Tuesday Book: The indiscreet charm of the bureaucracy

The Power Behind the Prime Minister: the hidden influence of number ten by Dennis Kavanagh and Anthony Sheldon (HarperCollins, pounds 19.99)

THE INFORMATION ON: 'Waiting for Godot'

What Is It?

Theatre: We're on the road to nowhere

WAITING FOR GODOT THE ROYAL EXCHANGE MANCHESTER

How we waited for Godot

`I haven't the faintest idea what this play means." So said Peter Hall as he started rehearsals for the British premiere of Waiting for Godot in 1955. The "meaning" and implications of Samuel Beckett's revolutionary play, recently voted the most significant of the century, have inspired millions of words from academics.

I don't believe it!

Tony Hancock would have been 75 today. Lauded as our greatest modern comedian, he stood for the hopes, expectations and pretensions of another era. But stone me, he would have been horrified by the pessimism of contemporary comic creations such as Victor Meldrew. So does he have any relevance in 1999?

Obituary: Sir Brinsley Ford

BEFORE TRANSFERRING to the Intelligence Corps during the Second World War, Brinsley Ford saw a short period of service in the unlikely guise of Troop Sergeant-Major in an artillery unit. An event he liked to recall from that time was of the puzzling reprimand he received one day from an inspecting colonel - for displaying a nude pin-up. The object of the colonel's disapproval, it turned out, was a photograph Ford had hung over his bunk of Giambologna's Venus Standing on a Dolphin, a particular favourite among a group of works by Giambologna contained in Ford's remarkable family collection.

Theatre reviews: Toast

Toast

Leading Article: A nasty taste

THE ALLEGATIONS that Jack Cunningham has been living it up at the expense of the taxpayer may have been "rebutted" by the Cabinet Office on his behalf, but they still leave a nasty taste in the mouth. No one begrudges Jack a glass or two of whisky after a hard day in Brussels. But the wider perception is that this administration relishes the fruits of office just a little too much and that its members enjoy a lifestyle that, to use a new Labour slogan, is hardly in touch with "the many, not the few".

More than one foot in the grave

Sitcoms: Birds of a Feather BBC1 Men Behaving Badly BBC1 Ted and Ralph BBC2

No fir trees, this is the Tate

SOME DO-IT-YOURSELF shelving appears to have been left by workmen in the entrance hall of the Tate Gallery. But in fact this is Christmas - contemporary-art style.

Theatre: The future is red, white and blue

CHOICE

Davies details given to Blair

TONY BLAIR was given full details of the police file on Ron Davies the day the former Welsh Secretary resigned after an incident on Clapham Common.

Blair knew background to Davies encounter

DOWNING STREET'S strategy for dealing with the Ron Davies affair was unravelling last night after it emerged that Tony Blair knew some of the background surrounding the scandal before he accepted the resignation of the Secretary of State for Wales last week.

Inward investment targets slashed

THE DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry has scaled back massively its projections of how many inward investment projects Britain will attract following the economic downturn in Asia and elsewhere, writes Michael Harrison.
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Louis van Gaal looks dejected after Manchester United's 4-0 defeat by MK Dons on Tuesday night
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Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
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Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
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Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
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10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?