• Spectacular pictures from National Geographic Travel contest week five
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    The Independent

    Spectacular pictures from National Geographic Travel contest week five

    As the 2019 National Geographic Travel Photo contest enters its fifth week, photographers of all ages and abilities have submitted a selection of stunning images.

  • It’s the 21st century, yet Spanish books are still suffering from censorship
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    The Independent

    It’s the 21st century, yet Spanish books are still suffering from censorship

    It’s 80 years since the end of the Spanish Civil War, when General Francisco Franco’s populist forces finally overcame the leftist resistance and plunged the country into full-blown dictatorship. Decades after his death, Franco continues to cast a long shadow over Spain, from the rise of the far-right Vox party to the hundreds of mass graves of people who died in the war that are still waiting to be exhumed. One other hugely important legacy that few people are aware of is the continuing effect on books, both in Spain and throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

  • ‘I didn’t throw up today!’: Amy Schumer, Ali Wong and the rise of pregnant stand-up
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    The Independent

    ‘I didn’t throw up today!’: Amy Schumer, Ali Wong and the rise of pregnant stand-up

    Amy Schumer has had a rough pregnancy. “I throw up an Exorcist amount every day,” said Schumer, who has an extreme form of nausea and vomiting called hyperemesis. No longer seen as something vaguely unhip that gets in the way of the act and the microphone stand, a baby on the way is now a rich source of stand-up material: stretch marks, placentas and all.

  • Game of Thrones season 8: Director says scenes in new series as 'shocking' as the Red Wedding
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    The Independent

    Game of Thrones season 8: Director says scenes in new series as 'shocking' as the Red Wedding

    As Game of Thrones fans prepare for the impending battle between the living and the dead, director David Nutter has revealed upcoming scenes will rival the Red Wedding in shock value. According to Nutter, who directed the infamous Red Wedding scene in season three where viewers saw Robb Stark, his mother Catelyn Stark, and his pregnant fiancee, Talisa, all murdered by a Bolton/Frey alliance, scenes in season eight will bring similar reactions from viewers. Nutter also described the upcoming battle scene, which he said is equally “draining” for both cast and crew.

  • Earth Day 2019: Photographers share the stories behind their climate change shots
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    The Independent

    Earth Day 2019: Photographers share the stories behind their climate change shots

    Getty photographers Sean Gallup and Justin Sullivan spend their lives capturing such climate disasters and have shared the stories behind their finest pictures with The Independent for Earth Day 2019. Sullivan has spent many a perilous shift getting familiar with his specialist subject: fire.

  • How women around the world manage their periods
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    The Independent

    How women around the world manage their periods

    From menstrual cup to cloth, menstruation skirt or homemade sanitary pad, WaterAid highlights the many and varied ways in which women around the world manage their periods. Millions of women and girls menstruate every month, yet governments continue to ignore the issue and its associated links to women’s health, economic and social wellbeing. Battling the stigma that continues to surround periods, women around the world look for their own solutions around disposal, pricing, health and comfort.

  • What happens when panic becomes fuel for inspiration
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    The Independent

    What happens when panic becomes fuel for inspiration

    In a few strokes I was upon my unsuspecting victim and I reared out of the water, a mighty Godzilla, roaring terrifyingly! Swimming pool rules include prohibitions against running, bombing and heavy petting.

  • Inside India’s first hospital for sick and neglected elephants
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    The Independent

    Inside India’s first hospital for sick and neglected elephants

    The NGO opened the country’s very first specialised hospital for injured and ailing elephants from all over India in November. The centre is located in Mathura in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and runs in a state-of-the-art and well equipped facility that is capable of conducting a variety of laboratory tests, including wireless digital radiology, ultrasound, laser therapy, in-house pathology and even a medical hoist to comfortably lift disabled elephants and move them around the treatment area. Captive elephants can be found all over India, but the exploitation in the name of religion is especially encountered in the southern state of Kerala, as well as in the northern state of Rajasthan and its capital of Jaipur.

  • Remarkable photos from National Geographic Travel Contest week four
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    The Independent

    Remarkable photos from National Geographic Travel Contest week four

    The 2019 National Geographic Travel Photo contest is now in its fourth week of accepting entries. The best entries this week include a close encounter with a humpback whale and a fog-draped Golden Gate Bridge. “We are looking for images that show us the world: its people, places, and cultures,” says the National Geographic magazine.

  • A Man of Good Hope review, Linbury Theatre, London: Minimal props, maximum use of the imagination
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    The Independent

    A Man of Good Hope review, Linbury Theatre, London: Minimal props, maximum use of the imagination

    Co-produced by the Royal Opera, Repons Foundation, BAM, and Les Theatres de la Ville de Luxembourg, and with Comic Relief funding the Isango Ensemble who perform it, this production premiered in Cape Town, was adapted for staging at the Young Vic, and has now made its landfall at the Linbury. It’s based on a book about a refugee’s true story as he progresses through Africa after setting off from Mogadishu, and it presents that book’s author, Jonny Steinberg, in fictionalised form as he faces the people whom he has himself fictionalised. There are moments when the libretto addresses domestic issues for a domestic South African audience, but it’s essentially a tale of pathos and anger, courage and despair, finally ending up in battered, philosophical triumph.

  • Association of Photographers awards finalists go on show
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    The Independent

    Association of Photographers awards finalists go on show

    Shortlisted pictures of a major photography award are going on display to the public ahead of the announcement of winners. Now in their 35th year, the Association of Photography (AoP) awards seek to reward the best work from photographers working at the highest level. Entries are welcome from all disciplines of photography.

  • ‘The current players in our democracy are almost enough to make one a royalist’
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    The Independent

    ‘The current players in our democracy are almost enough to make one a royalist’

    On 30 April, Akihito, emperor of Japan, will abdicate in favour of his son, Crown Prince Naruhito. Akihito is 85, his health is fading and he has put in his 31 years: let no one resent his decision. For the British royal family, however, the word is the equivalent of Basil Fawlty’s “the war”.

  • In photos: The Brazilian tribal lands under threat from farmers and miners
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    The Independent

    In photos: The Brazilian tribal lands under threat from farmers and miners

    A decade after the Macuxi people won a bloody legal battle to expel rice planters from their reservation in a remote part of Brazil, their hold over ancestral lands has come under threat again from new right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. The sprawling 1.7 million hectares (6,600 square miles) of savannah on the border with Venezuela – a reservation called Raposa Serra do Sol – is home to 25,000 native people whose main livelihood is raising cattle. “In the fight for our land rights, 21 of us died,” says Chief Aldenir Lima, the leader of the 70 communities on the reservation.

  • Cottingley Fairies hoax pictures expected to fetch £70k at auction
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    The Independent

    Cottingley Fairies hoax pictures expected to fetch £70k at auction

    Famous photographs of the Cottingley Fairies, considered one of the greatest hoaxes of the 20th century, are expected to fetch nearly £70,000 at auction. The pictures were taken by 16-year-old Elsie Wright and depict her nine-year-old cousin, Frances Griffiths, next to a set of fairies. Vintage images of the hoax are rare and 14 lots of period photographs and a camera – including some owned by the daughter of Frances – are going on sale.

  • Maggie Smith: A career of outstanding performances, from Othello to Downton Abbey
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    The Independent

    Maggie Smith: A career of outstanding performances, from Othello to Downton Abbey

    In fact, it can be roundly questioned in just six words: Dame Maggie Smith and the pig. The porker in question was her co-star – alongside Michael Palin – in the movie A Private Function (1984), directed by Malcolm Mowbray and with a script hilariously tailored to her talents by Alan Bennett.

  • Avengers: Endgame sells five times more tickets than Infinity War on Fandango in first week of sales
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    The Independent

    Avengers: Endgame sells five times more tickets than Infinity War on Fandango in first week of sales

    Avengers: Endgame has vastly outsold its predecessor Infinity War during its first week of online presales in the US. Fandango, one of the main American platforms selling tickets online, announced on Wednesday that the forthcoming Marvel film has sold five times as many tickets as Infinity War did in the same period. According to Fandango, “thousands” of Endgame showings have already sold out across the US, 16 days ahead of the blockbuster’s release.

  • The TV shows you need to watch this week: From Famalam to Game of Thrones
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    The Independent

    The TV shows you need to watch this week: From Famalam to Game of Thrones

    Famalam is a brilliant sketch series that is currently tucked away on BBC3 and the BBC iPlayer, which is a polite way of saying that the BBC is really not giving it the profile it deserves. I don’t honestly know what they’re playing at on this one.

  • Stunning pictures as National Geographic travel photo contest enters third week
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    The Independent

    Stunning pictures as National Geographic travel photo contest enters third week

    The 2019 National Geographic Travel Photo contest is now in its third week of accepting entries. Winning photos from previous years include a close encounter with a humpback whale and the meeting of a lightning strike with a volcanic eruption. “We are looking for images that show us the world: its people, places, and cultures,” says the National Geographic magazine.

  • Is 80 the new 45? ‘How my children lifted my midlife blues with the terror of death’
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    The Independent

    Is 80 the new 45? ‘How my children lifted my midlife blues with the terror of death’

    The first time I was described as middle-aged was in a comedy review when I was 37. I think the reviewer was in his twenties and I was complaining about parenthood so he put two and two together – but I certainly didn’t recognise myself by that description. Now I’m 46 and the slur is well-aimed. My belly springs forward like a rottweiler smelling meat.

  • Andy Warhol captured at the Factory in never-before-seen photographs
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    The Independent

    Andy Warhol captured at the Factory in never-before-seen photographs

    The allure and drama behind one of 20th century art’s most influential figures is captured in a new exhibition at London’s Proud Gallery. Photographer Nat Finkelstein spent three years with Andy Warhol at the Silver Factory in New York in the mid-1960s, at the height of the artist’s fame. Finkelstein began his career interning for Harper’s Bazaar art director Alexey Brodovitch in the 1950s before going on to take photographs for Life and Sports Illustrated magazines.

  • Street food in Asia: Varied fare that delights the palate and comes at a good price
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    The Independent

    Street food in Asia: Varied fare that delights the palate and comes at a good price

    There is something for the person with a sweet tooth, or to suit those looking for more of a savoury sensation. Some people forsake a kitchen and eat from street food, others supplement their own household regime with the varied fare. Some dishes have caught the world’s attention and appear in almost everyone’s food vocabulary.

  • She Persisted, Sadler’s Wells, review: Powerful evening of works staged by women
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    The Independent

    She Persisted, Sadler’s Wells, review: Powerful evening of works staged by women

    English National Ballet, now directed by ballerina Tamara Rojo, first addressed this in 2016 with She Said, a programme of works by women. In her first work for the main stage, Quagebeur shows a distinctive voice, with fluid, expressive steps and taut characterisation. Quagebeur opens with Nora’s decision to take the loan, with a soundscape by DJ Walde that highlights her conflicting inner voices.

  • Top Girls review, Lyttelton: ‘A work of genius that will never date’
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    The Independent

    Top Girls review, Lyttelton: ‘A work of genius that will never date’

    One of the wonders of Top Girls, the Caryl Churchill classic first seen in 1982, is that it’s at once utterly original and yet shares (in a salutary way) attributes with that earlier, piercingly penetrating play that accelerated the women’s movement: Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (1879). Both of these pieces woke their audiences up to the necessity of a feminist movement and also to the inescapable pain that comes from progress. Ways that were paradoxically heightened by the election of Mrs Thatcher, our first female prime minister.

  • Why 1939 was the greatest year in film history
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    The Independent

    Why 1939 was the greatest year in film history

    On 7 April 1939, Samuel Goldwyn’s production of Emily Bronte’s famous novel Wuthering Heights was released, just one of 365 films produced in Hollywood alone in the year that many film scholars consider the greatest ever for cinema. It was certainly the peak for Hollywood’s Golden Age and the much maligned studio system ruled over by autocrats such as Louis B Mayer and Samuel Goldwyn. Perhaps it was just serendipity that so many classics were released in 1939 or just the inevitable culmination of great art.

  • The TV shows you need to watch this week: From Don't Forget the Driver to Our Planet
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    The Independent

    The TV shows you need to watch this week: From Don't Forget the Driver to Our Planet

    From This Country to Derry Girls, form Fleabag to People Just Do Nothing to a reborn Alan Partridge, to name only a few, we have rarely been so well supplied with humour. This latest offer from the BBC is, surprisingly, the first piece of television writing by Toby Jones, who scripted it with Tim Crouch. Jones stars as coach driver Peter Green, who lives a life of ordinary routine but one also troubled by his odd family.