Voices

Britain is at a crossroads. It needs the radical and thought-through responses which expertise from humanities and social science can provide

Snooker: Hicks heaps misery on erring Davis

Steve Davis, the six-times world champion, was beaten in the first round of this season's tournament last night, losing 10-7 to Andy Hicks, who is making his debut at The Crucible, Sheffield.

Ebdon turns on style

SNOOKER

Laugh? I nearly took out a subscription to Mensa

It's easy to spot a genius: they have flyaway hair, messy clothes, a German accent, and they act a bit barmy. But genius comes in two brands. The cute ones twinkle merrily and dote on lesser mortals just like Santa does; stroppy ones smash up hotel rooms, shout a lot and pass out in pools of urine. For those who have difficulty keeping that principle straight, two of the week's new films offer instant succour. Fred Schepisi's I.Q. is about the cutest genius of all, Albert Einstein (who once asked: "Why is it that nobody understands me and everyone likes me?"), while Bernard Rose's Immortal Beloved is about gloomy old Ludwig van Beethoven.

FILM / Life is something to avoid': 'Beetlejuice', 'Batman', 'Edward Scissorhands': Tim Burton has never had a flop. His films have earned dollars 650m, yet he remains the odd man out in the Hollywood mainstream. Now he's into handmade animation and transvestite D-movie-makers

'I'm really sorry,' Tim Burton says as he falls into the room. 'I was really bad last night.' Bad how? Misbehaviour? 'Vomiting,' he says, looking for my hand to shake. 'All night. Being sick in Venice is really kinda sick.'

CINEMA / Talking about their uncertain generation

THE BITES in Reality Bites (12) cut two ways. The title puns on the film's subject matter, which is both a close- up critique of the MTV culture, where all experience is reduced to a series of soundbites, and a snapshot of the end of adolescence, that time when childhood illusions fade and the real world begins to gnaw at our fantasies. The film's heroine (Winona Ryder) is the valedictorian of her college year, and the film opens on her commencement day, with strains of 'Land of Hope and Glory' on the soundtrack. Ryder loses her place in her speech ('The answer is . . . I don't know . . .'), and the rest of the film is a light-hearted examination of the uncertainty of her whole generation, how blasted its hope is, how inglorious its future.

Snooker / World Championship: Hendry holds nerve to deny White again: Champion staggers rather than swaggers on to equal Davis's record of winning title for third successive year at The Crucible

JIMMY WHITE'S quest for the World Snooker Championship, a trial of patience worthy of a saint he would never claim to be, will be extended for another year after Stephen Hendry beat him 18-17 in the final last night.

Arena: Elegant stage for high drama: Stephen Brenkley samples the atmosphere of world snooker's symbolic amphitheatre

BEFORE the Crucible there were halls. Some were grimmer than others. In 1972, just as the swanky new establishment in Sheffield was opening, John Spencer lost the World Snooker Championship at the Selly Oak British Legion on a Birmingham ring road. It was a bleak, forbidding sort of place, but he thought nothing of it. That was where he expected to play.

FILM / Reviews: All soap and skin cream: Adam Mars-Jones on Bille August's The House of the Spirits - a film with its head in the clouds, but up to its ears in suds

Torrid, operatic, sensual, haunting: that's how The House of the Spirits (15) sees itself. Turgid, overlong, silly, hysterical (and that spells TOSH): that's how viewers are more likely to see it. Danish- born director Bille August, who directed the handsome, inert The Best Intentions, from Ingmar Bergman's screenplay about his parents, has moved downmarket as well as south to film Isabel Allende's magical-realist novel.

FILM / Age to age: It should come as no surprise that, when Martin Scorsese turned to the classics, Edith Wharton caught his eye.

The old film world maxim that good books make bad movies - or, more pungently, that you're better off adapting from James M Cain than from Dostoyevsky - has received a major body blow. Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence has not only confounded all the wiseguys who predicted that his foray into ballgown drama would turn out to be an extravagant folly (it has won rapturous notices and dollars 50m box-office to date), but proved that a good movie could be made from the kind of uncommonly good book that usually nestles in the cool tranquillity of library stacks. The novels of Edith Wharton (1862-1937) had long been regarded as classics; suddenly, they started to look like hot movie properties, too.

Show People: If the cap fits, she'll wear it: Caroline Thompson

DUSK IS falling just beyond a western outreach of the M25, the gloomy hum of which you can hear in the background. The accent of every voice places the speakers inside that ring road. The scene is puddle-spattered Pinewood, last refuge of the British film industry, and we are standing, believe it or not, on the very spot where Gotham City used to be.

Profile: Playwright of oaths and testosterone: David Mamet, on trial at the court of feminism

THERE have been controversial plays before. The Royal Court theatre in London was involved in numerous censorship rows in the Sixties and, in 1956, premiered John Osborne's Look Back In Anger, which redefined English theatre. But Oleanna - the play by the 46-year-old Chicago-born David Mamet, which opened at the Royal Court on Wednesday - is in a different category from any previous theatrical rows, because of the nature of the scenes and atmosphere at its performances. Kenneth Tynan famously wrote of Look Back In Anger: 'I doubt that I could love anyone who did not like this play.' Of Oleanna, people have been far more likely to observe that they could not love anyone who did like the play.

Snooker: White lines up repeat of 1992 final

IF A MAN shows himself clearest in adversity, then Jimmy White has nothing to worry about. 'Stephen (Hendry) plays the game the way it should be played,' he said. 'He is a great and worthy champion.' The tribute came 12 months ago, an hour after White had suffered the most disappointing defeat of his life at the hands of the man he was praising.

Snooker: Imperious Hendry on march: Holder warms to Crucible

A TOKEN to cling on to for the rest at the Embassy World Championships 12 months ago was Stephen Hendry short of his finest form. He still won, of course, but there was just a glimmer of hope in the early rounds. This time he is not offering even that hint of vulnerability.
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

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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

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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

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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