Arts and Entertainment Brace yourself: Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves in 'House of Fools'

Vic and Bob have done sketch shows (The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer), web series (Vic & Bob’s Afternoon Delights), comedy dramas (Catterick, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)) and the greatest quiz show of all time (Shooting Stars), but until now they’ve never done a sitcom as sit-commy as this. Their new show, House of Fools (BBC2), is filmed in front of a live studio audience, and the duo play Odd Couple-style flatmates in a home filled with bizarre bric-à-brac and beset by unwelcome visitors.

Obituaries: Jose Pierre

IF YOU don't take yourself seriously, nobody else will. This axiom, well known to all the greatest comics, was at the root of the studied frivolity of Surrealism, a literary and artistic movement devised both to amuse and appal. It required that essential element of absurd gravity to make it believable, just as the only way to play farce is to treat it in deadly earnest.

Podium: A lesson in the politics of love

From the Oxford English Professor's Warton lecture at the British Academy

Comedy Jason Byrne

The comedy world is flush with Irishmen at the moment - two of them (the eventual winner Tommy Tiernan and Ed Byrne) were on the Perrier shortlist at this year's Edinburgh Festival. Jason Byrne (no relation, above) is riding similarly high, having just had a special broadcast on Channel 4. His live act, which involves a range of wacky props, has been described as "part Spike Milligan, part Duracell Bunny", which exactly sums up his energetic brand of surrealism. He is on an impressive bill for a special comedy night, compered by Junior Simpson, which also features Ross Noble and Andre Vincent, on Wednesday.

The Critics: Exhibitions: The kiss of the spiderwoman

Louise Bourgeois Serpentine Gallery, W2 Phillip King Bernard Jacobson Gallery, W1 Rachel Whiteread Anthony d'Offay Gallery, W1

First Night: Passionate dance stings the senses

Cruel Garden Ballet Rambert London

A short break in... Brussels

Now that the Belgian capital is just a train ride away, only the fear of too much beer, chocolate and moules-frites could keep anyone from visiting, writes Nicola Smyth

whereits@.surrealism.

This month the Liverpool Tate begins a major exhibition of the work of Salvador Dali, the artist who did more than any other to popularise Surrealism, but who also debased it through his long, overproductive dotage. The Tate show focuses on his best period, the Thirties. If you want to capture some of the spirit of inquiring irrationality which informed the original movement - all that Cabaret Voltaire tapping-into-the-subconscious business - then visit the Surrealism Server. Here, as the opening page puts it, you can "judge the basis of Surrealism not by what has been and yet remains to be written about the movement, but by what has been done and yet remains to be accomplished using the mecanismes inherent in the Vice of Surrealism".

pounds 379,000 - the costliest photo in the world

MAN RAY'S renowned image of his mistress holding an African mask was sold for a record pounds 379,000 yesterday - the highest price paid for any single photographic work at auction.

Hindley happy to kill, says Brady

THE MOORS murderer Ian Brady yesterday launched a vicious attack on his former accomplice, Myra Hindley, following her claims in The Independent that he forced her into taking part in the killings. Describing Hindley as mentally ill, with a fragmented personality, he said she happily took part in the killing of five children and needed no coercion from him.

AN AFTERNOON IN...

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Friday Book: The poet as frustrated composer

WAKEFULNESS BY JOHN ASHBERY, CARCANET PRESS, pounds 7.95

Books: Beautiful dreamers

Euan Cameron meets golden Americans who came to grief

Brussels adds a surreal touch to Magritte show

ART LOVERS heading for Belgium beware, writes Imre Karacs. There is, by all accounts, a wonderful exhibition of Rene Magritte's life works on in Brussels. So wonderful, in fact, that the authorities in the Capital of Europe have decided to keep foreigners away, lest their glance should besmirch the greatest Belgian artist's canvas.

Travel: eurobeat: the full rene

The bad news from Belgium: if you want to attend the Dendermonde jazz pub crawl, you'll have to wait another year. The annual music-fuelled, minibus-assisted event was staged last night at a small town between Ghent and Antwerp.
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