The Independent | Commentators
How do you do: author W. Somerset Maugham tipping his hat in 1950

The invisible art of etiquette: Having good manners delivers all sorts of unexpected gains

The practice of etiquette lets you draw a protective circle around yourself and your emotions
Former First Minister and Leader of the DUP Ian Paisley in 1972 addressing a meeting in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies might have reminded the Arabs of Sadat

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam

London's financial district

Businesses should listen to Corporal Jones – don’t panic!

The scare stories about Scotland voting ‘Yes’ are as misplaced as the indifference that preceded them

Radical stand: John Brown, as portrayed by John Steuart Curry, believed in fighting for slaves’ rights

Out of America: The spirit of John Brown stirs in Kansas

The outcome of a Midwest senate race may reinvigorate US populism – or leave Obama a-mouldering in the White House

DJ Taylor: Graham Sanderson and his wife have one singular skill ... the ability to kill time

With his leather jerkin, carroty curls – plus dreadlocked orange extensions – and substantial pau.....

Middle Class Problems: How to justify the undignified scramble to buy the cheapest theatre seats, the second they go on sale?

Gazing out at ranks of middle-class theatre-goers, you know that this exciting artform depends fo.....

Model Reeva Steenkamp, whose messages saying that she was afraid of Pistorius were ignored by the judge

Pistorius: Reeva Steenkamp was just a chapter in a scary story

Pistorius is already on his way to rehabilitation in a country where three women a day are killed by a husband or boyfriend

One date told Alison she was funny in person, but not on Twitter

Alison Taylor on relationships: WhatsApp with all this researching potential dates online?

There are certain things in the dating world that you are unlikely to ever find out, no matter ho.....

Tim Key: There's all this talk about living in the moment, but just look where it gets you...

I'm sat in my kitchen looking at a bag of rice. It's a large bag, and inside, hidden deep, deep a.....

Revolutionary leader Michael Collins addresses supporters at College Green, Dublin, in 1922 after signing the treaty establishing the Irish Free State

Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means

The last divorce from the United Kingdom was painful and acrimonious, but ended in harmony and prosperity. So why should independence north of the border turn out any differently? 

DJ Taylor: Arch calculator Dennis Tite is well known for his exactitude and considerable financial acumen

10.45pm in the Dog and Firkin, Chislehurst, the last round's in sight and settlement is due. "Now.....

Middle Class Problems: Responsible citizens carry out jury service with pride ... if only it weren't so inconvenient

Ah, our wonderful British legal system: habeas corpus, the right of a defendant to be tried by hi.....

Tim Key: My tongue is lolling out of my mouth as I survey the room. Nothing makes sense'

There is nothing more disorientating or more demeaning than finding you've fallen asleep on a sof.....

Middle Class Problems: The first 48 hours of our escape to the country are bliss. Then we are bothered by a nagging itch...

If you don't live there, the countryside is easily romanced into an Enid Blyton dreamscape where .....

DJ Taylor: Dutiful citizen Sally Layte's tasks are sadly nearly all superfluous

"Now girls," brisk and beady-eyed Sally Layte instructs her twin daughters shortly before their d.....

Tim Key: There is nothing so liberating as a pile of pineapple chunks

I've just ordered 'off menu'. I think that's the phrase I'm after. What I'm saying is, I've asked.....

Alison says: 'You risk becoming one of those people who sits back and broods inwardly rather than, say, throwing yourself at strangers publicly, which tends to be my approach'

Alison Taylor on relationships: Call it my Warren Beatty phase but, when it comes to romance, you need a little 'what if'

What if... How many bad decisions have been made on the back of those two words? And by the same .....

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Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week