has been in use since 1823 and the blockbuster Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale on Wednesday will be one of its busiest of the year. Dealers and collectors from all around the world will be donning their smartest suits and gathering to bid on landmark paintings by Monet, Picasso and Degas, spending millions during a frantic and dramatic evening. But this is merely the public climax to a project that is three months in the making. Long before a painting reaches the rostrum, it has to be sourced by Christie's multinational team headed by Giovanna Bertazzoni and Olivier Camu, and its owners persuaded to sell. Potential buyers across the globe are alerted. Paintings are restored, reframed, studied and valued. And throughout, the team must balance their visceral love of the art and the calculating demands of the market.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor