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The first 45 minutes of this eschatological thriller-farce features some of the best work director Edgar Wright and co-screenwriter Simon Pegg have done. The film completes a loose trilogy begun with the excellent Shaun of the Dead (2004) and continued in the so-so Hot Fuzz (2007).

Harriet Walker: A cuts lesson from my one-year-old niece

It's standard etiquette, I think, not to take things away from a child – unless of course they're wielding a chainsaw, or a spoonful of jam next to a white carpet. The big wigs know this as well as the rest of us. Last week saw the release of a government-commissioned report which found that early intervention in a child's development would break the cycle of "dysfunction and under-achievement". The early years of a child's life are the ones that count, in terms of ability to socialise, learn, communicate and, quite simply, to exist to the very best of their ability.

Diary: Prezza backs wrong Piers

As if a 100-foot billboard of Piers Morgan in Times Square wasn't sufficiently sickly, the rookie CNN interviewer's marketing team yesterday dispatched large boxes of resolution-busting CNN/Morgan cupcakes to newspaper offices across London, no doubt hoping to secure favourable reviews for their man's first outing with Oprah. (I poked it down with tea, sipped from my similarly bizarre Sky News/Adam Boulton mug, received a day previously.) The cupcakes were as nothing, however, to the surprise one loyal reader of this column registered upon learning that former Deputy PM John Prescott had joined the smug one's cheerleading squad: Prescott, it seemed, was tweeting that he planned to stay up until 2am (Morgan's live transmission time), to pull a "Piers All-Nighter". Of course, when said reader rubbed his/her eyes, they realised that Prescott's links led, instead, to live footage of the filibustering House of Lords debate on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – also known as the "Peers' All-Nighter". Sleep has never seemed so inviting.

Bespoke: Delusions of grandeur

It is not enough to buy designer – one has to order bespoke. But this 'Grand Designs' life of endless choice is just an ego-stroking sales pitch that lets us believe our cash makes us creative, argues Charlotte Raven.

Paul Barker: A meritocracy? What an awfully 20th-century idea

An Old Etonian is to marry an Old Marlburian. Our writer asks if social mobility has seized up

Birmingham Diary: 'Transparent' Tories silent over falling membership

"We're bringing transparency to government," David Cameron said yesterday. Maybe. But the Conservatives are certainly not being transparent about the health of their own party. There has been no confirmation or denial of the interesting claim by the editor of the ConservativeHome website, Tim Montgomerie, that party membership has declined by 80,000 under David Cameron's leadership.

Chalk talk: Are we going to see a wave of student protests?

Aaron Porter, the new president of the National Union of Students, has just notched up a redoubtable coup. He became the first president of the NUS for more than 40 years to be invited into the inner sanctum of Universities UK, the body that represents vice-chancellors, to talk at their conference.

Writer and financier get go-ahead for new schools

Fears that the Government's "free" schools programme will be dominated by faith groups and create more segregation between religions were re-ignited yesterday. Five of the first 16 schools announced by Education Secretary Michael Gove will be faith-orientated – two Jewish, one Hindu, one Sikh and one Christian.

Bruce Chatwin: Could this be the last great man of letters?

A revealing collection of correspondence from legendary travel writer is set to be published

Simon Carr: Ed Balls did a Gordon Brown impression – minus the light touch

Sketch: The two-tier system he fears could only be an improvement on the multiple tiers of deprivation and failure we currently have

Christina Patterson: Men: the latest endangered species

Boys are being vomited out of an inadequate school system at 16 and left to rot. If the state keeps them from starving, it probably won't for much longer

E Jane Dickson: Free schools will be middle-class ghettos

The policy is not, in any meaningful sense, about ‘parent power’. It is about powerful parents. It could cost a generation of children its chance of a better future

<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & online postings (30 May 2010)

For a school to achieve "outstanding" status, there presumably has to be something outstanding about the way it is run. The coalition proposes to "fix" what is so categorically not broken (everything else is, apparently) by converting such schools to academies. In doing so, it will place them under the control of "sponsor"-heavy governing bodies, thus ensuring that any other voices can always be outvoted, and removing democratic accountability through local authorities.

The trials and tribulations of creating a 'free' school

Peter Stanford talks to Toby Young about his quest to provide a decent education for his children

Girls' club that's a refuge for boys who refuse to grow up

The Groucho, Soho's club of legend, is 25 years old. So how will it celebrate? Ian Burrell finds out

Melissa Benn: Goldie and Toby's laugh-in

Stop going round setting up new schools. Support existing ones
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Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
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Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
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Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
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Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
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Jonny May scores for England
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fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
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Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin