Hilary Mantel calls for skeleton of Irish ‘giant’ to be repatriated

Charles Byrne’s remains acquired and displayed against wishes in UK for two centuries The author Hilary Mantel has called for the Royal College of Surgeons to repatriate the skeleton of an Irish “giant” whose bones remain in storage in London two centuries after he asked to be buried at sea. Charles Byrne had a genetic […]

‘Why not buy one nice coat instead of 20 cheap ones?’: four times a filter has saved the day

From shopping and holiday indecision to knowing how to time a joke, a good life filter can take many different forms We’ve all been there: a night off to ourselves, a sofa, a streaming service and what do we do? We scroll, click and scroll some more until it’s time for bed. We’re bombarded by […]

Fifty hours spent trying to get Vodafone to fix my vital broadband

I was left without the service for four months while trying to work from home I’ve had no home broadband for the past four months and have spent more than 50 hours trying to resolve this with Vodafone. It’s made lockdown extremely difficult as I’ve been working from home and need to keep in touch […]

Cleo Sylvestre: the incredible life of the black actor who should have been one of Britain’s biggest stars

She was the first black woman to play a lead at the National Theatre and one of the first black actors to have a recurring role in a British soap. She talks about being praised by Laurence Olivier, directed by Ken Loach – and singing with the Rolling Stones In 1967, Cleo Sylvestre was a […]

Diana Devlin obituary | Jonathan Croall

Theatre scholar who was a key figure in the development of Shakespeare’s Globe in London My friend Diana Devlin, who has died aged 79 of mesothelioma and pneumonia, was for 47 years a key figure in the development of Shakespeare’s Globe, the London theatre created by the American actor, director and producer Sam Wanamaker. Wanamaker’s […]

How we met: ‘He asked if I’d like a fork for my chips’

Rachael and Lewis Simpson-Jones met at a battle reenactment event in 2010. They are now married and live together with their pets in Hertfordshire When Rachael Simpson was invited to a battle reenactment held by The Sealed Knot, a historical association, in May 2010, she jumped at the chance. “My friend turned up to a […]

Quarter Life Crisis review – secrets of a reluctant grownup

Bridge theatre, London Yolanda Mercy’s funny, engaging verse monologue finds a twentysomething torn between dodging responsibility and accepting it’s time to define herself All children, except one, grow up – or so we’re told. Yolanda Mercy would like to add one more to the list. In this simple story illustrated by club beats and millennial […]

The Windmill, London: ‘You’ll be rewarded with terrific pie’ – restaurant review

With its golden-crusted pies, the Windmill pub in Mayfair has taken a turn for the better Editor’s note: we have decided that, while restaurants remain open, we will continue to review them The Windmill, 6-8 Mill Street, London, W1S 2AZ (020 7491 8050). Snacks and starters £2.25-£9, mains £12-£24 (all pies £14), desserts £6-£9.50, wines […]

Hussein Chalayan: ‘Gender-free clothing is the future’

The fashion designer, 50, reflects on his multicultural background, why he finds fashion liberating and why he misses a full head of hair Transition defined my early years, whether it was the multiple languages spoken at home, my parents divorcing, or the constant travelling between London and Cyprus. Being from a multicultural background can be […]

‘They all let him down’: Kevin Clarke’s family condemn Met police’s actions

Mother and sister say lessons need to be learned after jury rules restraint contributed to his death Met police restraint contributed to death of mentally ill man, jury finds Kevin Clarke had plans, according to his family. He wanted to get his life back on track, resume his work as a football coach and become […]

Gods, nipples, Warhol and wickedness – Sin review

National Gallery, London From provocative Renaissance nudes to church-goer Andy Warhol’s pleas for repentance, this absorbing show reveals how western attitudes to desire became so tangled This free exhibition, which peppers up works from the National Gallery collection with a handful of spunky loans, reveals how much has changed since the 19th century, when the […]

‘I used to be a trend addict’: how I learned to embrace forever fashion

How many items does it take to build the perfect wardrobe? Freelance stylist and blogger Alexandra Stedman has come to realise that it’s not as many as you might think. Emma Sells is keen to know more Alexandra Stedman has mastered the elusive art of a really tight edit, and every piece of clothing she […]

London film festival opens as a ‘symbol of resistance’

The capital’s movie showcase starts as Covid-19 is closing cinemas, but its director still has hope This year’s BFI London film festival is a symbol of resistance for an industry that has been “absolutely battered” by the Covid-19 crisis, according to its director, who said cinema may change forever because of the pandemic. Tricia Tuttle, […]

‘Who hates cycling once they’ve tried it?’: how I learned to stop worrying and love the bike

Alexandra Jones never thought she’d join London’s giant commuter peloton, but then along came lockdown and changed all that – now she can’t believe it took her so long Everyone finds their own way to cycling. I found mine because of yellow – the colour, not the Coldplay song. Yellow triggers something deep in my […]

Covid tales from a south London park bench – photo essay

Each day in August, Jim Grover photographed visitors to a bench on Clapham Common in south London and learned how Covid had affected their lives Covid Tales From Tom’s Bench is on display at the Omnibus Theatre on Clapham Common Jim Grover: At the side of Mount Pond on Clapham Common there is a 24-hour, […]

Ai Weiwei on China, free speech – and a message for London

As a new project explores his artworks, the dissident artist says reaction to Trump’s diagnosis shows people are ‘brainwashed’ Ai Weiwei, one of the world’s leading visual artists, has spoken of his shock and sorrow at the tone of the Chinese public’s reaction to Donald Trump’s illness. “People were just laughing and celebrating on social […]

Can Johnson and Bolsonaro’s brushes with Covid offer lessons for Trump?

Trump is the third of the world’s populist leaders to discover that bluster and wishful thinking are no match for the virus When the White House insisted this weekend that Donald Trump was in “good spirits” had “mild symptoms” and was working hard, even as an obviously weakened president was being helicoptered to hospital, the […]

Steve McQueen: ‘Our Marlon Brandos are on building sites, or driving buses’

The director’s new Small Axe series kicks off with the landmark 1971 trial of the Mangrove Nine. It’s his aim to fill these gaps in British history, he says, and to open the industry to other black film-makers Photographer Misan Harriman is gently cajoling actor Shaun Parkes as the sun burns through the morning cloud […]

Back from the brink: saving a London home

It was almost falling down – but this east London terrace is now a treasure-filled sanctuary It’s the house that shouldn’t be here!” jokes creative dynamo David Hodgson, about the Victorian mid-terrace in east London he discovered six years ago, when it was split into two flats and was charmingly dilapidated. “Our surveyor said the […]

How one man spent 34 years in prison after setting fire to a pair of curtains

David Blagdon’s long-term detention has been described as ‘barbaric’. Whatever his disastrous personal choices, the system failed him repeatedly There’s never a good time to get a phone call from an escaped prisoner. I was at a talent show in Essex in August 2001, watching a succession of soul singers, when three missed calls from […]

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition review – as if the pandemic never happened

Royal Academy, LondonAmid a sea of tasteful landscapes, only the BLM room and apocalyptic works by Tracey Emin and Anselm Kiefer are in tune with our troubled times For some reason I expected a sense of urgency. The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition has been directly hit by the pandemic – delayed until they’ve had to […]

How we met: ‘I was trying to rent a flat from him – but then there was a murder’

Alyah Al-Jasser, 34, and Pau Francia, 38, met near a crime scene in Barcelona in 2012. Married since 2015, they live in Kuwait Alyah Al-Jasser moved to Barcelona in 2010 to teach English after completing her degree in London. “I ended up staying for a while,” she says. “Two years later, my friend and I […]

Emmy the Great: ‘Live music’s going to be weird, but it also might be cathartic’

The singer-songwriter on how Hong Kong inspired her new album, why she then had to leave, and the first thing she’ll do when we’re Covid-free Emma-Lee Moss, 36, has recorded four albums as Emmy the Great, including her forthcoming LP, April /月音, inspired by explorations of her Hong Kong-Chinese identity (her mother is from Hong […]

Sunnymead Court review – the joys of love and live theatre

Tristan Bates theatre, London, and online In her lockdown romance, playwright Gemma Lawrence explores desire, isolation and homophobia A remote love story seems so fitting for our times. This long-distance romance, conducted from two balconies, dramatises the desolation of lockdown but simultaneously asserts the thrill of being seen – maybe even touched – during it. […]

Can the ‘awards-bait’ movie survive the impact of coronavirus?

The Emmys were held over Zoom and the Oscars have been pushed back – but the enforced shakeup from the pandemic could be just what the awards season needs As with other creative industries, the film business is reeling under the impact of coronavirus. Crews are struggling to shoot, cinemas are severely restricting audience numbers, […]

Sir, can I go and play in the mud kitchen? The fun-filled school with luxury flats attached

Pupils at this new primary will be able to bounce on the playground and grow food on the roof. Shame their teachers won’t be able to afford the high-end homes that funded it With luxurious modern bathrooms, spacious open-plan living rooms and panoramic views across the city, 333 Kingsland Road sounds like any other pricey […]

Blue lips and black skin: Did a standard 111 question help cause Olufemi Akinnola’s death from Covid-19?

When the scale of the coronavirus pandemic became clear in March, people with symptoms were advised to contact NHS 111. Olufemi did so. But his family fear he was given the wrong advice Curled up in the foetal position in the passenger seat of his ex-girlfriend’s car, weeping uncontrollably, Lobby Akinnola didn’t want the journey […]

Risking the Channel ‘death route’ to Britain – a photo essay

For three weeks, two teams from Agence France-Presse followed Walid, a Kuwaiti, Falah, an Iraqi, and his two daughters, from the town of Grande-Synthe in northern France to Dover via the choppy waters of the Channel. Photographs by Sameer Al-Doumy. Text by by Clement Melki, Sameer Al-Doumy, Thomas Bernardi with the London bureau Sameer Al-Doumy […]

Pretty in Pink: the Psychedelic Furs on how they made a pop classic

‘The title means someone who’s naked. It’s not about someone wearing pink. So the film had nothing to do with what the song was about. It made it trite’ The Psychedelic Furs were very chaotic when we started. Often we were very drunk, and the whole scene was a bit chaotic. You could get on […]