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Speeches in the House of Commons by the Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg are an erudite comedy turn. As MPs debated the European Union (Approvals) Bill (Lords), which writes into British law two draft regulations passed by the Council of the European Union, only he thought it necessary to read into the official record part of what one of the regulations actually said.

First Night: Das Rheingold, Royal Opera House, London

The overture to 'Das Rheingold' is one of classical music's boldest strokes, as a single bass note slowly expands upwards into a vast major chord, whose eddying ramifications remain static and unchanged for 136 bars. Under Valery Gergiev's febrile beat, the Mariinsky orchestra beautifully realises this effect, and for the next 150 minutes faithfully reflects every colour-shift in this opera's majestic musical journey.

Walking in My Mind, Hayward Gallery, London

The Freudian mind is a busy place. Better to keep it simple

Hänsel and Gretel, Opera Holland Park, London

Here's a first. As the sweetly atmospheric prelude fades away, the stillness is rudely shattered by the abrasive wail of an air-raid siren sounding the all-clear. Two gas-masked faces peep around a gigantic door. It sits at the centre of sinister, charcoal-drawn walls depicting the forbidding forest beyond. We are in wartime, for sure, a time of fear and austerity and rationing, but whether in Germany or dear old Blighty (there are resonances of both and the sung language is German, of course) is pretty much irrelevant to Stephen Barlow's wittily effective staging. What matters to Hänsel and Gretel is that it's a strange world to be growing up in.

Clement Freud, food critic and wit, dies at 84

Stephen Fry leads the tributes to the deadpan radio broadcaster

The Stepmother's Diary, By Fay Weldon

In her latest novel Fay Weldon, a writer who never sounds less than contemporary, turns her brainy gaze on the muddle of modern family life. The diary of the title belongs to Sappho, a young playwright married to a widower 19 years her senior, and stepmother to his two children.

Lowside of the Road: A life of Tom Waits

You could fit what this biography reveals of its subject's private life on the back of a cigarette packet

The New Black: Mourning, melancholia and depression, By Darian Leader

By returning to outmoded expressions such as "melancholia", and challenging the kind of five-step recovery programmes for dealing with loss favoured by popular psychologists such as Elizabeth Kubler Ross, Darian Leader hopes to re-route society's current vogue for chemically dominated responses to what is seen overall as "depression" into something more specific and more psychoanalytically based.

A-Z Of Courses: Early-years education

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/10/gordon-on-the-c.html">Ed Howker: Gordon on the couch</a>

According to psychologist Lucy Beresford, Gordon Brown is 'deeply insecure' and bringing Peter Mandelson back was "Freudian" bordering on "self-mutilating behaviour".

The facts of life: desire

Among British holidaymakers looking for love, the Italians are considered the most desirable nationality. However, a fling with a fellow Briton comes a close second. Bringing up the rear for both men and females were Americans and people from the Caribbean.

Mariinsky / Gergiev, De Doelen, Rotterdam

Dostoevsky's obsession with physical and mental pain, coupled with his relentlessly emphatic style, means that The Brothers Karamazov is not the ideal book to curl up with. Nor is this 900-page emotional odyssey ideal fodder for opera: two operas have been drawn from it, but neither has stood the test of time.

What the doctor saw: a brief history of sexology

Over the past 150 years, it seems the study of sex has interacted with society at large to influence, and be influenced by, current morals, ideologies and social behaviours.

Making Time, By Steve Taylor

Why does time seem to speed up as we get older, racing ahead of us towards an inevitable and final end point? Why do new experiences seem to stretch time, and why does it often fly when we're having fun and drag when we aren't? Roving through an eclectic range of ideas, some drawn from psychology and psychoanalysis, a few from his own imagination, Taylor doesn't really offer answers so much as ideas. Given that this book is a popular paperback rather than a peer-reviewed thesis, that's a very good thing indeed.

Stephen King: Will our central banks make a Freudian slip over their illusory control of price stability?

As oil and other commodity prices rise, there's a sense that our inflationary destiny no longer lies with our central banks
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
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Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor