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 Tales of Hoffmann, English National Opera

Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann is a long and convoluted work which usually comes over as an implausible amalgam of Faust and Coppelia.

Tribute to Gil Scott-Heron, Clapham Grand, Londo

Originally scheduled to take place at Wilton’s Music Hall, this event – part book launch, part celebration, part poetry slam – sold out so quickly the organisers hurriedly moved it to the larger Clapham Grand, confirmation of both the resurgent interest in poetry and the lingering affection for the artist universally recognised as the prototype rapper.

The London Train, By Tessa Hadley

He was the best of men; he was the worst of men

The Wonderbox: Curious Histories of How to Live, By Roman Krznaric

Perhaps it is a sign of the times. Everywhere you look, philosophers are climbing down from their ivory towers, abandoning more abstract pursuits in favour of practical advice on how to live. Roman Krznaric is best known for his work promoting empathy as an active force for change and his questioning of modern patterns of work. His latest book is based on a premise so simple it is surprising no one has highlighted it before.

Album: First Aid Kit, The Lion's Roar

Johanna and Klara Söderberg, the Swedish sisters who perform as First Aid Kit, are exponents of what might be called Scandamericana: this second album, recorded with Mike Mogis, is a country-rock revelation. Blessed with clear, characterful voices, employed in beautifully modulated, bell-like harmonies, the Söderbergs find beauty in the bleakness of mortality and the cyclical nature of things – "Everything gets tiresome, everything grows old/ With each secret revealed, there's another to be told". Their influences are upfront, in the Buffy Sainte-Marie stylings of "Wolf" as much as the search, in "Emmylou", for someone to be the Gram to their Emmylou. Mogis's arrangements, meanwhile, are beautifully judged, from the austere autoharp of "New Year's Eve" to the wistful, fluting mellotron that casts its shadow over several songs.

Andrew Johnson – Fulham
Fulham’s 30-year-old striker still maintains a degree of pace that would cause many teams problems, but Johnson has found himself battling with Moussa Dembele and Bobby Zamora for a regular place in the starting line-up. When picked, Johnson’s eight goals in twelve Europa League games this season have showed that he would be a coup for many lower-realm teams in the Premier League, but Fulham manager Martin Jol has expressed his desire to keep the Englishman for another year at least.

Fulham reject offer from QPR for Andy Johnson

Fulham have rejected an offer from QPR for Andrew Johnson, Press Association Sport understands.

Factory slowdown leads Britain into recession

Manufacturers are dragging the economy back into recession after the biggest blow to the sector since 2009, an industry survey has warned.

Figures threaten return to recession

Manufacturers are dragging the economy back into recession after the biggest blow to the sector since 2009, an industry survey has warned.

Pig, By Brett Mizelle

How odd that Reaktion's Animal series has covered 38 creatures, most recently Camel, Giraffe and Lobster, before reaching what may of us regard as the most sympathetic and (there's no way of getting round it) tasty of beasts.

Queen's Gold Medal for Jo Shapcott

Jo Shapcott has won the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in recognition of her body of work, including her response to a diagnosis of breast cancer, Of Mutability, which was named Costa Book of the Year in January.

Cahill's contract with Bolton expires in the summer

Chelsea and Tottenham to battle for defender Gary Cahill

Chelsea and Tottenham were set for yet another transfer tug-of-war today after Andre Villas-Boas admitted his interest in signing Gary Cahill.

Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family Feuds, By Lyndall Gordon

Paperbacks Of The Year: Soured relations and a poet's poisoned legacy

Sport on TV: Arlott recalls golden days of wine, wisdom and song

John Arlott In Conversation With Mike Brearley (BBC4, Wednesday) was not so much a blast from the past as a gentle burr, like a bumblebee on a summer's day. These are the highlights of a series of fireside chats in 1984 between cricket's greatest commentator and its most cerebral captain. But as Brearley points out in quoting another of the game's great wordsmiths, C L R James: "What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?" Arlott was one of the few "renaissance" men of post-war Britain. Arlott knew a lot, basically.

Andre Villas-Boas: 'There are plenty of players pushing for selection. Frank's not the only one'

Chelsea holding off on new Lampard deal

Andre Villas-Boas, the Chelsea manager, said yesterday he could not make promises over the future of Frank Lampard. The veteran midfielder has been in and out of the side this season, and has only 18 months remaining on his contract. Villas-Boas revealed the club has not yet decided whether to offer Lampard a new deal, and that his selection policy "cannot please everybody".

PFA Scotland urge SFA to intervene at Hearts

PFA Scotland have urged the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football Association to intervene over the continual non-payment of players' salaries at Hearts.

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Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
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A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
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fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
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Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
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Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
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Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape