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.

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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain