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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.

Books: A walk on the dark side

Gothic fiction, says John Sutherland, is a moving target; A Geography of Victorian Gothic Fiction: Mapping History's Nightmares by Robert Mighall OUP pounds 45

Books: The self at a safe distance

Adam Phillips tells Anna Picard about loss, the literati, and why he wants to `do a Salinger'

Classical Notes: Oedipus' fate was in his genes - and he knew it

IT IS no longer fashionable to want to kill your father and sleep with your mother. In Freudian terms, the ancient myth of Oedipus is today looking a little tired, though of course we do owe the founder of modern psychology some thanks for being able to say boo to taboos. Today, Oedipus would have counselling and sell his story to the tabloids.

Dance: Freudian slips can make for giant leaps

Cullberg Ballet: Giselle Playhouse, Edinburgh Meg Stuart: Appetite Festival Theatre Edinburgh

Goodnight Vienna

Days before Sigmund Freud fled the Nazis in 1938, and took refuge in England, Edmund Engelman made this photographic record of the apartment where psychoanalysis was born. Here he recalls that visit

A thrilling new fictional form: the bite-size novel

Teddy Carew was an upper-class twit with a streak of evil who liked inflicting pain on girls

Books: A journal of two very different hearts

Affinity by Sarah Waters Virago pounds 9.99

Letter: Tim's mission

Letter: Tim's mission

Television: Shock treatment

A haunted orphan with a junkie sister: and that's just the doctor. A new drama has a novel approach to mental health

Poppy Folly Your Stars: It Could Happen

You can tell most of what you want to know about this unfortunate sign by looking them up in a rhyming dictionary: "Taurus: `bore us', `how pleased we are when they decide to ignore us', and `can't sing or dance particularly so put them well in the back of the chorus'." They cite, respectively, Terry Southern, Bianca Jagger and Bing Crosby and this shows how rhyming lexicographers are a third less accurate in their grasp of character than metropolitan astrologers.

Sympathy for the Dysfunctional: the American cartoons that ate the world

The original satire on the cosy suburban sitcom, the Simpsons family is dysfunctional but sympathetic. To begin with, the focus was on young Bart's problematic behaviour but, as the show developed, his dad Homer became the central figure. His stupid, selfish, profoundly passive response to the world makes him one of the most profoundly human characters on television. Key Homer quote: "Donuts - is there anything they can't do?"

Column: A good idea from ... Freud

THE OTHER night, at a party, I bumped into a beautiful woman called Rachel who was in the kitchen looking for a drink. She was about 29, had shoulder-length brown hair, pale skin and watery blue eyes - and it soon became obvious that she was very much in love with me. I noticed this early on in the conversation. There was something in the way she said "cranberry juice" when I asked her what she wanted to drink which proved the strength of her desire. And when she abruptly ended our short chat, saying, "I've got to go and join my boyfriend in the next room, bye," and walked out quickly (or ran out), there was no longer any doubt about the depth of her love for me.

Books: Shards of a shattered city

The Plato Papers by Peter Ackroyd Chatto & Windus, pounds 15.99, 140pp; Seen from a mythical age, far in the future, London today looks like a bad dream. John Clute celebrates one major writer's flight of fancy...

Books: Imbiber at the fountain of fantasy

Futuristic fantasy; Wellsian dystopia; satire-cum-soul searcher; mantric realism - whatever Peter Ackroyd's new book may be, it cannot go out and take its place in the world, as the jacket declares it, as a "novel". If not for any other reason than that, in a literary Magimix age where fiction and biography melt the borderlines of fact and invention, and the coming of the virtual age promises us eternal uncertainty, there is nothing novel to be found in this reconstruction of a future from the distant past. The characters have been here before. The hero, donning an orator's mask, bears the name Plato. The fragments of a long-dead world he investigates are recognisably a part of the world of Peter Ackroyd - that is to say, London.

The Sketch: Freudian-slip funsters find asylum in chamber of errors

"MENTAL ILLNESS is as common as asthma," announced Frank Dobson yesterday. "It affects as many as one in six adults at any one time."
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn