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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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Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
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A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
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Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
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Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
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Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
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Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
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'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
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A cupboard on sale for £7,500 in London
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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
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
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
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home