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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Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor