Life and Style

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

Letters: Powell position

I was delighted to read the extracts in The Independent Magazine from Anthony Powell's Journals ("At Lady Maggie's...", 21 January) and to marvel at the gentle mockery and delicate self-parody which was displayed. The balance was perfect. No satirist would report Thatcher's words to Tito as "I am politics" and avoid exaggerations such as "We are politics" or "Politics R us".

BOOK REVIEW / Paperbacks: Operation Shylock by Philip Roth, Vintage pounds 5.99

Roth, here acting the arch-self-dramatist, dispenses with the masks of Portnoy and Zuckerman and casts as his hero the famous novelist 'Philip Roth'. He goes further, providing Roth with an anti-self, a namesake / lookalike who has been appropriating Roth's world-wide prestige to promote the bizarre notion of Diasporism, an inverted Zionism aimed at resettling Israelis in Europe. When Roth goes to Israel to face down the imposter he plunges into a fully-fledged identity crisis, in which he partially changes places with the imposter. Awash with ironies, exuberant rhetoric and endless worrying at the question, 'I am a Jew, but what is a Jew?', this resembles the ultimate Philip Roth parody. Very funny, but can he be serious?

Major takes the fight to his Tory critics: PM attacks 'parody of debate' as right lines up behind Heseltine

John Major last night came out fighting in a bid to restore his battered political authority with an outspoken attack on his critics over Europe for 'grotesque misrepresentation' of the compromise over majority voting.

FILM / NEW RELEASES: Stealing from the rich: Adam Mars-Jones on Mel Brooks's Men in Tights, Robert Townsend's Meteor Man and the re-released Cinema Paradiso

Mel Brooks never seems to have got around to having an identity crisis, and the question should be: why not? Apparently he thinks that any genre of film will benefit from being chopped up and garnished with his unvarying vaudeville routines. When the object of his parody was, say, Frankenstein, then his laziness looked very much like respect. He seemed to love the look of what he was parodying, even when he was mocking its successes. But when it comes to Robin Hood: Men in Tights - which doesn't so much lampoon Prince of Thieves as try to ride on its jerkin-tails - what is it that he thinks he is adding when he takes off a film?

BOOK REVIEW / It's no joke being a literary parodist: 'Misreadings' - Umberto Eco trs William Weaver: Cape, 19.99 pounds

OF ALL the European intellectual stars to have once written a humorous column, Umberto Eco is surely the least surprising candidate. Indeed, for many readers, it's perhaps more surprising now to be reminded of his pre-Name of the Rose reputation as a literary theorist, Joycean scholar and semiotician who then, so surprisingly, turned bestseller. Admittedly, this column was written for an Italian literary monthly, and his subjects mostly fit the forum. But the short pieces collected in Misreadings are among Eco's earliest publications (dating from 1959) and evidence that he didn't suddenly lighten up in mid-life.

DIRECTOR'S CUT / Zero de Conduite: Lindsay Anderson on the pillow fight from Vigo's Zero de Conduite

THE MOST famous scene in Zero de Conduite is the one in slow motion in the boys' dormitory, where they've been fighting with pillows and the air is full of feathers. It's a sort of parody or evocation of a Catholic religious procession. In many ways Zero de Conduite is an indignant satirical film, inspired by Vigo's own schooldays, and at the same time it's an intensely poetic one. What's very sympathetic about Vigo is that he was by temperament an anarchist, as any good director should be. His free, lyric spirit runs through the film, so it also acts as a self-portrait like perhaps all the best movies. It's a coincidence that my own film If . . . was made at the time of student revolt in the late Sixties. People imagined it was an illustration of or a complement to that, but it's quite untrue. If . . . was inspired by the personalities of the people who made it. It's not political in that way, it's a film of feeling, and that's what it has in common with Zero de Conduite.

MUSIC: Nursery fantasies: Stephen Johnson on H K Gruber and Mahler at the South Bank

IF THERE is one overwhelmingly positive thing to come out of the South Bank's Alternative Vienna series so far, it is the realisation that H K 'Nali' Gruber, composer, 'chansonnier', bass-player and descendant of the Gruber who gave us Silent Night, is a very interesting figure. Indeed, in Saturday's London Sinfonietta programme the Cello Concerto revealed many more layers of meaning - and of pure musical beauty - than it had in its Proms performance last year. And in Tuesday's London Philharmonic concert it was the turn of Frankenstein]]: 'pan-demonium for chansonnier and orchestra' and Gruber's best-known work - or rather best-known title, since broadcasts and performances haven't exactly been frequent over here.

Letter: Prophets and parody

Sir: I wonder whether any of your correspondents who have been so quick to condemn Spitting Image actually watched the programme. The offending sketch was bemoaning the general lack of interest in the Bible. If that is blasphemy, we're all in trouble.
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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

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'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project