Life and Style

(Clockwise from top) 1. Fall in Rose Lipstick, £21, lancome.co.uk

A Single Man, Tom Ford, 100 mins (12A)

Tom Ford's cinematic love letter to the Sixties, starring Colin Firth as a bereaved, gay Englishman in LA, hits the spot as a highbrow weepie

A Single Man (12A)

Slight, but it's perfectly formed

Hit & Run: Party like it's 1962

Tomorrow, A Single Man, the debut feature by fashion designer Tom Ford, hits British screens. It stars Colin Firth as a gay man trying to come to terms with the death of his lover in Los Angeles in 1962. Why 1962? Because everything at the moment is set in the early 1960s. An Education, Lone Scherfig’s film of Lynn Barber’s story about her seduction, while a teenager, by a plausible middle-aged man, is set in 1961. Mad Men was initially set in 1961 and the third series, currently showing on BBC2, takes us through 1963 right to the cataclysmic events of November.

Philip Hensher: Polite guests always eat the weirdest meat

What a nightmare. You're asked out to dinner by some new friends. You really want to be a good guest – they're nice people, you want the evening to be a cheerful one. They take your coat, sit you down, give you a drink and a peanut. And then you notice that there's a slightly strange smell permeating everything. You don't say anything just yet, but they must have noticed something. "We're cooking you our favourite dish," they say. "It's a family favourite." "How lovely. What is it?" you say. "Boiled seal," they reply. "The kiddies clamour for it."

Mirren and Hornby lead British charge

Helen Mirren fulfils the unofficial requirement for at least one British Dame to be in the running for a Best Actress Oscar, but the big story for home-grown talent this year involves two of our most celebrated comic writers: Nick Hornby and Armando Iannucci.

Gay actors face obstacles

Colin Firth claimed today that gay actors risk missing out on work if they come out. The actor stars as gay college professor George Falconer in A Single Man, directed by Tom Ford, the US fashion designer who turned around the Gucci label before heading to Hollywood.

Editor-At-Large: A 999 call is a call for help. Pity the police don't know

If you're being harassed or threatened by your neighbours, I hope you don't live in Leicestershire. Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her mentally disabled daughter after enduring a decade of abuse from anti-social youths, made 33 unavailing complaints to Leicester police. Joanne Butler, who suffered from mental problems and depression, called 999 twice as she was being battered to death by a neighbour in 2006. Leicester police were too busy to attend, and her body was later found in her burnt-out flat.

Colin Firth: Single man's hero

Colin Firth has taken the film world by storm with his performance as a grieving professor

Snooker: O'Sullivan into next round as Allen stages comeback

Former champion Ronnie O'Sullivan beat Stuart Bingham 5-1 to reach the second round of the Welsh Open in Newport yesterday.

Move over, Mr Humphries: The changing face of gay culture

After decades of camp stereotypes on film and TV, gay culture is not only mainstream, says Philip Hensher, but is booming. He salutes Doctor Who, The Wire and Glee, but wonders why it has taken so long for homosexuality to become unexceptional

How Tom Ford became the toast of Hollywood

His racy collections for Gucci defined a decade of style. Now fashion's 'Mr Sex' is making movies – and winning huge acclaim. Veteran Tom Ford-watcher Tim Blanks explains why the designer's new role is one he's always been destined to play

George Clooney film leads Golden Globe nominations

The tale of a corporate hatchet man who travels the US sacking people and obsessively collecting air-miles has emerged as front-runner in the early stages of Hollywood’s awards season, as George Clooney’s recession-era satire Up In The Air drew six nominations to lead the field for next month’s Golden Globes.

Firth wins Best Actor award for portrayal of gay professor

Britain's Colin Firth has won the prize for best actor at the Venice film festival for his portrayal of a college professor grappling with solitude after his gay lover's death.

Tom Ford: From fashion to film

He's best known as the designer who sexed up Gucci and the catwalks in the Nineties. Now Tom Ford has turned his hand to directing with his movie debut, 'A Single Man'. Kaleem Aftab reports from Venice

Dress code: Barry Alford, Grooming Guru

What are you wearing right now?

Well, it's early morning in California. So I'm wearing my red velvet slippers.

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Meet Racton Man

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Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

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Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

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