Simon Usborne

Simon Usborne is a features writer at The Independent and i.

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The Independent around the web
Time, gentlemen please: the Wheel Inn, Findern’s last pub, is being turned into a funeral directors

Derbyshire village launches "casks not caskets" campaign to stop pub becoming funeral directors

Simon Usborne raises a glass to community-run boozers
On locations: Ed Parsons at Google’s London HQ

The man who's making Google Maps smarter

Google Maps has changed the way we navigate, poked its cameras into our lives – and come close to sparking border conflict. Simon Usborne meets the geography fanatic who is the tech giant's mapping evangelist
Clean living: Bronner, 41, took over the business when his father died of cancer in 1998

How a hemp-clad hippie turned Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap into an unlikely commercial hit

Fans of Bronner's Fair Trade soap include Gwyneth Paltrow and Eminem

West End Boys: Neil Tennant (left) and Chris Lowe of The Pet Shop Boys are performing at the Proms

Unjust for Alan Turing, unjust for the 50,000 others: Pet Shop Boys call for mass pardon for 'gross indecency' convictions

As the Pet Shop Boys call for pardons for thousands of gay men with historic convictions for 'gross indecency', Simon Usborne finds that the repressive laws are still blighting lives today

Unjust for Turing, unjust for 50,000 others

As the Pet Shop Boys call for pardons for thousands of gay men with historic convictions for 'gross indecency', Simon Usborne finds that the repressive laws are still blighting lives today
An early colour photograph of the crater left by the biggest of the blasts beneath German positions near Messines on 14 June 1917

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: A blast that obliterated 10,000 Germans

When the British detonated 19 mines at Messines on 7 June 1917, it was the biggest man-made explosion ever seen

Weather wars at the Met Office: Is it going to be a 'barbecue summer' this year?

Adam Scaife has a tricky job: long-range forecaster at the Met Office
Humbling experience: Rosie visited Phnom Penh in Cambodia for Unicef

Simon Usborne: If nothing else, Pantani: the Accidental Death of a Cyclist will leave you with an urge to ride up a big hill

It's grand tour season, with the Giro d'Italia due to end tomorrow, three bruising weeks after it rolled out of Belfast. Next stop: Yorkshire and the Tour de France. In the meantime, my desk creaks like Boris Johnson's bike under well-timed cycling books and films.

Alan Johnson recalled how, as a child, he used to have to stuff paper in his ears at night, to keep out the cockroaches, beetles and earwigs

A stroll into the past: As his memoirs continue to garner accolades, former Home Secretary Alan Johnson retraces the steps which led to success

Few politicians come from more humble beginnings than the former Home Secretary Alan Johnson. He joins Simon Usborne for a stroll into a part of west London which has changed both radically – and not very much at all
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Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week