News Rebekah Brooks, former News International chief executive arrives for the phone-hacking trial at the Old Bailey court in London

Attempt ‘to conceal porn from police’ led to charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice against the Brookses

Letter: That film: just a crashing bore

Sir: Crash seems to be triggering a lot of opinionating - much from people who haven't seen it. I can offer our own experience.

mug shots

Many of the faces on these pages are among the most pampered by the photographer's art.

Letter: Great days for Moynihan and the Playboy Bunnies

Sir: Are you all so young at the Independent that the Fifties and the Sixties are the same (photograph of the late third Baron Moynihan surrounded by Playboy Bunnies, 16 July)? Is there no one old enough to have gone to the Playboy Club on Park Lane? How sad. Tell you exactly when it was - the later months of 1966.

Blasphemy offends TV viewers

Television broadcasters are not aware of the potential offence caused by "God", "Almighty", and "Jesus Christ" when they are used as swear words, the Broadcasting Standards Council warned yesterday.


2 Novel Without a Name by Duong Huo Thuong, Picador pounds 5.99. Images of the American experience in Vietnam are still imprinted on our collective consciousness. This novel - translated from the Vietnamese, banned in Vietnam but already lauded on its publication in America - shows the war from the other side. The author herself led a Communist Youth Brigade to the most heavily bombarded front where she spent the next seven years living in tunnels and underground shelters alongside the North Vietnamese troops. Her experience vividly informs the story of Quan, a young North Vietnamese soldier making his way home through the jungle but also completing a spiritual journey from idealism to disillusionment. The sense of despair is profound as happy childhood memories jostle with present horrors: the coffin-making detail sleeping in their coffins, orangutan soup (the paws floating "like the hands of babies"), the accidental manslaughter of friends. The devastation of civilian life is as stark as the plight of the soldiers themselves and their dislocation from all they once held dear. Eight years earlier the war seemed their chance for resurrection but instead they are desperate, sick and starving. This looks like a classic of war fiction.

double play; The Lily and the Lamb; Anonymous 4 (Harmonia Mundi CD HMU 907125)

Back to the future, or onwards to the past? What is it about these distant voices that has so captured the public imagination? Is it simply that distance lends enchantment: I hear music and there's no one there? Do we perhaps need to be reminded of just how far we have journeyed from the heart of the matter? Do we now crave simpler truths, a purity of utterance long since lost in the complexities of the modern age? Or are we talking some kind of stress-related therapy, the latest in a long line of auditory sedatives? The cynic in me fears that might indeed be the case, that the massive record sales clocked up in this area since Hildegard of Bingen became the patron saint of Hyperion Records amounts to little more than the need for a soothing muzak for fevered brows. Let's assume that there is more to it than that.

Thank you, your highness

John Lyttle, a fan, remembers the day he met the late Dilys Powell (above), the doyenne of critics

turn offs

Inspector Morse The dreary detective heads for the hills of Chinatishire and gets a crush on an opera singer. And it all takes, of course, a very very long time. Especially when it's the second time round. Sat 8.05pm ITV

Fishing Lines: Regal tales and celebrity carps

THE Queen Mother was first choice as one of the guests on my hour-long television chat show which goes out next week. She seemed the perfect choice: best-loved member of the Royal Family, decades of fishing experience and a fund of entertaining stories.

Glossary: Let gravestones tell their stories

THE INDEPENDENT's offices are located next to a graveyard, the Nonconformist burial ground of Bunhill Fields, just outside the City of London boundaries. Bunyan, Defoe and Blake are buried here, alongside Isaac Watts, the composer of hymns, and a scattering of minor Cromwells.

SECOND THOUGHTS / Walking the mean streets: Gillian Slovo reflects on how the feisty heroine of her detective fiction has changed over the years

IT STARTED as a whim. With Facade, my psychological thriller, on the copy editor's desk, I needed another project. Why not, I thought, go back to my detective? After all it had been seven years since I had last worked with her.

CINEMA / No monsters and not half dark enough: A recurring image that seems a portent of a terrible evil that the film doesn't deliver on

'I WISH I had a talisman to give you, or a silver bullet, or a stake to drive through the monster's heart,' says a confidante of the tortured hero of The Dark Half (18). 'But it's not that simple.' If only it was. George A Romero's strangely tentative adaptation of Stephen King's novel takes one of the oldest horror plots in the book - it's essentially the Jekyll and Hyde story, the idea of a dual personality - and dilutes its traditional potent brew with a dose of ideas.

THEATRE / Mother of all murders: Correction

In yesterday's review of 'Butterfly Kiss', the actress Susan Brown was incorrectly billed as Susan Brownowen.

Obituary: Willie Mae Ford Smith

Willie Mae Ford Smith, singer, died 2 February, aged 89. Known in gospel music circles as 'Mother Smith', she starred in a 1982 documentary film on gospel music Say Amen, Somebody.

BOOK REVIEW / In defence of America's soul: Sailor song by Ken Kesey: Black Swan pounds 6.99

'TUNE IN, turn on, drop out', advises the press release accompanying Ken Kesey's first novel in 25 years. But don't be misled. While there's quite a bit of drug abuse in this book, Kesey isn't stuck in the Sixties. Sailor Song is concerned with child abuse (the book's villain turns out to be the product of his mother and her father), with ethnicity and - despite its vast, tree-pulping 600 pages - with environmentalism.
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