Dylan Jones: 'Anyone who’s ever got drunk on Pina Coladas never wants sugar in their drink again'

Many an idea begins in jest. Especially when you're abroad, in a bar, the sun is setting, and you've just finished work for the day. There were three of us, in the Los Angeles outpost of Trader Vic's, opposite CAA, one of the biggest talent pools in town.

Album: Tara Nevins, Wood and Stone (Sugar Hill)

A member of roots-music group Donna the Buffalo for 20 years, the fiddler/accordionist Tara Nevins chose former Dylan sideman Larry Campbell to produce her first solo outing in over a decade.

Melon sorbet with mint crush

Serves 6

Fig and vanilla jam

Makes approximately 1 litre (1¾ pints)

Melon with ginger caramel

Serves 2

Cherry granita

Serves 6-8

Blue-eyed Boy, By Joanne Harris

An online obsessive known as "blueyedboy" is the narrator of this creepy pyschodrama. The 42-year-old "BB" lives with his mother in the small Yorkshire village where he spends long hours glued to his computer.

Best crop of strawberries in 20 years

The spring heatwave has led to the biggest and best English strawberry crop for 20 years.

The Sugar Barons: Family, Corruption, Empire and War, By Matthew Parker

The historian Arcinegas once wrote that the discovery of the New World was as significant as the passing from the third to the fourth day in Genesis. And, as Matthew Parker documents in The Sugar Barons, for 200 years after 1650 it was the wild and lawless islands of the Caribbean, not the more prosaic settlements of the North American mainland, where the drama of that eventful age unfolded. The West Indies, Parker points out, "held out the promise of freedom and opportunities for social mobility unknown in Europe".

What a carrion: plant lovers flock to see a rare and smelly flower

Thousands of plant lovers have flocked to the northern Swiss city of Basel to see a giant, foul-smelling flower bloom for the first time. The Basel Botanical Gardens expects 10,000 people to have filed past its Amorphophallus titanum, or corpse flower, standing in its full glory before the bloom wilts.

Smarter ways to snack

Britons consume more crisps, biscuits and sweets than any other European nation. But eating between meals needn't be a one-way ticket to weight gain, says Alice-Azania Jarvis

Album: k d lang and the Siss Boom Bang, Sing It Loud (Nonesuch)

Sing It Loud is k d lang's first work with a band of her own since her original albums with The Reclines two decades ago. But compared to the sprightly tone of those breakthrough recordings, this is tough going.

The Blagger's Guide To...'The Crimson Petal and the White'

'Downton Abbey with fellatio, really'

Sweet beetroot tart

Serves 4
Career Services

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003