Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, By Helen Fielding

There’s a bit in the middle of Mad About the Boy when the agent for Bridget’s screenplay – a modern interpretation of Hedda Gabler set in Queen’s Park – sends her a strange email. “We have a couple of responses on your script,” he writes. “They are passing. The themes are fascinating but they’re wanting more of a romcom feel. I’ll keep trying.” It could be a coincidence, but by this point it reads like a coded SOS from the author. The book is at its best when it is a poignant comic novel about a 51-year-old woman struggling to bring up children after the sudden death of her husband. It is hit-and-miss when it’s about a 51-year-old Bridget Jones who struggles with all the TV remotes and counts nits instead of Chardonnays. But on occasion it becomes a parody of a Richard Curtis film, or even worse an American sitcom, and that of course is v v bad.

Fielding: Fondly lampoons pretentiousness

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding - Review

There’s a bit in the middle of Mad About the Boy when the agent for Bridget’s screenplay – a modern interpretation of Hedda Gabler set in Queen’s Park – sends her a strange email. “We have a couple of responses on your script,” he writes. “They are passing. The themes are fascinating but they’re wanting more of a romcom feel. I’ll keep trying.” It could be a coincidence, but by this point it reads like a coded SOS from the author. The book is at its best when it is a poignant comic novel about a 51-year-old woman struggling to bring up children after the sudden death of her husband. It is hit-and-miss when it’s about a 51-year-old Bridget Jones who struggles with all the TV remotes and counts nits instead of Chardonnays. But on occasion it becomes a parody of a Richard Curtis film, or even worse an American sitcom, and that of course is v v bad.

The unshocking Miss Emerald

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Chile's Pinochet regime used Julio Iglesias and George Harrison songs as 'torture soundtrack,' researchers claim

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Music review: Jim White, St. Pancras Old Church, London

Jim White’s songs are the tip of an iceberg of painful lives he’s lived and seen. The 56-year-old Floridian is a neat man of small movements, and his music too has incremental, gentle power.

Book of a lifetime: In the Heart of the Country, by JM Coetzee

A good book must have a certain aroma. That is what a lifetime of reading library books has taught me. Some reek too much of tobacco, others have a musty odour that seems to choke the very text, but the books that chime with me just smell right. I find them by accident; hiding behind frayed plastic jackets in the book sales of the local libraries. I peel away their protective wrapping and then sniff. In the Heart of the Country by JM Coetzee had hints of apple, sandalwood and charcoal between its pages; surprising, for such a lean and austere book, but  also promising.

Seamus Heaney poses with the Nobel Prize for Literature he received during the Nobel ceremonies in Stockholm on 10 December 1995

Seamus Heaney dead at 74: The Independent's literary editor pays tribute

'No poet of the past century has voiced dilemmas of the individual conscience torn between anguish at injustice and horror of violence better, or more profoundly'

Brian May joins a march against the badger cull

Brian May's anti-badger cull track enters download chart

Queen guitarist and anti-badger cull campaigner Brian May could be headed for chart success on Sunday with his new single ‘Save The Badger, Badger, Badger.’

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Edinburgh 2013: Max and Ivan: The Reunion - Ingeniously plotted and zingily executed

Sketch shows take one of two forms - a high-speed rattle through random gags or a narrative arc structured around more-or-less random gags. The latter can be tortuous, if not nonsensical but like Pappy's last year, Max and Ivan have hit upon the perfect vehicle for their sketch story this year. Their school reunion rom-com has plot and heart enough to stand alone but leaves space for plenty of playful messing around, too.

Edinburgh 2013: Squally Showers - Like a low-budget Eighties soap opera, but more vacuous

There are glitter curtains and mullet wigs, an overhead projector and exercise video workouts. Welcome to the Eighties! Little Bulb, a young company of five actors, take us back the decade of greed and into the offices of a booming television company.

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