Simmy Richman

Simmy Richman is Associate Editor of The Independent on Sunday's New Review magazine. He is also a writer and CD reviews editor for The Independent on Sunday

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The first Christmas card: in 1843 the inventor Sir Henry Cole commissioned the artist John Callcott Horsley to draw a card for him to send to family and friends

Hold your temperance: New life for the first Christmas card

It is possible that you are familiar with the story of the first Christmas card. In case not: in 1843 the inventor Sir Henry Cole commissioned the artist John Callcott Horsley to draw a card for him to send to family and friends. The result proved controversial because the British Association for the Promotion of Temperance had just been established and the card depicted a young girl eagerly downing a glass of wine.

Giles Coren, as well as being the restaurant reviewer for The Times, is now a weekly columnist for the London listings magazine Time Out

Named and shamed: How to endear yourself to your new boss

Regular readers of this column (my eldest brother, essentially) might be forgiven for thinking that I am tiny bit obsessed with the writer and television presenter Giles Coren. This is the third time his name has appeared on this page to date, but what's a person to do when he keeps on providing such priceless material?

Enrique Iglesias performs on stage at the MTV EMAs 2014

Enrique Iglesias’s 'Bailando': Why did the global No 1 fail to trouble our top 50?

The worldwide hit crawled to No 75 in the UK chart

The pregnant woman criticised anti-abortion protesters for “making other women feel guilty” by filming outside an abortion clinic

Giving choice a voice: The story behind an internet heroine

Chances are that you will have seen by now the "Pregnant Woman Blasts Anti-Abortion Protesters Outside a Clinic in London" video. At the time of writing, it had registered almost two million views. As you might expect when something is shared in this way, the mainstream media have been climbing over each other to find out who the "pregnant woman" in question is. Sunny Hundal, the journalist who shot the footage, on the other hand, is more interested in raising awareness of the story behind his viral hit.

The lamb chop was launched on 14 June and returned to Earth about a month later

Chops away! Space, the final food frontier

Now that space exploration really is open to everyone, you might find yourself asking what to send up into orbit. It is a conversation that one writer and his graphic designer friend were having in a pub earlier this year and to them the answer was obvious: a lamb chop.

Snow joke: a selection of jumpers made by ‘British Christmas Jumpers’

Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Christmas jumpers used to be unwanted gifts from an embarrassing relative. Not any more. Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind the British Christmas Jumpers brand
Gary Catona has worked with a number of high profile singers including Stevie Wonder, pictured

High pitch: In search of the next Whitney

Gary Catona would like to teach the world to sing. To that end, the vocal coach who has worked with Stevie Wonder, Liza Minnelli, Andrea Bocelli and Lorde (the list really does go on), is hosting the world's largest ever singing lesson online at Google Hangout on 12 December.

Fuel to the fire: the vital statistics of an average 'Top Gear' viewer, apparently

YouGov Profiler: What are the vital statistics of an average reader of The Independent?

If you are reading this, chances are you are also listening to Pete Seeger and about to pop out to Waitrose. Or are you? Simmy Richman questions the findings of YouGov Profiler

Malinda Kathleen Reese's YouTube channel is caled Google Translate Sings

Mind your language: Song lyrics literally lost in translation

While certain other less worthy things (let's not name them here) were "breaking the internet" last week, over in a small corner of YouTube, one young American woman's efforts were picking up millions of hits without a hint of revealed flesh.

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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'