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

BOOKS / Classic Thoughts: Brains thrill to the core: Lucasta Miller on Charlotte Bronte's Villette (1853)

UNLIKE Jane Eyre, which has become one of the iconic love stories of popular culture, Charlotte Bronte's Villette is an acquired taste. Matthew Arnold thought it 'hideous, undelightful, convulsive'. Harriet Martineau found it 'almost intolerably painful'. Indeed, far from reflecting the sentimental, purple-heathery image which the Bronte sisters have since acquired, Villette is irreducibly disturbing.

Talk of the trade: A name to remember

THE Canadian brewery Labatt's has completed a pounds 2m sponsorship deal with Apollo Leisure, giving it exclusive rights to distribute its lagers at Apollo's rock venues in Manchester and London, plus a logo on the two buildings. Fair enough; but why can't it leave the names of these small pieces of cultural history alone? The Hammersmith Odeon - where most of the big names in music, including the Beatles, have played - had already been renamed the Hammersmith Apollo. Now it is to be called the Labatt's Apollo. When will companies putting money into popular culture realise that the names of these venues have a resonance that they have no right to destroy?

Show success

The Royal Academy's annual report showed that the Pop Art Show put on in association with the Independent attracted 263,740 visitors, the largest attendance for an exhibition at the academy in the past year.

THEATRE / Beg - BAC, London SW11

Part sinister fairy-tale and part shaggy-dog story, Peta Lily's brilliant tour de force probes the dark recesses of the mind where sexual fantasies take root, fed on a rich diet of popular culture. We are in Angela Carter's Bloody Chamber, but there's also more than a touch of The Real Inspector Hound, as Dr Penelope Second (Lily), the surgical gynaecologist who has invented a unique form of stitching, is investigated by the lunatic detective Stiltskin for the macabre murder of her former lover, Dr John Lord. Aided and abetted by Philip Pellew, who gamely plays all the other roles from a dog to a corpse, Lily builds a compelling portrait of a multi-faceted woman whose cool exterior hides a throbbing subconscious where father fixations become entwined with childhood memories of Little Red Riding Hood. David Glass's good-looking production - half dream, half nightmare - makes inventive use of a musical soundtrack which is pure movie magic and builds to a shuddering and shocking climax.

BOOKS / Poetry: Carol Rumens on two exciting new collections

LIVING in Cumbria, William Scammell faces the dilemma of the poet whose habitat has already become literature. In these post-modern times, ignoring the notables and quotables at your shoulder is scarcely an option, though. Bleeding Heart Yard (Peterloo pounds 6.95), his latest volume, provides a genial 'open house' for many, from William Wordsworth, famous for 'walking sideways, / going boom boom boom' to Ken Russell, 'brandishing his Panaflex / at Mother Nature's teeming sex . . . '
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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn