Life and Style

The international puzzle that requires knowledge of steganography, Aleister Crowley and the darknet is back again, and the internet is just as confused

The loss of happiness: Giacomo Leopardi

Book review: Zibaldone, By Giacomo Leopardi, eds. Michael Caesar, Franco D'Intino

This extraordinary 'mish-mash' opens up the creative workshop of Italy's great Romantic poet

Paperback review: The Carbon Crunch, By Dieter Helm

Jim Thorne's first love is an inflatable dolphin named Dilly. But he's quite fond of pillows, too.

Franklin D'Olier Reeve

F D Reeve: Poet, novelist and Russian translator

In the early stages of his career, the poet F D Reeve found himself best-known as the translator who accompanied Robert Frost on his 1962 visit to the Soviet Union, the man in the middle of Frost's showdown with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Years later, having established himself as a poet, novelist and translator, Reeve would find himself overshadowed again – by his eldest son, Christopher, who achieved fame playing Superman in the smash 1978 movie hit.

Bank's bumper send-off for Sir Mervyn King

Sir Mervyn King received a £10,000 portrait of himself and other retirement presents worth £3,000 from the Bank of England last month, it emerged yesterday.

Album review: William Sweeney, Tree O' Licht (Delphian)

The cello is key to the music of William Sweeney, something that becomes luminously apparent in these works showcasing the skills of Robert Irvine, either solo or partnered by pianist Fali Pavri or second cellist Erkki Lahesmaa. Inspired by Gaelic psalm-singing, the title track features the two cellists' lines intertwining like a double helix: the effect resembles a lower-register "Lark Ascending", until a pungent dischord appears, prompting more disparate progressions. "Sonata for Cello and Piano" offers an intriguing combination of exploration and introspection. But "The Poet Tells of His Fame" is the standout performance, Irvine playing over pre-recorded cello samples treated to give a series of tonal washes, whines and textures.

Lucy Porter and friend see the joke

Edinburgh Festival comedy review: The best jokes by a royal mile

Edinburgh guffaws from end to end as four fine acts return with some sparkling new material

Google poetics: predicting a new world of poetry

Google Instant is the sometimes illuminating, sometimes bizarre feature of the search engine that provides four predictive results as you type based on frequent searches by other users.

Paperback review: John Keats, By Nicholas Roe

Roe’s focus on Keats’s early life challenges many of the things we think we know about the poet, bringing to the fore instead the sudden death of his father when he was very young, his mother’s indecently hasty remarriage, and the family’s social and financial decline.

Crash course: France's Bastille Day

Raise the Tricolore for France's most important public holiday - 'La Fête Nationale' - when all things Gallic are celebrated with a day off work. Quel dommage that it falls on a Sunday...

Video: Film trailers for the latest releases

Watch the videos below for a selection of trailers for the latest releases:

Album review: Robert Zuidam, McGonagall-Lieder (Challenge Classics)

Dutch composer Robert Zuidam believes bad poetry may be a better spur to musical creativity than great verse. And when it comes to the monumentally bad poetry of William McGonagall, Zuidam clearly knows what he’s taking on, brilliantly describing how “a limp sense of meter wanders, seemingly clueless, through an unhinged linguistic landscape”.

Video: Film trailers for the latest releases

Watch the videos below for a selection of trailers for the latest releases:

The Queen's Birthday Honours refuseniks: The alternative list of those who said 'thanks but no thanks'

About 20 names are missing from this year’s honours list because the people concerned did not want to be on it.

Album review: Mark Padmore, Morgan Szymanski, Alec Roth: Sometime I Sing (Signum Classics)

Best known for his Schubert lieder, tenor Mark Padmore here performs Alec Roth's arrangements of songs and poems for voice and guitar, ranging from a sequence of Thomas Wyatt poems of love lost, to the more reflective, crepuscular tone of modern verses on nocturnal themes by Vikram Seth.

One to watch: Sophie Robinson, Poet, 27

One to watch: Sophie Robinson, Poet, 27

There was a reason Robinson went into poetry. “I'm no good at anything else,” she says. The north-London-born poet writes about sex, love and politics.

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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...