Arts and Entertainment

Given our national obsession with property prices, Tim Walker’s novel is bound to hit a nerve. His fictional couple, the Manvilles, bought their large north London home at a knock-down price in the 1990s, and it became the key to two aspects of their family life. Jerry, a successful advertising executive, undertook all the original plumbing, electrical and redecoration work; Pen devised a series of popular children’s books, The House on the Hill, whose “cheeky brat with the ridiculous schemes” is modelled on, and named after, her real-life son Conrad: 15 years on, they have done a loft conversion, and divorced.

Channel 4's new show will investigate the effects of smoking skunk on the brain

Volunteers to smoke strong skunk for Channel 4 'Drugs Live' show

Volunteers will take skunk, cannabis resin and a placebo in a blind trial

Video games and your degree: Can they ever mix?

Can gaming be beneficial? Is it more fun than an essay? And does Assassin's Creed teach you history?

GTA V player takes ‘Street’ Photography using in-game camera phone 

A Brazilian-born photographer and gamer has put together a series of realist pictures from Grand Theft Auto V - taken using his character’s in-game camera phone.

Krokodil the flesh-eating drug spreads to Chicago suburbs with three cases in a week

Krokodil, which is considered more addictive that heroin, originated in Russia

Porn on the Brain: Why is there so little scientific research about porn?

For a subject of acute public concern, the dearth of evidence on its effects is startling

Baseline Junkie: Dizzee Rascal performs on stage

Music review: Dizzee Rascal, iTunes festival

Following a slick performance from Katy B, Dizzee Rascal takes to the stage at Camden’s Roundhouse as the duo perform one of the most urban shows at this year’s iTunes festival. Tonight, Dizzee Rascal goes straight for the gut with a a nine-track set of synth-heavy, bass-trembling drones taken from his new release, The Fifth, an album packed with guest appearances, including Will.I.Am, Robbie Williams and Jessie J.

A drug addict smoking a crack pipe

Home Office: Drugs must remain illegal to 'protect society'

Government clashes with one of England's leading police officers who says Class A drugs should be decriminalised

Face values: Paul from Channel 4’s ‘My Tattoo Addiction’

Grace Dent on TV: My Tattoo Addiction, Channel 4

Roll up, roll up! See the tattooed man with no job and £71 a week to support his whole family

Has krokodil - the horrific street drug that rots the flesh of addicts – made the switch from Russia to the US?

'Exposed bones and skin hanging off bodies': Arizona fears epidemic caused by the homemade codeine and gasoline-based heroin substitute

The April election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio was a surprise in itself. Born in Argentina to Italian parents, he was the first Jesuit pope, and the first from Latin America, where most of the world's Catholics live. The last non-European pope was Syrian-born Gregory III, elected in 731

Gallery: 10 ways Pope Francis has surprised us

The Argentine's comments on homosexuality and contraception this week continue a tenor of change which has marked his papacy so far

Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather after the latters victory over Ricky Hatton

Boxing: Floyd Mayweather Junior apologises for distasteful picture that appeared on his Instagram account mocking former boxer Oscar De La Hoya

The picture was uploaded without Mayweather's consent and the pound-for-pound king of boxing has issued an apology for the incident

SoftSoap was the product that made his reputation as a business genius

Robert R Taylor: Businessman who put soap into bottles

Robert R Taylor, who has died of cancer at the age of 77, was the man who took soap out of dishes, put it in pump bottles and forever changed the way people wash up.

UK is the 'addiction capital of Europe' report claims

The UK is the "addiction capital of Europe", with some of its highest rates of opiate addiction and dependence on alcohol, a major new report warns.

Review: Plants Vs Zombies 2

David Phelan explores the world of zombies, explosive potatoes and in-app purchases

Paperback review: The Carbon Crunch, By Dieter Helm

Jim Thorne's first love is an inflatable dolphin named Dilly. But he's quite fond of pillows, too.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?