1. Fan fiction, fan art, the way female fans celebrate what they love: this stuff isn’t a secret anymore – and it shouldn’t be a punch line anymore, either. It’s a big messy world full of amateur writing and unedited work, but it’s also got of some of the best fiction I’ve ever read, published or otherwise. You don’t have to participate in it to afford it even a modicum of respect. I’ll be the first to volunteer if you ever want to learn. But if you’re not interested in that, politely decline to answer. It’s easy to blame the celebrity, dragged into answering these questions. But really, the fault lies with the media. Please, please, please journalists: stop asking celebrities about fan fiction. Unless you’re having an in-depth conversation about fictional constructions of the actors’ personae (like the very one you’ll be presenting in your piece?), it serves no purpose. Non-fans likely don’t get it; fans think you look like a bully – because you are.



  4. A first look at Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III in the BBC’s The Hollow Crown: The Wars Of The Roses. The programme is due to air on BBC2 in 2016.

    [Photo: BBC/Neal Street Productions/Carnival/NBCUniversal/Thirteen/Robert Viglasky]



  6. It’s impossible to review Lena Dunham’s book without reviewing Lena Dunham. Or at least, “Lena Dunham”, the strange, confected, caricatured, endlessly examined carapace inside which, presumably, the real woman resides.
    — Lena Dunham Is Not Real, by Helen Lewis.

  7. Scotland has voted No to independence

    See the full results, and our round-up of what happens next for all the key players.

    [Image: © Terry Vine/J Patrick Lane/Blend Images/Corbis]


  8. Sometimes, it’s OK to care only about how a game play, says Phil Hartup.


  9. We are drowning in stories that privilege the perspectives of white males; in spite of ourselves, we buy into the view that the world as they see it is all that there is. I know there are arguments against demands for more female viewpoints: some of the most prolific crime writers are women; women write about women dying; not every female writer is a feminist by default. I know all this yet I still think it matters that women write, and that young people get to read women writing, whatever the subject matter. It matters because women have stories, too, and all too often ours get cut short. When narration is seen and experienced as male, so, too, is real life.

  10. New research from the National Union of Students into lad culture and sexism on campus has revealed that one in four students experience unwanted sexual advances. NUS President Toni Pearce writes:

    To my knowledge, no university (Plymouth being the notable exception) seems to think it plays a role in tackling a campus culture that permits a “Fresher’s Violation” club night advertised with a video of a male student saying he would rape a female peer. Or university students going out in casual rape T-shirts and playing “it’s not rape if…” drinking games. These are not isolated occurrences but part of a larger culture that has a serious negative impact on students’ academic experiences.

    Read the rest of her piece here.


  11. I don’t think that in my lifetime (I’m 39) I’ve ever seen public, popular feminist discourse more robust than it is now. When I was in high school, college, and first in the professional world, feminism – or any open interest in what was once called “the women’s movement” – was totally scorned. I was raised in deep backlash days. Sassy-style feminism lurked on the margins, but there was little larger acknowledgment by my peers, and certainly not within mainstream popular culture or in politics, that gender inequity remained a relevant issue. When I was in college in the mid ’90s, you could be attending the vegan potluck for the Campus Leftists, and if you asked whether anyone there identified as a feminist, not a hand would go up. It felt like the stereotype of the hirsute, humourless activist had fully won out in the wake of the Second Wave.

  12. Only a heart of concrete could fail to be a little moved at the sight of the Friends apartment, now empty and bare. We have all seen the places where we spent our twenties stripped down to meaningless walls and floors. The show ends, inevitably, with a wisecrack, but at least it’s a good one. Let’s go for a coffee, someone says as they lug their possessions downstairs and into middle age. “Where?” asks Chandler. We do not see Central Perk again, and you suspect that the Friends won’t, either – if they do, they’ll be occupied by rampaging kids or mentally absent, texting and tweeting. It was a poignant final thought in 2004 and more so in 2014, when even the people who are there for you might not really be there at all.

    Andrew Harrison looks back at the way Friends shaped the way we live now, 20 years after it first aired.

    [Photo: Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston set the tone and hairstyle for the Nineties. Jon Ragel/Corbis Outline]




  15. “Historical fiction can restore the juice of forbidden fruit.” Lionel Shriver reviews The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.

    [Image: An erotic postcard, c.1920. Popperfoto/Getty Images]