Before the week is out...

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ALTHOUGH IT'S great to have a proper summer, the downside is having to put up with people moaning about the heat. But now, thankfully, you can shut the killjoys up by presenting them with one of these new compact desk fans. They come in a range of funky colours, fold neatly away for easy storage and - well, obviously - they're very, very cool.

pounds 14.95 from The Gadget Shop by mail order (tel: 0800 783 8343), www.thegadgetshop.co.uk

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IN CANADA a Mountie always gets his man, but he always gets his mail as well because he uses these illuminated house numbers. Now available here, the unit is operated by a photo-electric cell that switches on at dusk and off at dawn. The numbers glow in either red or amber and are available for up to four digits. The product is completely sealed against the elements, easy to install and could be a useful addition to households needing to raise their profile as well as the neighbours' eyebrows.

Surelite U.K. 0208 201 9220 from pounds 29.99.

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IF YOU'RE looking to perfect the art of self-promotion you've got to head across the pond for inspiration: just ask Catherine Zeta Jones. But a little of the Yankee know-how is slowly making its way over here. The Lanesborough Hotel in London has started offering all its residents personalised business cards for use during their stay. So if you're plugging your first book, film or business idea, just check-in for a few days, flash your cash and create a delightfully false impression for your associates.

The Lanesborough Hotel, Hyde Park Corner, London SW1 (tel: 0171 259 5599).

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THE TOTAL eclipse itself is going to last but a mere two minutes - which rather makes you wonder if its worth all the bother. Happily one man has taken a more long term approach to the phenomenon. American artist James Turrell, who uses light as his material, has spent the past two years planning and building his very own eclipse piece on a hillside in Cornwall. You can catch the story of this unusual artist tonight on Channel 4 and of course see the final result - a giant camera obscura called Skyspace which will record the image of the passing eclipse and preserve it forever.

`The Cowboy and the Eclipse', 8pm, 8 August, Channel 4.

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LATIN AMERICAN music is the hot sound this summer, so if you find yourself getting into the groove with Ricky Martin, then why not go the whole hog and enjoy a week of alternative Latin sounds? The Braziliance festival at the London Jazz Cafe next week features everything from bossa nova (think "The Girl from Ipanema") to the clubby sound of Smoke City (above), best known for the hit "Underwater Love" which featured in the Levi's "Mermaid" ad. Sunday night's grand finale will be more traditional with a full-on batucada (drumming) outing from Quilombo do Samba.

Braziliance '99, ticket pounds 8 to pounds 15, 9-15 Aug, Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway, Camden. Box office (tel: 0171 344 0044).

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