Arts and Entertainment

A window on the real world with Danny and his diamond geezers

The 50 books every child should read

Michael Gove says he wants 11-year-olds to read the equivalent of a book a week. So what should they be? We ask the experts

The Wisdom Of Birds, By Tim Birkhead

In the tradition of the greatest naturalist writers, Birkhead makes his area fascinating to those who have only a mild interest.

Diary: Murdoch's sci-fi encounter

An exciting moment for young James Murdoch yesterday, as he took the stage at the second annual Abu Dhabi Media Summit – which went ahead despite the unrest in the region – to interview fiery filmmaker James Cameron. The pair discussed, among other things, 3D – which, conveniently for the Sky boss, Cameron claimed was the future of telly. Given that Murdoch is both a sci-fi fanboy (he used to have a six-foot statue of Darth Vader outside his office at Wapping, and a miniature Imperial Stormtrooper on his desk) and a committed environmentalist (his office chairs are made from cardboard), I imagine an audience with the director of Avatar must have been a wet dream-worthy experience. How inconsiderate of Cameron, then, to bring up the response of Murdoch père's Fox film studio when they were first presented with Cameron's blockbusting vision for Avatar. "Is there any way," the Hollywood execs allegedly inquired, "to reduce this tree-hugging hippy crap?"

IoS letters, emails & online postings (13 March 2011)

You are wrong to say that the 33,000 women born between 6 March and 5 April 1954 who face a two-year delay in their state pension age are "undoubtedly unlucky but nowhere near as unlucky as generations of men" ("There will be losers, but we have to iron out sex inequalities", 6 March). These women, who have already accepted a five-year increase in their state pension age, have also faced a lifetime of workplace inequality. Even now, a 55-year-old man working full time earns a third more than his female equivalent.

Bird Cloud, By Annie Proulx

The retreat to the wilderness is an established literary genre which many writers have either tried themselves or paid homage to, from Thoreau taking himself off to the woods of Walden Pond to WB Yeats with his imagined move to the lake isle of Innisfree. We have come to expect some sort of narrative or character-arc from such an experience; some sort of move towards a realisation of personality or circumstance. Such indeed we find in Annie Proulx's Bird Cloud, although it is perhaps not one we were expecting. She comes to the eventual conclusion that she has built her home in the wilderness in the wrong place.

Eating Animals, By Jonathan Safran Foer

The unpalatable truth about meat

Why Triesman happily put boot into FA's 'macho culture'

Sir Dave Richards blamed for aggressive approach that rejects any notion of reform

Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards is 'aggressive' claims Lord Triesman

Former Football Association chief Lord Triesman today accused Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards of using aggressive tactics to pressurise others in the game into blocking the FA's efforts to change.

Leading article: Mercy flight

Take a look at a kakapo and you get a pretty good idea of why it is endangered. It is not just the heaviest parrot in the world; it also can't fly. It is an extraordinarily unsightly bird with a blotched yellow-brown owly face atop its splay-footed body. It only comes out at night. But even in the dark, another kakapo might be forgiven for thinking it too ugly to mate with.

Kurt Geiger – a shining example of a sole trader

As one of a handful of niche-market shoe retailers, the designer brand is thriving

Anthony Rose: 'Because pheasant and partridge aren’t fatty birds, they cope well with wines that are low in tannin'

With grouse done and dusted and snipe and woodcock shortly off the menu, there's still a good month until the end of the season for partridge and pheasant. If I could have just one game bird, it would have to be a plump, tender, not-too-gamey partridge, either roasted with a rasher of streaky bacon or pot roasted with bouquet garni and red wine for maximum succulence. Because pheasant and partridge are not fatty birds, they cope well with wines that are relatively low in tannin and not too oaky or alcoholic. Same goes for rabbit.

PM's impartiality in doubt after Christmas date with Murdoch executive

David Cameron was yesterday accused of "tucking into turkey" with a senior News Corporation executive days after he intervened in the company's bid to take full control of BSkyB.

Last Night's TV: Hattie/BBC4<br />Mary Portas: Secret Shopper/Channel 4

Hattie Jacques is cooking Christmas dinner for family and friends, and it's not going entirely well. One of the turkeys has been burned and, as Hattie is giving the gravy a stir, the ash from her jutting cigarette drops into the saucepan. "Don't tell anyone about the secret ingredient," she hisses at the friend standing next to her, and quickly stirs it in. The subject of Stephen Russell's biopic Hattie – the latest in a line of BBC4 dramas about the private lives of television's early public figures – was the rather more interesting secret ingredient that Hattie was about to add to her marriage a live-in lover called John Schofield, who displaced John Le Mesurier from the marital bed and sent him into glum exile in the attic.

Katy Guest: Rant &amp; Rave (16/01/11)

Rant

Sainsbury's toasts festive sales spurt

Sainsbury emerged as the festive winner among the supermarkets, reporting a 3.6 per cent rise in same-store sales for its third quarter, excluding fuel – comfortably ahead of City forecasts of about 3 per cent.

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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