Why has TV sports giant ESPN invested in a booksy sport and culture website?

The list of things to make print journalists feel better about the impending demise of their medium is brief, but may include free ice cream, a generous voluntary redundancy package (yeah, right) and/or the launch of a well-funded new website featuring exclusive, long-form writing composed by a cohort of peerless hacks.

Dudamel, Simon Bolivar Orchestra, NYC, Persson, Larsson

I’ve never seen a Prom queue like the one drawn by Gustavo Dudamel’s return: snaking away out of sight through the streets, waiting with infinite patience to worship at the shrine. Youthful dynamism, the triumph over social adversity, the Third World trumping the old world: the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and their charismatic leader incarnate the headiest of dreams, and when they came on stage they were hailed like champions. And, as usual with this inspirational job-creation scheme, there were an awful lot of them, including three long rows of wind-players and fourteen double-bas

Electric Eden, By Rob Young

Those who experienced the musical annus mirabilis of 1967 will recall the brief flowering of the Incredible String Band, a group that influenced both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Paul McCartney chose their waxing 5,000 Spirits as his most treasured LP of 1967. Anyone too young or too old to turn on to the Summer of Love may be mystified by the appeal of this record. Though described by Young as "an infinitely more intimate and disorienting happening" than Sergeant Pepper, non-believers are liable to view it as self-indulgent caterwauling.

Neil Macvicar: Soldier, lawyer, public servant and writer with a passion for Greece and its history

Up to Oxford in Michaelmas term 1938 came a golden youth, a Scot, a scholar from Loretto, a classical scholar of Oriel College, to read Mods (Latin and Greek) and Greats (Ancient History and Philosophy), destined undoubtedly for a double first and, maybe, Secretary of State for Scotland.

Album: Various Artists, The Rough Guide to Sufi Music (Second Edition) (World Music Network)

This fascinating CD takes the listener to the mystical, liberal side of Islam, where the puritanical and negative effects of orthodoxy do not hold.

Last Night's TV: Town with Nicholas Crane/BBC2<br />The Rattigan Enigma by Benedict Cumberbatch/BBC4

There are almost no chains in Ludlow, said Nicholas Crane. There's no McDonald's and no Burger King, no Topshop or Next. I wonder what else it doesn't have. Is there a Starbucks? A Caffè Nero? A Boots? Everywhere has a Boots, surely. I bet it has Hobbs – or if not Hobbs, then at least Whistles or Jigsaw or something similarly ladylike. L K Bennett, maybe. Kate Middleton shops there.

Conservatism, By Kieron O'Hara

Conservatism is par excellence the ideology of modernity. It reacted against Enlightenment efforts to engineer social change almost before they started. That conservatism is an ideology, Kieron O'Hara leaves little doubt, despite the (highly ideological) disavowals of some conservatives. Though Conservatism carries encomia from the Prime Minister and David Willetts, O'Hara underlines that his subject is "small-c" conservatism, rather than the credo of the Tory party.

From skate ramps to chocolate fountains: Why dotcom offices still party like it's 1999

It used to be company cars, pensions and private healthcare plans that lured bright young things in to otherwise dull office careers.

Letter from the editor: Runaway bride Charlene

It may not be world-beating, but Londoner Michael Dean’s claim to have told 63,000 lost tourists the correct way to Regent’s Park and MadameTussaud’s is the most esoteric of all i readers’ “World’s Top” talents.

Trevor Frankland: Painter who valued controlled passion and mathematical clarity but was also drawn to the arcane and esoteric

The artist Trevor Frankland was, first and foremost, an intellectual; there was a concept or scheme behind all his work.

Richard Long: Human Nature, Haunch of Venison, London

The world has many mysterious stone circles. Who made them? And why? We never really know. Their mystery is part of their charm. They are symbols – but of what exactly? Now we have two more. These two have cropped up – or bedded down – in a pair of 19th-century rooms in Burlington Gardens, Mayfair, and they sit on polished parquet floors beneath coffered ceilings. These stone circles, unlike the others, are not old at all. They are by Richard Long, our most celebrated land artist. Land artists make their art in reverential partnership with nature in the raw. They use wood, stones, slate, mud. They often make it in the land itself so that it gets slightly lost, as if to tell us that it is really part of its environment. This land art in Mayfair has made the journey from outdoors to indoors.

Emperor and Galilean, National Theatre: London

Admirers of the excellent Andrew Scott (the campily baleful Moriarty in Sherlock) have the chance to feast on his talents in Emperor and Galilean, Ibsen's vast 1873 two-part drama. It here receives its much belated English premiere in a condensed and vigorous adaptation by Ben Power that reduces what would take eight hours to perform uncut to a more manageable three-and-a-half-hour marathon. Traversing Europe and the Middle East and spanning the years 351 and 363 AD, the piece is unveiled in a production by Jonathan Kent that encompasses its epic sweep and philosophical agitation with enormous technical flair and dialectical dynamism.

The Forty Rules of Love, By Elif Shafak

Skittish and serious, satirical and otherworldly, Elif Shafak's fiction trips across the lines between the spirit and the flesh. Her latest novel, a chart-topper in her native Turkey, characteristically yokes together far-flung people, eras and events.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee