Arts and Entertainment Ellie Goulding has refused to sing at the Sochi Winter Olympics due to Russia's anti-gay laws

The singer turned down a request to sing at the Sochi opening ceremony

'A rock'n'roll Jesus with a cowboy mouth'

When the playwright Sam Shepard met aspiring rock star Patti Smith in 1971, the result was an intense affair and a play which hasn't seen the light of day for years. Why revive it now, asks Samantha Ellis

Spoken Word

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets read by Stephen Fry

Radio: War: this is what it's good for

It must be fun pitching ideas for Radio 3. The direct opposite of pitching ideas for Hollywood. Try this. "I would like to put on a play dealing with the absurdity of war, written 77 years ago by an Austrian satirist few in this country have heard of." "Fine, fine." "It's 15 hours long - I'm not sure, it's never been staged in its entirety - has a cast of hundreds, and points out how our rulers, the media, and large swaths of the population, but particularly those with vested interests, are stupid, venal, hypocritical, and, worst of all, murderous." "Jolly good, tell me more." "It is written from a position of high intellectualism, deliberately at odds with the prevailing mood, and, given that it starts with a Balkan war and will be broadcast at a time when Boris Yeltsin is reminding us that Russia is still a nuclear power, will give the willies to everyone who hears it. And although I can't do it in 15 hours - I'm not that crazy - I can't do it in any less than four."

This will not break code of the Woosters

WODEHOUSE'S WARTIME broadcasts surface every few years like a horned floating bomb, breaking the millpond surface of his long and glorious career. Without the endlessly reiterated tale of the five talks he recorded for the Nazis in 1941, to be broadcast to America and, later, to Britain, his reputation would be too good to be true: that of an industrious old sweetie with a ceaseless facility for farcical plots and vivid similies, who doted on his public school (Dulwich College), wrote 98 books and 200 songs, amassed a fortune by shrewd fiscal husbandry, was happily married and, in letters, referred to his own daughter as "old boy".

My ideal version is showing at the Kington Coronet

We must all have books we like so much that we don't want other people to make films of them

Television: How many lobsters were going to St Ives?

Shortly before Rick Stein's first television series, I rang two weeks ahead to book a table for 14 at his Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. If I tried that now, I'd be laughed all the way to St Ives. Not even well- dressed crabs get into the Seafood Restaurant without reserving months in advance. Indeed, when I called in December last year to book a table for two for a midweek evening in August this year, I was told they hadn't anything before 9pm. At first I thought they were joking, and was faintly reminded of Fletcher in Porridge, who left his shoes to be repaired the day before he was nicked, and after years in prison went back for them. "They'll be ready Tuesday," he was told.

Now for the BBC's cost-cutting awards, repeated weekly

This week we're giving the prize to a new Radio 4 item, `I'm Sorry I Haven't a Desert Island'

The dangerous bigotry of the BBC

I was not allowed to infer that Mandelson's situation is not a million miles from Oscar Wilde's

All the rage, and how he survived it: Tony Slattery

deborah ross talks to Tony Slattery

Film: Also showing - Kingdom of basket cases

The Kingdom II

Not so Wilde about the boys

David Hare has miscast 'The Judas Kiss' and misjudged the passions of Oscar Wilde, writes Paul Taylor

No bottom jokes? Pull the other one

Think of Rik Mayall and you see a grinning maniac spouting bad- taste jokes about bodily malfunctions in a succession of hectic TV sitcoms. Now he is starring in a slightly more grown-up role in the film `Bring me the Head of Mavis Davis'. But, he tells James Rampton, it is a part that still has him feeling like a misfit.

Jilted John returns

BOX CLEVER

Wilde: about the man

He, famously, had nothing to declare except his genius. And, to judge by the new crop of plays and films, neither have we. But exactly which Oscar are we going Wilde about: the flamboyant bisexual or the subversive aesthete?

Books: The bottom line

When he makes the effort, Stephen Fry the writer can produce something much finer than lavatory humour. Roger Clarke muses on a dandy's progress
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
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A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
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'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
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Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
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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
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
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

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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
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

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