Voices

These letters appear in the Monday 14th October edition of the Independent

Terence Blacker: Less opinion, more debate, please

Open-mindedness has become confused with indecisiveness

Was it the snail porridge? Diners' mystery illness forces Fat Duck to close

One of Britain's most famous restaurants has closed its doors after up to 40 diners fell ill after eating there, it emerged yesterday.

The morning Gordon made David choke on his porridge

The Tory leader's getting angry and he's turning up the volume – lambasting the Prime Minister as a headless chicken and the House of Lords for its toxic cocktail of money and politics

First banks, now a £20bn bailout for businesses

Mandelson acts to rescue viable small companies starved of credit

A gruelling meal for hard times

Tourists got a taste of the workhouse today as free gruel was ladled out in the courtyard of the Royal Academy.

IoS Christmas Appeal: In Zimbabwe, porridge once a day makes you a lucky girl

At an early childhood centre children play, learn and, most importantly, eat. But for many, this will be their only meal

A mannequin on a toilet and dry porridge – it's the Turner Prize

The Turner Prize, the annual award for artists that never ceases to raise furious debate on what constitutes art and what should be dismissed as nonsense, yesterday proved it was not about to change the habit of a lifetime.

Gruel all round as the Victorian workhouse diet makes a comeback

Rising food bills bring renewed interest in virtues of frugality

Christina Patterson: I'm depressed by all this happy talk

"If you don't have anything cheerful to say," said my father, "then don't say anything at all." That, frankly, was a bit of a tall order. Of course I didn't have anything cheerful to say. I was a teenager, for God's sake. With the advent of spots, and a truly dreadful haircut, my state of mind had switched from relatively sunny to gloweringly unhappy. I didn't follow my father's dictum, of course. I believed in freedom of speech. The freedom to make everyone else as miserable as I felt.

Cranachan with raspberries

Serves 4

The Sketch: He demonstrated the strength of ten lunatics

They are amazing, in their way. Admirable, even. The sheer intestinal fortitude it must take to appear in public after all that international humiliation. And then to come back and be humiliated at home. How to go through all that humiliation without being humbled! What a package of qualities you need for public life at this highest level. Of course, lunacy helps and, yesterday, Gordon Brown displayed the strength of 10 lunatics. It is his greatest asset.

Brian Wilde: Foggy in 'Last of the Summer Wine'

In the long-running, gentle sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, Brian Wilde established himself as the best-loved "third man" among the ageing trio of eccentrics who whiled away the hours in the Yorkshire Pennines by recalling memories past, mulling over the trials and tribulations of the present, and – despite their years – making plans for the future. He had two spells with the BBC programme written by Roy Clarke, which did much for tourism in the West Yorkshire village of Holmfirth.

The Sketch: Babyface too easily rattled on spending and child poverty

The Chancellor's answers on Today roused pity and terror. The week before he'd been "safe". Now his answers sound like a senile man masticating porridge. That is, he sounds like the porridge, not the man. Formless, pointless, virtually without content, certainly meaningless.

Retro delights: Man About the House

Man About the House stands somewhere between genius and drivel when it comes to Seventies British sitcom but Brian Viner thinks that in many ways it may have been the most successful show

Rise and shine: Mark Hix serves-up his hearty breakfast recipes

Make a good first impression by using the finest seasonal and regional produce
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