Arts and Entertainment

Of all the subjects for a thrilling tale of espionage, war and diplomacy, ping-pong seems an unlikely contender. All the more intriguing then is the story behind a détente between America and China in 1971, which occurred seemingly out of the blue after 22 years of hostility.

Herb Snitzer: Jazz gold (in monochrome)

When he was asked to photograph the great tenor saxophonist Lester Young in New York City in 1958, Herb Snitzer was just a young man with a camera.

Business Diary: Lloyds group bags former UKIP man

Lloyds Action Now, the pressure group that wants compensation for shareholders who have lost out due to the bank's takeover of HBOS, got a few headlines yesterday with its announcement of test cases against the Bank of England and the Treasury. But the Diary thought Adrian Lithgow, the group's spokesman, looked familiar. We were right: he is the same Adrian Lithgow who was forced to resign as head of communications for the UK Independence Party four years ago after pleading guilty to racially aggravated harassment and threatening behaviour. Lithgow got into a row with railway staff at Victoria Station in London, with a Yugoslavian member of staff suffering some particularly unpleasant abuse.

The Millwall reject who has won his country's backing

Matt Jarvis's work ethic saw him overcome failure and reach the England squad. Sam Wallace speaks to those behind his rise

The Sultan of Zanzibar, By Martyn Downer

Funny, fast-moving and astounding, this biography goes way beyond what would be considered feasible in fiction.

The Forsythe Company, Sadler's Wells, London

As avant-garde meets disco, be afraid, be petrified

My Secret Life: Geoff Dyer, writer, 52

My parents are... Jack, a sheet-metal worker and Mary, a dinner lady, then a cleaner. He's 91 and she's 85. We Dyers are tenacious.

Bettina von Kameke reveals prison life through a lens

Some of Bettina von Kameke's images of male prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs jail could have been taken for a prison prospectus. A tidy cell is complete with a TV, desk and photos on the walls; an inmate relaxes on a comfy black sofa in a communal social area with pool tables; prisoners pump weights in the prison gym; others are playing a board game. But perhaps sadder is the face of an inmate peering through the small glass window of his closed cell door, watching other inmates playing ping pong.

Bolton sign Wheater from Boro

New Bolton signing David Wheater has been tipped by manager Owen Coyle to win back a place in the England squad.

Inside Lines: Hearn reveals his table plan for new ball-grabbing showpiece

The ubiquitous Barry Hearn, having scored heavily with darts and given snooker the kiss of life, now has a new sporting squeeze on his arm.

Outside Edge: On the piste, not under the table

If ever there was a sport that combined seasonal drinking with inclement weather conditions, it has to be table-sledging. This new sport was apparently dreamed up by a group of drunk students who became stuck in deep snow in a cabin in the Austrian Alps and decided that their only way out was to turn a table upside down and bomb down the slopes on it. Legend has it that when they got to the bottom, they turned it back over and carried on drinking. Now the Austrian ski resort of Kühtai has just staged the inaugural three-day Table-Sledging Championships. It's not known if the Bolton Mountain Rescue team are intending to enter the event next year but one of their members, Matthew Hailwood, had to be rescued by the North West Air Ambulance on Boxing Day after they had spent the day sledging on Rivington Pike. He sustained serious bruising and had been carried to the bottom of the hill on a stretcher, which came in handy since it was the stretcher that they had been using as a sledge.

David Flatman: Every club should have a mad man

From the Front Row: Whether it's a village idiot or the ones who can't stop smiling, our game is still full of festive cheer

Matt Jarvis: 'Our tackling has been blown out of proportion'

Matt Jarvis, who aims to fuel his England cause at Chelsea today, tells Sam Wallace Wolves are not dirty, just misunderstood

Exit, pursued by a camera: Backstage portraits offer a unique glimpse of stars relaxing at the Old Vic

Aformer stage hand at London's Old Vic theatre, Matt Humphrey, took advantage of his position backstage and asked the actors if he could photograph them in their dressing rooms and behind the scenes. His atmospheric shots of life backstage include a ghoulish-looking Rebecca Hall, as Hermione in The Winter's Tale, standing in the theatre's corridor, while Jessica Hynes holds her leg in a yoga pose in her dressing room before a performance of The Norman Conquests.

Delhi Diary: 09/10/2010

Today

2.30pm England in table tennis final

Paul Drinkhall was the hero for England in yesterday's thrilling semi-final victory against India. They now face a strong Singapore team in today's final.

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel Shop See all offers »
India and Nepal
14 nights from £2,159pp Find out more
Dutch Masters
five nights from £679pp Find out more
La Robla and Rioja
nine nights from £1599pp Find out more
Classical Spain
six nights from £539pp Find out more
California and the Golden West
14 nights from £1,599pp Find out more
Bruges
three nights from £259pp Find out more
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?