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.
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The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
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filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
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The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
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Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
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Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
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Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
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Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?