Arts and Entertainment For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'

As a former couple go to court in a bid to carve up their record collection, Tom Hodgkinson rejoices in the fact that our love affair with vinyl is far from over

Book publishing: Let me tell you a story...

A new website is hoping to help authors avoid the whims of sales-obsessed publishers by pitching their ideas directly to the people who really matter: the readers. Nick Duerden speaks to its founders

Channel 4 to serve up the laughs with Fresh Meat

Television comedy was never the same after The Young Ones portrayed the anarchic antics of a group of undergraduates. Now Channel 4 is revisiting university life with a sitcom, set in a student household, from the creators of the hit series Peep Show.

Venice Diary: Wild-child Ferrara is in town – but will he be Abel to make his dates?

Abel Ferrara has gone clean. US indie cinema's bard of drug abuse, sleaze and violence has been known in the past to turn up three hours late for interviews – and then promptly fall asleep. The colourful Bronx-born director of Driller Killer, King of New York and The Funeral, is due in Venice later this week for the premiere of his new film 4:44 Last Day on Earth about a couple confronting the end of the world. The word in advance of his arrival is that his own wild days are now firmly behind him. In the press notes for the new movie, he even quotes the Dalai Lama. The publicists are so confident that he's a reformed character that they are scheduling some of his interviews for early in the morning. Whether he'll turn up or not remains to be seen.

She's on it: scriptwriter of The Hour admits some lines 'haven't worked'

Abi Morgan responds to charges of linguistic anachronism in 1950s-era BBC drama

Novelist may have been victim of psychics' $40m scam, court told

A best-selling romance novelist whose books sometimes explore themes of the paranormal may have been among the victims of a Fort Lauderdale-based fortune-telling scam.

What the...? Dickens to get unwanted statue

The design has been chosen for the United Kingdom's first-ever statue of its greatest novelist, Charles Dickens, in spite of his request, made at his funeral, that there should be no monuments in his honour.

Inside culture: Philip Hensher

We've lost the factors that created Stan Barstow

Howard Jacobson: The best fiction doesn't need a label

Much educated discussion at the moment about the composition of this year's Man Booker longlist.

Britain's Man Booker long list unveiled

The longlist for Britain's prestigious Man Booker Prize was announced Tuesday after being selected by a panel of judges headed by a former MI5 intelligence chief.

Mark Steel: My guess is the cleaners are to blame

This year's television drama awards must surely go to the news, whose current scriptwriters are outstanding. Next week Newsnight will end with James Murdoch being told his real dad isn't Rupert, it's Fidel Castro. Then the credits will roll and we'll all be desperate to see the next episode.

The Old Spring, By Richard Francis

A pub that specialises in strong shorts

Terence Blacker: Bourgeois angst? Life is too short

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. In our great national melting pot, one section of society is being systematically excluded from what we read or see on our screens. "There is this notion that the lives of the comfortably-off middle class don't merit being treated seriously and with compassion," the novelist and screenwriter William Nicholson has said. A publisher had once rejected his work with the brutal words, "I will not publish books about women who drive 4x4s."

Inquiry into allegations against writer

Johann Hari, a columnist for The Independent, has been suspended for two months while an inquiry is conducted into claims that he embellished his articles with quotes that were made on separate occasions and that he attacked his critics online while using an alias.

The Amazing Spider-Man to be 'naturalistic'

'The Amazing Spider-Man' screenwriter Steve Kloves says he is taking the comic book character back to his roots.

Francis King

Further to your obituary of Francis King (6 July), writes Julian Machin, mention should be made of EM Forster in his life – "an extremely old man" when they were finally introduced by Joe Ackerley, causing Forster to remark, "I've wanted to meet you for so long."

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?