Dome alone

Details of the Dome’s “lavish party” on millennium eve are at last appearing and its contents are more likely to depress than impress. A string of New Labour sympathisers, including Stephen Fry and Mick Hucknall, will entertain the hand-picked audience. This will be followed by what used to be called a “medley” of musical turns, a bit of pop, extracts from West End musicals and a bit of classical music. Something to suit all tastes. The Queen will then “open” the Dome. It’s going to be the Royal Variety Performance, only without the variety.

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Men on the verge of feminist debate

Is Susan Faludi right to conclude in her new book – Stiffed, serialised this week in the Guardian – that men are lost souls in search of an identity? Ros Coward argues that the Pulitzer prizewinner’s research will spark fresh discussion about masculinity

Is worrying about men the next stage of feminism? It certainly looks that way, now that Susan Faludi has waded in on the subject, joining a growing number of other feminists pondering “the crisis of masculinity”. In the UK, Fay Weldon lost friends by suggesting sex roles had inverted, while Adrienne Burgess argued against the exclusion of fatherhood from the feminist agenda. In my new book, Sacred Cows, I argue against demonising men when many women have made great gains and some men are experiencing significant losses.

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Killjoy culture

What is the matter with all these people? This will be a unique moment of revelation of the physical world

For the last few months, I’ve been getting steadily more excited about next week’s eclipse. Like millions of others, I hope to witness the totality and I’m prepared to travel to do so. Currently my household is torn between camping on Dartmoor or taking a boat off the south coast of England. As the day gets nearer, I’ve been reading everything I can about it, the scientific background and accounts of previous eclipses.

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Ripe for picking

The Green party will provide a real opposition to the Conservatives – if the voters are willing

In previous elections when I’ve voted for the Greens, it’s been as a protest vote. They had so little chance of success I didn’t need to worry about their unreadiness for political life. In Thursday’s European elections I shall be voting Green in a different frame of mind. With proportional representation, they stand a real chance of getting seats and the worry is no longer what would happen if they entered mainstream political life prematurely, but what on earth will happen if they don’t. So what’s changed?

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Under the rainbow

A black child misbehaved. The white lifeguards refused to act

Huge relief has followed the arrest of a suspect for the bombing of London minorities. This is not just because it feels safer again but also because no more complex explanation is demanded than the craziness of one individual. As a result, understanding has been left to the ‘rainbow alliances’ tendency. Vigils led by Outrage tell us Britain’s ‘minorities’ will continue to assert their rights and that the new heterogeneous, rainbow Britain will not be dented by ‘racist scum’.

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For much of the19th century, childhood was often short and brutish, and the young treated merely as small adults. And now? Continuing Weekend’s comprehensive review of our century, we look at the changing attitudes to life’s beginners

Is there a history of childhood in the 20th century? The lives of children have, after all, been as socially and psychologically varied as those of their parents. Yet some changes have completely transformed expectations for the early years of life. Indeed, childhood as we understand it was invented this century. Now, we view childhood as a prolonged and protected phase with considerable rights and consumer powers.

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