The latest on books and the arts
Thor has been an alien space horse and a frog – is a woman really more fantastical than that?
By Laura Sneddon - 16 July 16:16

Marvel have announced that the new Thor will be a woman. Cue outraged cries of “PC gone mad” and “publicity stunt” from a particularly vocal segment of the fandom.

Illustration: Ciara Phelan for the New Statesman
Think before you act: against the modern cult of spontaneity
By Steven Poole - 16 July 10:00

Truly living in the moment and being utterly spontaneous would render you unable to make and keep promises, or to formulate any kind of plan for helping yourself or others.

It's time for women to be able to see themselves on the walls. Photo: Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Westminster’s “white” and “male” art reflects its inhabitants
By Beth Lambert - 14 July 18:06

Time for female MPs to be able to see themselves on the walls: the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Parliament condemns “off-putting” Westminster art.

The Rutles.
A selection of the best Python projects outside of Monty Python
By Ryan Gilbey - 14 July 13:01

Ryan Gilbey celebrates the best work by individual Pythons outside of their famous collaborations, from John Cleese’s slick Brit-flick A Fish Called Wanda to Eric Idle’s Beatles pastiche The Rutles.

Planetoids in Minecraft, by Mike Prosser. Image via Flickr/Creative Commons
Why indie gaming’s obsession with moneymaking hurts us all
By Simon Parkin - 14 July 8:30

The dominant story of this video game-making generation is the one about the struggling artist who made a breakout hit and never needed to work again, and that’s limiting the kind of games that are getting made.

Garth Brooks has cancelled five Dublin gigs in protest at a licensing dispute. Photo: Getty
Why is country star Garth Brooks cancelling five Dublin gigs causing such uproar in Ireland?
By Oliver Farry - 11 July 18:00

Ireland is currently split between people who are mortally embarrassed by the cancellation farrago and those who declare it to be of the utmost importance. What is it with the Irish and country music?

The Libertines. Photo: Getty
Are Pete Doherty and Carl Barât the last of British music’s tempestuous best friendships?
By Anoosh Chakelian - 11 July 16:38

As once estranged Libertines frontmen passionately reunite, they highlight the dearth of stormy musical partnerships in today’s music.

In the Frame: Welcome to our Tory Summer Fundraiser!
By Tom Humberstone - 11 July 12:04

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner in Frances Ha.
Grown women don’t need to have a “best friend”
By Alice Robb - 11 July 9:40

If “best friendship” is on the rise, what does it mean?

Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his father (Ethan Hawke) in Linklater’s family drama.
In Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, time fades away
By Ryan Gilbey - 10 July 16:29

Made over more than a decade, this is a film that reminds us life is seen by children from a different angle.

Knowledge is power: the winning Leicester team in 1963. Photo: Rex Features
Fingers on buzzers! University Challenge: Class of 2014
By Rachel Cooke - 10 July 15:54

University Challenge, which first aired in 1962, is an institution. Raiding its archive and interviewing students past and present makes for vivid social history.

No hope: youth unemployment is at crisis levels. Photo: Getty
Owen Jones on The Condition of Britain: where is the left’s transformative programme?
By Owen Jones - 10 July 15:36

The authors of IPPR’s The Condition of Britain offer a coherent plan and one that will be influential if the Labour Party triumphs in May.

The Amazon rainforest. Photo: Getty
Puzzle pieces: finding the patterns in the poetry
By Matthew Sperling - 10 July 13:33

Matthew Sperling looks at new poetry collections by Paul Batchelor, Oli Hazzard, and Toby Martinez de las Rivas.

Montaigne and Shakespeare: two great writers of one mind
By Jonathan Bate - 10 July 13:24

Jonathan Bate traces the Bard’s debt to the French essayist Michel de Montaigne.

Sold is a film about child trafficking. Photo: Courtesy of Sold the movie
"My heart sank and burned": Neerja Naik on making a film about sex trafficking
By Neerja Naik - 10 July 13:05

Actor Neerja Naik on the making of the feature film about sex trafficking, Sold, in India.