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.

Portrait of the artist as a scrofulous gargoyle

A new biography of the hermitic Nobel laureate is a triumph of scholarship and sympathy. By John Walsh

The awesome Welles

ROSEBUD: The Story of Orson Welles by David Thomson, Little, Brown pounds 20ROSEBUD: The Story of Orson Welles by David Thomson, Little, Brown pounds 20

proms round-up

Kurtg and Dillon

Public brings century's top authors to book

Survey will reveal the preferences of readers, rather than critics, writes David Lister

music Gyorgy Kurtag Usher Hall

Although his music is often anything but easy to listen to, Gyorgy Kurtag, paradoxically, represents what you might call the human face of the avant-garde. This is mainly because, however strange, elusive and downright bleak his work is, it always involves the listener emotionally in some way, as well as intellectually. This week in Edinburgh we had the chance to experience the curious charm of the composer at first hand, when he and his wife Marta themselves performed at the Usher Hall on Saturday in an evening devoted to his work.

Starting from Scratch...

Baby Fox are a PoMo pop trio with a trippy, skanking, feelgood summer vibe. Phil Johnson can hardly contain himself...

BBC plugs into new age for television

The BBC yesterday staked its claim to a central role in the digital revolution, promising UK viewers wide-screen television, CD-quality sound and a 24- hour news channel in additional to its standard service.

Can the slow-moving BBC survive in the brave new world? Mathew Horsman reports

The digital age has dawned, and there is no looking back. If the BBC gets its way, the public service broadcaster will be the undisputed market leader in the brave new world. Its blueprint for a digital future posits a world of mind-boggling choice, high quality and technological brilliance in which the Beeb will be Britain's digital diva, its best and its brightest.

Dig that trash

Tom Kempinski's challenging new play is set on a rubbish dump among scavengers. By Adrian Turpin

Literary giants, very small people

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Theatre: Between the lines

`Samuel Beckett's Happy Days reminds the actress and comedian Rebecca Front of university and other unavoidably grim aspects of life

how to perform the world's shortest play

At a pub quiz recently, I learnt that the world's shortest play was apparently one by Samuel Beckett (right) called 24 Seconds. Below, I've mapped out a few scenarios for shorter (if not necessarily better) works.

Another fine mess?

John Sessions and Robbie Coltrane play Laurel and Hardy. By James Rampton

Obituary: Brenda Bruce

Brenda Bruce was one of the most seasoned interpreters of the classics on the post-war stage. Whether in comedy or tragedy, fantasy or farce, she could be counted on to give a performance to relish.

Classical: Nono / Feldman London Sinfonietta Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Though often pilloried in their lifetime, purist-composers may expect a posthumous glow of fame. In a thoughtful programme last Friday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the London Sinfonietta, conductor Markus Stenz, played late works by Luigi Nono and Morton Feldman, two notable purists who boldly went their own way and now, in our unadventurous times, have won respect for doggedly going against the grain.
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
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Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
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Virtual reality headset: 'Essentially a cinema screen that you strap to your face'
techHow virtual reality is thrusting viewers into frontline of global events and putting film-goers at the heart of the action
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Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness