Life and Style

Creators claim that  “the name ‘Coinye’ is intended solely as parody, not an indication or implication of endorsement or involvement"

Simon Kelner: Hospitality is just not the forte of the British

I was in Manchester last night, on an intensely private matter. Oh, all right, I was at a football match. Anyway, I was staying at the city centre hotel where I am a regular visitor. In the relatively short time I have patronised this establishment, it has changed names – and, I assume, ownership – three times, and in its latest incarnation it went from a hotel with a short, memorable name – just four letters – to one with a cumbersome, Americanised moniker – three words, 18 letters.

Berlin Stories, By Robert Walser

The third time proved charmed for Robert Walser (1878-1956). In 1905, after two initial attempts, the writer left Switzerland to settle in Berlin, where he would remain until 1913, joining his brother Karl, a painter. As it happens, Robert arrived right in the midst of Karl's annus mirabilis, which saw the elder Walser produce cover illustrations for bestsellers, as well as designing theatre sets for Max Reinhardt.

Alexander Armstrong, photographed at the Ivy Club, London WC2

Pedigree chum: Is Alexander Armstrong the poshest man in comedy?

More so than Miranda Hart, Stephen Fry and David Mitchell, Alexander Armstrong seems to be the acceptable face of posh comedy. With his comically large ears (a gift from his father), crinkly smile, affable demeanour and (crucially, perhaps) lack of smarty pants, he's the cuddly side of the upper classes in an age when, rather oppressively, toffs seem to be taking over again. Even Armstrong's overgrown Hooray Henry, 'Harry', in those adverts for Pimm's – alcopops for the privileged – is cherishable. Not that he drinks the stuff in public, he says, for fear of wags shouting, "It's Pimm's o'clock" – one of the great advertising campaigns, by the way, that helps explain some of Armstrong's wider appeal. The more you parody the posh, as the creatives at the advertising agency Mother realised, the more accessible they become to other groups.

Iranians, living with the threat of war and crippling sanctions, voted in parliamentary elections on Friday

Patrick Cockburn: Israel's threats of war are more potent than war itself

World View: Warnings of strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities are probably only bluff, but thanks to the US and widespread gullibility, they are proving effective

After withdrawing her application to Magdalen College Elly Nowell told the university not to try to ‘reapply'

Revenge – for everyone turned down by Oxbridge

Candidate turns the tables by sending Magdalen College a letter of rejection

Nick Mallett is his own man, with plenty of distance from the problems

James Lawton: An atmosphere of mutual disgust. A weak manager. Coaches held in contempt...

You knew it was bad, very bad indeed. You could see it in the leaden performance and mindless indiscipline on the field and the drunken, lemming self-destruction off it, but you couldn't quite know the extent of the failure, the inadequacy of the people involved, until the leaking this week of three official reports into England's World Cup disaster.

Armstrong's delayed strike derails Halifax

Halifax 16 Leigh 20

Bernstein Candide, Barbican Hall

Leonard Bernstein’s most bountiful score – a mouth-watering confection of sugar and spice and all things nice – is also a masterpiece of parody and counter-parody

Un peu de tendresse bordel de merde! Sadler's Wells, London

Is that a naked dancer on your lap, or are you just pleased to see me?

Film parodies that fail to raise a smile

A lamentable slew of recent spoof movies has done untold damage to a once proud – and hilarious – genre, says Ben Walsh

Perry Pontac: A man of infinite jest

Not many of us have heard of playwright Perry Pontac. More's the pity, says Alan Bennett – his Shakespeare spoofs, now in print, are perfect parodies

Feathers, glitter and nipple tassles: it’s burlesque

Christina Aguilera’s 'Burlesque' gives a cheeky peek into the dance sensation that's seen a resurgence in the last few years.

DVD: Rubber (15)

"Ladies and gentlemen, the film you're about to see is a homage to 'no reason'," explains Stephen Spinella's cop to camera at the start of this wonderfully deranged horror.

DVD: Black Dynamite, For rental & retail (Icon)

Streets ahead of Meet the Spartans, and the other dreadful efforts that pass for film parody these days, this beautifully realised blaxploitation homage gets every detail spot-on, and yet it's studded with so many perfectly timed jokes that you don't need to have seen a single blaxploitation film to fall about laughing.

On Tour (15)

Starring: Mathieu Amalric
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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
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links