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
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future