Voices 'Selfie': One of the peculiarities of the past few months has been how the idea of taking a photograph of your own face has become something new and interesting

'Banter', 'Aspiration', 'Selfie'? Not this year, thank you very much

Einstein on the Beach at the Barbican Theatre

Einstein on the Beach, Barbican Theatre, London Carousel, Grand Theatre, Leeds
Juan Diego Florez, Royal Albert HallLondon

How do you compare multiple Einsteins? Well, it's all relative

Oscars Trending: New Zealand's second most popular folk singer makes it big

Two things that we've never met anyone who dislikes – The Muppets and the Flight of the Conchords. As such, it was almost inevitable that Conchord Bret McKenzie's writing of songs for the recent Muppets movie was guaranteed to bring a smile to the faces of most right-thinking fans of puppets and well-pitched parody songs.

When in Rome, don't do as the tourists do. Start your sightseeing early

Winter in the Eternal City provides the best chance to soak up the history without all the hassle. At least that's the theory

Howard Jacobson: Dickens is proof that humour improves with age

In total agreement with Terence Blacker's remarks earlier this week in these pages about "a new fear of seriousness" in our culture leading to an overabundance of feeble, inappropriate and half-hearted "humour".

Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee in 'Smash'

One part Entourage to two parts Glee – but is it a Smash?

America's biggest new show boasts such a conspicuous marketing budget that, unless its title becomes self-fulfilling prophecy, it will seem like a failure. Smash, NBC's story of a Broadway musical, premiered on Monday.

Urban hang-outfitters: Inside the chain's new store in Newcastle

The bright sparks

Not many retailers would expand during a recession – but Urban Outfitters is one of the loudest and proudest personalities on the high street, says Harriet Walker

Urban hang-outfitters: Inside the chain's new store in Newcastle

Bright Sparks: Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters may have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, but it's still one of the loudest and proudest personalities on the high street, says Harriet Walker

In Malcolm McDowell's charismatic thug Alex, the film had a horribly seductive anti-hero

A Clockwork Orange at 40

Kubrick's dystopian 1972 vision sparked both moral outrage and admiration. Jonathan Romney, and those involved, look back on a monument of modern cinema

Harriet Walker: Fifty years on, let's embrace once more the spirit of Helen Gurley Brown

Like any liberated modern woman, the Single Girl feels no need to lie about her age: she is 50 next year – and my, hasn't she aged well?

To the surprise of many gardeners, pampas grass is said to flag up that swingers are in residence

Adrian Bingham: Swinging - only pampas grass is quite as suburban - and as British

Reading between the lines of the red-tops, coded messages and prurient myths

Minor British Institutions: The Today programme

If there's a radio show that stands for the BBC, then it's the Today programme. All the familiars are there, including disagreement about whether it's left-travelling, a liberal conspiracy or a middle-class smugfest.

Pirates: The Captain Kidd Story, Museum of London Docklands, London

Not all 'Yo Ho Ho' and buried booty

Album: Paul Simon, So Beautiful or So What (Concord / Universal)

Describing the music Paul Simon makes these days as "pop" is like calling the Bible a bestseller – true but not quite fit for the purpose.

Nicolas Cage's rare comic recovered

A rare comic book stolen from Nicolas Cage 10 years ago has been recovered.

Barometer: Kurt Cobain

17 years ago today Kurt Cobain took his own life in a suicide that shook not just the music world, but pop culture in general. All this time on, there’s very little to say about Cobain, or indeed Nirvana – the ground breaking grunge rock’n'roll band he fronted – that hasn’t already been said.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003