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.

Just for Laughs - Final Day

Au revoir Montreal - but not before he is risen. Yes, the big JC, John Cleese, was in town a few days later than planned to head up a gala of Canadian and US comedians as opposed to leading out the British contingent he was meant to before a prostate complaint prevented him.

Just for Laughs: Day Six

The chance to see comic Martin Short was one of the things I was most excited about when I was leafing through the press material for this year’s Just for Laughs.

Just for Laughs: Day Five

Since I landed in Montreal, last Monday night, I have kept the clock on my mobile phone to English time. This might explain why my body this week has been asking me questions like: What time is it really? Why are we up so early? Why are we up so late? When can we next have another shower/sauna/steam room session? As if the cacophony of an average of fifteen comedians a day weren’t enough.

Britcom Gala Just For Laughs, Theatre Saint-Denis, Montreal

A bout of prostatitis prevented John Cleese from hosting this showcase for UK talent at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal. The British comedy icon was due to be one of the event's big draws, along with the US stars Bill Cosby and Whoopi Goldberg, before illness struck and hospitalised him, although he is due to make a rescheduled appearance before the festival ends.

Just for Laughs Festival: Day One

All the action from the world’s second-largest comedy festival

Album: Lhasa, Lhasa, (Warner Music)

She's American-Mexican but lives in Montreal. She was responsible for the very lovely folk-latin The Living Road in 2003. She sings in a slightly fragile, flexuous contralto voice. She's all tone.

Nikolski, By Nicolas Dickner, trans Lezer Lederhendler

Spaced out and all at sea in Canada

Killer Kowalski: Hard man of American professional wrestling

In an era of great American wrestling villains, Killer Kowalski could stand on the podium with his contemporaries George Walker (better known as Gorgeous George) and Dr Jerry Graham.

Green thorn for White House will be sorely missed

Death of Phil Clapp is severe blow to environment campaigners in US

The Vice Squad: How 'Vice' magazine became the new teen bible

'Vice' magazine has been redefining style and pushing back the frontiers of taste for 15 years with images of nudity, death, drugs, war and more. Its creators say they're in the great tradition of satire – telling their readers what the mainstream media won't dare to. Really? Charlotte Philby reports on a new exhibition of its provocative photographs

Album: Kaki King, Dreaming of Revenge (Velour)

Kaki King's unorthodox approach to the guitar has already secured her a guest spot on the last Foo Fighters album, and a Golden Globe nomination for her soundtrack to Into the Wild.

Foreign minister of Canada quits over 'biker's moll' girlfriend

The curtain came down yesterday on the brief and embattled cabinet career of Canada's Foreign Minister after a scandal involving his relationship with a woman who was once linked to criminal biker gangs.

Gay diver breaks Australian sporting taboo

Australia's cities all boast thriving gay communities, and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which recently celebrated its 30th birthday, has become a mainstream cultural event. Yet Australian sport remains a bastion of heterosexuality – on the surface, at least.

Buying overseas: Call of the wild

Want wildlife plus a luxury log cabin? Try buying in Canada's Laurentian Mountains, suggests Laura Latham

Flight of the Red Balloon (PG)

Commissioned by the president of the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, in celebration of its 20th anniversary, this small, inconsequential drama stars Juliette Binoche as a Parisian single mother caught between her career as a stage puppeteer and the care of her young son (Simon Iteanu) and his new nanny (Song Fang).

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Mark Wright and Bianca Miller in the final of The Apprentice
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

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From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

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Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

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Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick