Arts and Entertainment
 

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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links