Terence Blacker

The writer and broadcaster Terence Blacker contributes a twice-weekly column on a wide range of social, cultural and environmental issues. He is the author of four novels, of prize-winning fiction for children, and has written a highly praised biography of the brilliant reprobate Willie Donaldson.

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Pippa and Kate Middleton

The New Year Dishonours list: Recognition for those who did their worst

There has been no shortage this year of nauseating figures in public life

We aren’t proper friends – so do I really owe you a Christmas card?

Sending rushed missives to distant acquaintances says nothing about friendship

Square eyes, warped souls: In every sense screens are playing a bigger part in British lives

No other country buys as much online, but does our digital dependency comes at the price of everyday fulfilment?

Terence Blacker at home with his baffling 20-page bill

Terence Blacker: The day my power supplier gave me a £5,914 electric shock

The Independent’s columnist is mystified by the arrival of a 20-page utility bill from E.ON Energy

‘Play safe and always avoid risk’ is a sad lesson to teach our children

Kids these days have an exaggerated faith in formal qualifications over practical experience. What's wrong with them?

From the Pope's new Twitter account: Anyone know if it’s a mortal sin to end a tweet with OMG?

Through a quirk of predictive text, our writer is able to anticipate the pope's first batch of holy tweets

The greenbelt has untold social and, yes, economic benefits. We shouldn't need reminding

The think-of-the-kids banner always heralds some unwise and unpopular Government policy, proposals to build on the greenbelt are no exception

Kweku Adoboli outside Southwark Crown Court yesterday

The downfall of UBS trader Kweku Adoboli is another morality tale from the City. But have we learnt anything from the Great Crash?

We ought to have spurned the grabby ethic of the City - but did the opposite

Civility breaks out on a rail journey to hell

It seems that some of the Olympic good humour lingers on, even for commuters

Oldsters are wrong to fire shots at their offspring

An email from a grandfather bitterly disappointed in his children has reignited the young vs. old debate, and Philip Roth is showing his lighter side

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Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...