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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FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
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Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
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Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
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'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
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Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
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Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam