Arts and Entertainment

"Bo Burnham: What", Pleasance Grand, Edinburgh Fringe, August

Gilbert & George: 'There's nothing wrong with patriotism'

Their new show might be a celebration of Britishness. But then again it might not. John Walsh enters the endlessly contradictory world of Gilbert and George

Gilbert and George make bid for establishment status

The Britart duo Gilbert and George have built their reputations on producing some of the most outrageous and shocking artworks featuring nudity, images of sexual acts and using bodily fluids including urine and semen.

Forever Nude, By Guy Goffette

If you can overlook the dodgy title, this diverting novelette proves a nostalgia-filled introduction to the work of French artist, Pierre Bonnard. Related in brief, impressionistic chapters, Guy Goffette, a Belgian poet, re-imagines the life of a painter now best known for his dreamy depictions of women at their toilette.

Abstract America, Saatchi Gallery, London

The styles and strategies of the past 20 years have foundered on lack of originality, as this exhibition illustrates

Album: Zed-U, Night Time in the Middle Passage, (Babel)

There are any number of English bands with a heavy post-modern spin whose albums you'd never willingly listen to twice.

Antony Beevor: 'History has not emphasised enough the suffering of French civilians during the War'

Poor Doctor Stagg. How tightly the hand of history, for a short time, clasped his shoulder. In 1944, the Scot was Britain's leading civilian weather expert. Suddenly, he had been made a group captain in the RAF, so that he carried the necessary authority to dole out decisive advice on the timing of the invasion of Normandy.

Nicholas Maw: Composer whose modernism was underpinned by his lyricism and Romantic leanings

Nicholas Maw was a Romantic composer of a decidedly modern sort, one who found that there still existed, within long continuity, possibilities of extraordinary range and freshness.

Philip Glass: 'I think I'm built for this kind of life. I train like an athlete'

The world's most austere composer drove taxis until he was 42. He reveals how his fastidious life informs his music

Grave new world: There's a sombre new mood in the arts world

The 'South Bank Show' with Melvyn Bragg may be ending, but across the arts there is suddenly a hunger for serious fare, says David Lister

Così Fan Tutte, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Latin lotharios steal the heart

Jack Cardiff: Oscar-winning cinematographer celebrated for his work with Powell and Pressburger

When I met Jack Cardiff on a film set at Elstree Studios, he was busy heaving spotlights around and nipping up a ladder to adjust them. The legendary cinematographer was then 84. Cardiff's career spanned the best part of film's first century; he worked with many of the art form's greatest practitioners and was famed for his pioneering mastery of Technicolor. But, whereas others might have been content to rest on their laurels, pottering around the occasional festival or sitting on the odd panel as emblems of nostalgia, he remained active and passionate about movies throughout his life. His last project was the television documentary mini-series The Other Side of the Screen (2007).

Pandora: Vince turns a blind eye to Obama circus

The peculiar paradox of Obama's credit-crunch-busting entourage appears lost on the upper echelons of the Liberal Democrats. Or, if not lost, then studiously ignored ( Pandora suspects the latter).

Matthew Norman: Public outrage counts for nothing

Fury at politicians is a noble emotion, and a moral imperative. But it won't change things

Album: Liam Noble, Brubeck (Basho)

Yes, postmodernism has made Dave Brubeck cool again, although he was always rather po-mo himself, pretentious and corny in equal parts. Pianist Noble's trio with Dave Whitford on bass and Dave Wickins on drums fairly rattles along, swinging madly on the opening "Give a Little Whistle" and getting suitably sentimental on two versions of "In Your Own Sweet Way", one of the great jazz standards. By the time they get to Paul Desmond's "Take Five", they're flying. A very effective tribute.

Album: Buddy & Julie Miller, Written in Chalk (New West)

Garlanded with praise from the likes of Emmylou Harris and Don Was ("This might be the best record I've ever heard"), Written in Chalk has the nobility of old-time country music, but with a post-modern appreciation of blues, jazz and the innovations of artists such as Tom Waits and Robert Plant.

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game