• Norse mythology is enjoying an unlikely renaissance in popular culture
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    The Independent

    Norse mythology is enjoying an unlikely renaissance in popular culture

    “What tidings are to be told of Ragnarok? There, he asked questions about Odin and Thor, Loki and Balder, and all the deities of the Norse pantheon. Gylfe’s quest for knowledge is recounted in the “Prose Edda” manuscripts – tales of the gods of Asgard told in the Northland peninsula, recounted by 13th-century Icelandic poet and historian Snorri Sturluson hundreds of years later.

  • Clock Dance by Anne Tyler, review: Less nuanced than her best work, but you still root for Tyler's heroine
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    The Independent

    Clock Dance by Anne Tyler, review: Less nuanced than her best work, but you still root for Tyler's heroine

    There’s no disputing Anne Tyler’s talents: she’s the author of a host of bestselling novels, is considered one of, if not the pre-eminent chronicler of American domestic life, and has garnered a host of critical acclaim along the way. Her 1989 novel Breathing Lessons won the Pulitzer Prize, and A Spool of Blue Thread, which elegantly charted three generations of family life, was shortlisted for both the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Man Booker Prize.

  • Can a stately home be where the art is? Yves Klein at Blenheim is the latest artist intervention in a grand residence
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    The Independent

    Can a stately home be where the art is? Yves Klein at Blenheim is the latest artist intervention in a grand residence

    What exactly is the difference between an Installation and an Intervention? An Installation (I have capitalised the word in order to exaggerate its legitimacy) is the milder mannered – if not the softer spoken – of the two. Artists often do installations in groups of four, six or eight.

  • Art technicians: The industry's dirty secret, or all part of the process?
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    The Independent

    Art technicians: The industry's dirty secret, or all part of the process?

    Down a chaotic lane in chaotic Govanhill, the works of two of Glasgow's female Turner Prize-nominated artists, Lucy Skaer and Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, are being produced. Simon Richardson and Simon Harlow are art technicians, a job that people are often surprised to learn exists.

  • The Human Library: where the 'books' tell their own stories
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    The Independent

    The Human Library: where the 'books' tell their own stories

    If not, then keep an eye out for your nearest Human Library. At a Human Library event, the “books” are people with special experiences – “readers” can choose from various “titles” (this list is the Human Library UK’s suggestion of 40 from which a dozen or so would make a good stock), and then “borrow” them. According to the Human Library UK: “The titles celebrate diversity and promote equality by deliberately acknowledging differences, lifestyles, ethnicities, faiths, disabilities, abilities and characteristics that may be stigmatised in the hope it might provoke an assumption or even prejudice in readers.

  • TV Review, The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer (BBC2): Beauty in motion
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    The Independent

    TV Review, The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer (BBC2): Beauty in motion

    Probably not, I realise, because you have far nicer things to think about, such as, let’s say, Alex off Love Island, the christening of HRH Prince Louis or the second referendum on Brexit. The other reason is that we take our sewer system so much for granted. The last fatberg to hit the London sewers weighed the equivalent of 11 double decker buses and stretched the length of two football pitches.

  • David Hockney, Annely Juda, London, review: Many of these iPhone and iPad drawings are little more than casual crowd-pleasers
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    The Independent

    David Hockney, Annely Juda, London, review: Many of these iPhone and iPad drawings are little more than casual crowd-pleasers

    You can see Hockney at it from time to time at press conferences, drawing on his iphone for light relief perhaps, a little welcome distraction from all the jaw-jaw. Does the iPhone really extend the expressive possibilities for a painter as long practised as this man? The iPhone does limit the possibilities too.

  • Frozen 2: Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown in talks to star in sequel
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    The Independent

    Frozen 2: Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown in talks to star in sequel

    Get ready, because the phenomenon that is Frozen is gearing up for a whole new round. Both new actors to the cast are likely best known for their TV work, with both landing Emmy nominations last week: Wood for HBO's Westworld and Brown for NBC's This is Us and Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Also returning are directing duo Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, with Lee writing the film's screenplay, and Peter Del Vecho on board as producer.

  • 10 best colouring books for kids
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    The Independent

    10 best colouring books for kids

    With the school holidays fast approaching, parents across the land will be in pursuit of boredom-busting activities for long car journeys, longer waits at airports and rainy days in caravans. This fun-packed book for children of about three to five is essentially a black-and-white version of Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart’s bestseller You Choose. Comes complete with 60 stickers with which to embellish the pages once coloured.

  • The ‘macaroni’ scandal of 1772: ‘gay’ trial a century before Oscar Wilde
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    The Independent

    The ‘macaroni’ scandal of 1772: ‘gay’ trial a century before Oscar Wilde

    Much derision was directed toward aesthetes in the late 19th century who, led by Oscar Wilde, declared their devotion to beauty in all its forms. Wilde’s predecessor, George Bryan “Beau” Brummell became an arbiter of men’s fashion in Regency England despite his obscure social origins and lack of interest in women. In the 1760s and 1770s, there was an explosion of public interest in the “macaronis”, fashionable society gents who were given that name because, in the eyes of the penny press of the day, they committed such cardinal sins as rejecting good old English roast beef for dainty foods from continental Europe – such as pasta.

  • TV Preview: World Cup final, Nadiya Hussain and The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer
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    The Independent

    TV Preview: World Cup final, Nadiya Hussain and The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer

    The global TV highlight of the week ahead hardly needs a mention, but here goes anyway: France v Croatia in the World Cup 2018 final. It’ll be everywhere, obviously, but specifically on BBC1 and ITV – kick-off is at 4pm with the build-up starting some hours before. The complicating factor this time round is a clash with the final of the men’s singles at Wimbledon, and coverage of that match will switch from BBC1 to BBC2.

  • How 1970s erotic cinema helped shape modern Spain
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    The Independent

    How 1970s erotic cinema helped shape modern Spain

    Nearly three years since the death of dictator Francisco Franco, politicians are intensely debating the new constitution at the Palacio de las Cortes. Will the right accept abolishing the death penalty and omitting any reference to the Catholic church? Today’s crowd awaits a much more explicit celebration of cinematic sexuality: Las eróticas vacaciones de Stela (Stela’s Erotic Vacations).

  • Days of Awe by AM Homes, review: Short stories as sharp-edged as broken glass
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    The Independent

    Days of Awe by AM Homes, review: Short stories as sharp-edged as broken glass

    “I’d say the purpose of fiction is to illustrate and illuminate,” says the writer protagonist of "Days of Awe", the short story from which AM Homes’ new collection takes its title. It’s a question Homes has surely been asked herself.

  • 9 best academic year diaries
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    The Independent

    9 best academic year diaries

    Here, we’ve gathered together a range of top notch academic diaries to help with that task. Some want a compact option to shove into a small bag, and some a hefty desk diary in which to record all the details of their busy lives. Available in a range of bold colours and customisable with pen loops, elastics and embossed silver text, they include an at at-a-glance year planner and pages for notes, contacts and timetables.

  • The Book List: US Light House Establishment Library Box 141
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    The Independent

    The Book List: US Light House Establishment Library Box 141

    The Reflections of a Lonely Man by ACM Pictures Every Child Should Know: A Selection of the World’s Art Masterpieces for Young People by Dolores Bacon Farm Festivals by Will Carleton Farm Ballads by Will Carleton Farm Legends by Will Carleton City Festivals by Will Carleton My Apingi Kingdom: With Life in the Great Sahara, and Sketches of the Chase by Paul Belloni du Chaillu The Pilot: A Tale of the Sea by James Fenimore Cooper Sailors’ Knots by Cyrus Lawrence Day Tuscan Republics by Bella Duffy Madame Therese by Emile Erckmann and Alexandre Chatrian Hoosier Lyrics by Eugene Field British ...

  • Joana Vasconcelos holds up a mirror at the Guggenheim Bilbao
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    The Independent

    Joana Vasconcelos holds up a mirror at the Guggenheim Bilbao

    Joana Vasconcelos has been given the honour of a solo show at the Guggenheim Bilboa: the first Portuguese artist to do so. People often stress the humour in Vasconcelos' work, but for me the artist has moved between the majestic and the highly conceptual effortlessly, and powerfully, throughout her career. This exhibition, I'm Your Mirror, which is a mini-retrospective covering some 25 years in 30 works, allows the viewer to get a flavour of why she has received many accolades.

  • Fifth Element director Luc Besson accused of sexual assault by three more women
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    The Independent

    Fifth Element director Luc Besson accused of sexual assault by three more women

    French filmmaker Luc Besson has been accused by several more women of sexual harassment. Police initially launched an investigation into the Leon director earlier this year after actress Sand Van Roy accused him of rape. “When I saw the complaint from Sand Van Roy, my legs trembled,” said an unnamed casting director who worked with Besson several times between 2000 and 2005.

  • Guy Pearce regrets making Kevin Spacey 'handsy' comments
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    The Independent

    Guy Pearce regrets making Kevin Spacey 'handsy' comments

    Guy Pearce "regrets" the shocking comments he made regarding Kevin Spacey on an Australian chat show. The Australian outlet adds that Pearce told Fairfax Media “while he was not sexually assaulted, he was made to feel uncomfortable” by Spacey. Chat show host Andrew Denton asked Pearce about his personal experience with Spacey who was accused of sexual misconduct by several men in the wake of the Me Too movement.

  • Robin Wright breaks silence over House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey allegations: 'I didn't know the man'
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    The Independent

    Robin Wright breaks silence over House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey allegations: 'I didn't know the man'

    Robin Wright will speak out about her former House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey for the first time since numerous allegations of sexual assault were made against him in a brand new television interview. While other House of Cards stars including Michael Kelly and Joel Kinnaman have previously spoken out about the news, Wright had seemingly distanced herself from the accusations made by several men in the wake of the Me Too movement. In a brand new clip, Wright states she merely knew the Seven actor in a professional capacity only.

  • Mad About the Girl: Newly released photos show Amy Winehouse the way she saw herself
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    The Independent

    Mad About the Girl: Newly released photos show Amy Winehouse the way she saw herself

    When 22-year-old American photographer Blake Wood moved to London on the heels of a breakup in 2007, a mutual friend introduced him to Amy Winehouse. After winning five Grammy Awards for her 2006 album Back to Black, the celebrated singer with the sultry and emotionally raw voice was at the height of her celebrity, but struggling with her wayward partner and the scrutiny of constant media attention. Bonding over their relationship woes, Wood and Winehouse developed a close friendship and would become inseparable for the next two years.

  • TV preview: Reporting Trump’s First Year, World’s Tiniest Masterpieces, First Night of the Proms and more
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    The Independent

    TV preview: Reporting Trump’s First Year, World’s Tiniest Masterpieces, First Night of the Proms and more

    The micro-sculptor, in case you’ve not come across him before, isn’t some wild fantasist but a chap by the name of Willard Wigan, and he is for real. You can judge the results for yourself, helpfully in enlarged form, in Channel 4’s World’s Tiniest Masterpieces.

  • Fleshback: Documentary explores 30 years of Manchester's weird and wonderful hidden queer rave scene
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    The Independent

    Fleshback: Documentary explores 30 years of Manchester's weird and wonderful hidden queer rave scene

    “People just take themselves very seriously in London...everyone has a more competitive streak” declares performance artist Grace Oni Smith, over the top of footage of leather-clad clubbers. The idea of shared community success is something that is heavily celebrated in Fleshback, a documentary featured on Boiler Room’s new 4:3 platform in partnership with The British Council, that explores the magical history of gay raving in Manchester. The film spans three decades, from the Section 28 protests of 1988, that brought together people from all walks of queer life, to modern day warehouse raves in The White Hotel.

  • Calypso by David Sedaris, review: Spins hilarious, moving narratives out of everyday existence
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    The Independent

    Calypso by David Sedaris, review: Spins hilarious, moving narratives out of everyday existence

    All this and more can be found in his latest collection, Calypso. Sedaris’s genius is that he spins narrative — and not just any old narrative, which in itself is an achievement, but narrative that’s in turn both hilarious and moving — out of his ordinary everyday existence. Then there are his accounts of holidays with his family.

  • Kevin Spacey: Met Police investigate three new sexual assault claims
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    The Independent

    Kevin Spacey: Met Police investigate three new sexual assault claims

    Police are investigating three new allegations of sexual assault against Kevin Spacey. Scotland Yard now have six open investigations against the Oscar-winning actor, two into sexual assault and one of assault. The latest allegations were made between February and April, the incidents taking place in London and Gloucester.

  • TV review, Africa’s Great Civilisations (BBC4): Endlessly enthralling and tremendously dramatic
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    The Independent

    TV review, Africa’s Great Civilisations (BBC4): Endlessly enthralling and tremendously dramatic

    The British Empire, for example, is praised for having brought such useful innovations to uncivilised subject peoples as the English language, cricket, red post boxes, common law and Christianity. The other European powers did much the same sort of thing, in varying degrees, though in Africa the Belgians were particularly cruel and the Germans neglectful, even by the standards of the time. The other view is that Europeans pillaged, tortured, murdered and raped their way through peaceable peoples and deposed benevolent kings, and, most grievously, white slave traders sent some 12million black Africans across the Atlantic to be worked to death, one of the greatest of crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.