Arts and Entertainment From left to right, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett and Rick Wright

You only needed to watch the animated trailer for Darkside – that's right, a trailer, with images, for radio. What madness is this? – to know it was going to be totally off its box. A toy farmer stood staring at the skies; giant angle grinders sliced up the earth; a figure sat on a hospital bed with a massive propeller where his head should be.

The Crafty Art of Playmaking, by Alan Ayckbourn

Alan Ayckbourn proves he is a dramatist to be taken seriously

Damsels in Distress, Duchess Theatre, London

Remember the joy of rep?

Double Act: a life of Tom Stoppard, by Ira Nadel

How Tomas turned into our wonderful Tom

Obituary: Carl Toms

CARL TOMS, one of the great post-war stage designers, looked as handsome and elegant as one of his creations.

Comment: Tune in to Radio Einstein - a relatively new station

THEY SAID it would never work. Too minority, they told us. Too elitist. Yet, a matter of months after Tariq Ali, Michael Nyman and a group of like-minded intellectuals announced our intention to launch Radio Einstein, a radio station for the north London intelligentsia, our first schedules are fitting into place.

The Information on: Tom Stoppard's `Jumpers'

What Is It?

Philosophical Notes: Towards a fairer share of dishwashing

ONE OF my college house-mates, Greg, use to refuse to divide anything by lot. He objected that this procedure discriminates against what he called "the unlucky people". Steadfast randomisers reply to this that "unlucky" fails to select a natural class of people. The fact that someone is Indian today is a good enough reason to believe he will also be Indian tomorrow. But being unlucky today provides no grounds for predicting being unlucky tomorrow.

Who's In The house: Stoic splendour

No prefabs or concrete playgrounds here. But how do Stowe School's residents find life among the sweeping landscapes and Palladian architecture?

The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Plays

The Merchant of Venice (Cottesloe, National Theatre, London)

Focus: Battle of the bashes

Hosts are testing the loyalty of friends by ensuring their summer soirees clash with rival dos. Party-going was never so fraught

Comment: Sex - the anti-social force that challenges all the rules

Natasha Walter's Notebook

The Independent Recommends - The Five Best Plays

The Five Best Plays

The Information On: `The Real Thing'

What Is It

CRITICS ' CHOICE

Art

Radio: Heard the one about deaf people?

Every so often - not very often - you hear someone banging on about the golden days of radio, although the word they come up with in this context is "romance". It's even in the title of one of Garrison Keillor's novels, Radio Romance, about a station called WLT (what do those acronyms for American radio stations stand for? Why do they have so many Ws and Ks in them?) in Minneapolis. Not that Keillor doesn't strip some of the romance off the medium. He has the proprietor of WLT moaning to himself: "Over thousands of years, man had won a measure of privacy, graduating from tent to hut to a home with a lock, and now, with the purchase of a radio, man could return to cave-dwelling days when you were easy prey to every bore in the tribe, every toothless jojo who wanted to deposit his life story all over you."
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radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel: