Arts and Entertainment

Without question, the book that has most influenced my life has been Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs. I was astonished by the outrageous pot-head humour: crazy ideas taken way beyond their normal limits. The book was a savage indictment of American racism and consumerism, it dealt with the corruption, graft and lies of politicians with Swiftian humour. I had never read anything like, then or since.

Gillian Anderson to play Blanche DuBois in Young Vic production

X-Files star Gillian Anderson is returning to the London stage to play Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Daniel Kitson now commands an impassioned following around the world

Comedy review: Daniel Kitson, Tree, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

When Daniel Kitson gave the Latitude Festival audience a tantalising glimpse of his new show this summer it was still very much a sapling. Two months later and Tree has put on branches and leaves, emerging into the gloom of a drizzly autumnal Manchester night as a mighty oak.

Edinburgh International Festival: Eh Joe, Royal Lyceum

Edinburgh 2013: Eh Joe - Samuel Beckett's TV play starring Penelope Wilton

As Penelope Wilton recounts his appalling treatment of her predecessors and successors in Joe’s bed, Michael Gambon’s face is projected onto the gauze. Throughout the 30 minutes of the piece, he says not a word. We are aware of his hunched figure, wrapped in a rancid dressing gown, but it is the folds and craters of his face that tell us the story.

Page 3 Profile: David Soul, actor

Is a Starsky and Hutch revival on the cards?

You can be serious: Top comics play it straight at Fringe

Some of Britain's top comics are putting away their one-liners to perform in straight dramas at the Edinburgh Festival

Barney Rosset: Controversial publisher who introduced Beckett to a worldwide audience

In a profession renowned for its individualists, the publisher Barney Rosset was an eccentric among eccentrics, a man of strong passions who seldom listened to others – and never, if they wished to persuade him to change his course of action. In 1951 he bought a defunct New York publishing company, Grove Press, and devoted his energies to turning it into the most prestigious and adventurous literary publishing company in America. Professor Wallace Fowlie, of the New School University in Greenwich Village, gave him tips about current French literature and Sylvia Beach, of Shakespeare and Company, told him about a talented Irish writer in Paris called Samuel Beckett. In 1954 Rosset published the first US edition of Waiting for Godot and Beckett remained his most faithful author.

One Minute With: Shalom Auslander, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

Mark Padmore/Paul Lewis, Wigmore Hall

The birth of Schubert’s Winterreise song-cycle was suitably poignant. Wilhelm Muller humbly declared that his poems needed music to infuse them with life, but died unaware that Schubert was turning them into a libretto.

David Leddy's Untitled Love Story, St George's West, Edinburgh

David Leddy is a Fringe institution, a writer and director who magics audiences to faraway places in his shows. Last year, he took them on a macabre midnight journey through an old Masonic lodge.

Album: Morton Feldman, Neither (Hat [now] Art)

Though nominally an opera, this collaboration between Feldman and Samuel Beckett features neither setting nor characters, and a mere 16 lines of text, which makes it more of a cantata.

Leading article: The rich should not be able to buy preference

Samuel Beckett was once asked why he quit his job as a university lecturer teaching the cream of Irish society. Indeed, the rich and the thick, was his riposte. The Tory minister, David Willetts, was forced into an embarrassing climbdown before the House of Commons yesterday after suggestions that he wanted to introduce a two-tier system in English universities which would apparently favour those with money over those with academic ability.

Terminus, Young Vic, London

Tortured trio left in limbo on the Liffey

My Secret Life: Richard Herring, comedian, 43

My parents were... My dad was my headmaster and my mother also taught me at school. I did a whole show about whether it psychologically scarred me, but when I look back, I think all the bad things about me were already in existence. I was in a fortunate position where I had a very solid family – my parents have been together since they were 13. It's almost hard to live up to that!

The mystery and poetry of the towpath

I was inclined to be poetical about the Grand Canal," said Nathaniel Hawthorne in his New-England Magazine sketch "The Canal Boat", from 1835. It's insightful writing, in which he describes the canal wending its way through each town as "the most fertilizing of all fluids" and feeding their "masses of brick and stone, their churches and theatres, their business and hubbub, their luxury and refinement, their gay dames and polished citizens – to spring up, till, in time, the wondrous stream may flow between two continuous lines of buildings, through one thronged street."

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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
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape