Sport Gary Ballance is confident he can deal with Mitchell Johnson ahead of his return to the Australia squad for the second One-Day International with England

Ballance is looking to fight fire with fire after hitting half-centuries in his last two innings

King's Lynn: happily behind the times

The last time King's Lynn was the avant-garde was 300 years ago. If you came in 1696 to do some business you might have headed for that ultra-modern building on the quayside, the Custom House. Afterwards you might have stayed in The Duke's Head, an even more racy design, with a full-frontal display of erotic pediments, the feminine curved one being brutally ruptured by the pointed one bursting up through it. This explicit and unrestrained baroque was about 30 years ahead of its time.

John Lyttle's Column


Saddam was a not entirely unclubbable old chap

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold

Bearded Socialists told: if you want to get ahead, get a shave

New Labour is advising its parliamentary candidates to banish their beards, after polling revealed that facial hair can cost votes. But some Conservatives may actually benefit, according to one image consultant.

The Irish miss the grand slam

The collective noun for a group of poets trying to outperform each other for the TS Eliot award? `A paranoia of poets'.

Pop; Henry Rollins; The Forum, London

As the leader of the American metal-rockers Rollins Band, Henry Rollins exudes so much testosterone that you could grow a moustache simply by being in the same room as him. With his blank stare and sharp crew- cut, he might be Eagle-Eyed Action Man come to life. When he's not making a ruckus with records that go "Aaaarrrggghhh!", he occasionally undertakes spoken word performances, which also go "Aaaarrrggghhh!", only in a more eloquent and sophisticated manner. His last such show, Get in the Van, won him a Grammy. The latest, Public Insomniac No 1, bulldozed into London last Friday and proved that Rollins's obsession with himself has more to do with dogged self-deprecation than the narcissism suggested by those melon-sized pectorals and that suit of tattoos (both of which he kept covered, thank goodness).

Help us find Celine, begs father

The anguished father of Celine Figard, the French student who disappeared while hitch-hiking near Newbury nine days ago, appealed for the return of his daughter yesterday.

Police fear lorry driver abducted French student

Detectives seeking a missing French student believe she was probably abducted by a lorry driver who gave her a lift.

Kevin Kline: a real smoothie

They wanted Gerard Depardieu. They settled for Kevin Kline. And they got more than they bargained for. By Sheila Johnston

When I was two I knew I'd come out of Mummy's tummy; by three I'd grasped by precisely which exit

My newish friend Isobel tells me over tuna salad sandwiches and fizzy water that she discovered her four year-old daughter licking her six year-old son's penis. "Really? Was it her idea?" I demand, intrigued.

Obituary: Sir Kingsley Amis

Kingsley Amis was the most gifted of the British novelists who began publishing in the 1950s and were grouped together - by the media rather than by their own volition - as "Angry Young Men". He also proved himself to be the one with the most stamina and capacity for development.

Attempted moustache

Milk is in deep water. Butt of cholesterol scares and victim of fashion, it long ago lost its imprimatur as pure health in a bottle. What to do? David Rabinovitch reports

Snobs, toffs, shags and old farts

The Biographer's Moustache by Kingsley Amis Flamingo, pounds 9.99; D J Taylor finds unconvincing satire and insufficient roman in Kingsley Amis's new novel

Theatre: THE HOTHOUSE Chichester Minerva Theatre

The sound of a lone boy treble intoning a Christmas carol precedes each act in this new staging of Harold Pinter's The Hothouse, epitomising the purity and innocence that are in signally short supply throughout the rest of the proceedings. Though it only saw the light of day in 1980 (in a premiere directed by the author), this play was written back in 1958 shortly after The Birthday Party, and it takes place in just the kind of government-run "rest home" which, one imagines, was the final destination of the mentally vandalised Stanley. Indeed, two of the staff in The Hothouse seem to have learnt their interrogation technique from Goldberg and McCann. The twist here is that the pair obviously find their bombardment of bewildering and increasingly suggestive questions a mutual turn-on. Not so much work as foreplay.
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