Arts and Entertainment

There is a certain pleasure (however smug) in being ahead of the curve when spotting a particularly gifted writer, and a certain regret when the masses catch up with your discovery. The latter, of course, is the state desired by author and publisher, and Peter May has now made the transition from connoisseurs’ taste to popular bestseller.

Chris Haney: Co-creator of Trivial Pursuit

A 1979 game of Scrabble led Chris Haney, picture editor of the Montreal Gazette, and his friend Scott Abbott, a sports journalist with the Canadian Press news agency, to come up with their own board game. Trivial Pursuit, launched two years later, was described by Time magazine as "the biggest phenomenon in game history".

The Besnard Lakes, The Legion, London

The Besnard Lakes, a quartet fronted by a husband-and-wife songwriting duo, hail from the same musically fertile land of Montreal in Canada as Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, The Dears, and Stars. Like their peers, they boast an experimental and artful slant to their rock music. This is the last show in a short tour to promote their latest, third album, The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night, an intoxicating shoegazey set of tracks which immerse the listener in a heavy-reverb wall of sound reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine, with the melodious harmonies of The Beach Boys.

A Brit on the side: Why American comic Bill Hicks felt most at home in the UK

Bill Hicks is a byword for acerbic brilliance in the UK – but he couldn't buy a laugh in his native America. On the eve of a new documentary about the maverick comedian, Peter Watts asks: what makes us love him so?

Union urges BA chairman to intervene in dispute

The chairman and board members of British Airways were tonight urged to "use their influence" in a bid to resolve the cabin crew dispute, which descended into a bitter war of words after a weekend of strike action.

Don't cut off aid, warns Haiti PM

Dispute over relief effort follows Italian criticism of 'pathetic' US coordination

Canadian folksinger Kate McGarrigle dies aged 63

Canadian folk singer and songwriter Kate McGarrigle, best known for performing with her sister Anna, has died of cancer. She was 63.

Best of '09: Just for Laughs

Julian Hall on the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal. Plus: nominate your favourite cultural moments of 2009.

Yellow Bird Project: Harnessing indie power to help those in need

"Indie rock bands are leaking creativity. Why not harness their magical indie powers to help out those in need?" - so says the website of the Yellow Bird project, a Montreal-based charity whose offerings include sartorial items plucked from the imaginations of Broken Social Scene, Devendra Banhart and Of Montreal.

Cyclo-therapy: Unleashing thousands of bikes on terror vortexes like the Elephant and Castle could be, well, messy

I'm the cycle snob who looks down his nose at hapless riders and their rubbish bikes. But during a recent trip to Montreal I was the one eliciting scornful glances from local pedal pushers. Not because my bike was rubbish – it wasn't bad – but because, with my spidery limbs and hunched form, I looked like I'd ridden out of a Quentin Blake illustration.

Hit & Run: Land of the truly warm welcome

You can sort of see what the suits at the Danish tourist board were trying to achieve. They recruited a beautiful actress, created a bit of a story and sent their ad viral, saving big money on shoots and TV spots. But by suggesting Denmark is not only a land of plastic bricks and bacon, but also hot single girls wanting to go to bed with foreigners, its latest campaign has backfired in a big way.

The Disappeared, By Kim Echlin

A love that pulses in the killing fields

Laughing gas is biggest threat to ozone layer

It is no joke: laughing gas is now the biggest threat to the Earth's ozone layer, say scientists.

Professor Jerry Cohen: Maverick philosopher who subjected Marxism to the rigours of analytical philosophy

Proof of the catholicity and openness of British philosophy is that it could embrace and heap the highest of its academic honours upon a maverick such as Jerry Cohen.

Five hotels in newspaper buildings

Stop press: yesterday's newsroom is tomorrow's luxury bedroom
Sport
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Sport
Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller have shone brightest for Argentina and Germany respectively on their way to the World Cup final
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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?