Voices

Moving house really brings you up to speed with the state of customer service in modern-day Britain. For the past two weeks I have been waging an almost constant war, via Twitter, email and phone, to get companies to do the simplest things like turn up on time (or even on the right day), deliver the correct item or offer help over the phone in something resembling human. I am fortunate in that I am a very minor celebrity with a healthy amount of Twitter followers. Time and again, the moment I tweeted my grievances the managing director or head of customer care would be in touch within 15 minutes promising to solve the problem. This is brilliant for me, but it's a sad state of affairs that problems that are easily solved can only be dealt with because I once dressed as a large squirrel.

The worst bout of flu ever, the worst poetry reading - in the world - ever, and the best of send-offs

Well, I'm sure glad that's over. I've just spent seven days of agony, stricken by this loathsome virus that's working its way through the metropolis, closing all the theatres in the West End (it attacks understudies, apparently, with a special fury) and turning every conversation in media- land into an antiphon of shared symptoms: "Yeah, I had it too. Yeah, all last week. Yeah, the chest infection. Honestly, I thought I was going to die ..."

AUNTIES UNITED

Journalists Eve Pollard, Clare Rayner and Anne Robinson among friends and former colleagues at a memorial service to the agony aunt Marjorie Proops.

NAPF chief proposes end to tax-free nest eggs

Anne Robinson, director general of the National Association of Pension Funds, yesterday courted controversy by suggesting that the Government scraps the 25 per cent tax-free lump sum paid to millions of people on retirement, in exchange for restoring tax breaks previously enjoyed by the pension fund industry, writes Nic Cicutti.

Folletts accept libel damages

Ken and Barbara Follett yesterday accepted undisclosed libel damages over a newspaper column which questioned the sincerity of their fund-raising activities for the Labour Party.

The horrific secrets of 25 Cromwell Street

The Gloucester victims: The 10 women and girls Frederick and Rosemary West are alleged to have murdered

Media frenzy as Rosemary West faces murder jury

Gloucester killings: Trial of builder's widow begins nine months after he committed suicide in his prison cell

Oh what a beautiful morning...

It's got to stop. Richard and Judy are tunnelling their way out and someone's got to stop them. A show like Get A Life! would be all very well for presenters like Esther Rantzen or Anne Robinson, whose dubious talents would remain safely unstretched by a comfy topic-related format combined with the opportunity to badger their audience. But Richard and Judy are like farmers - outstanding in their field - and the powers that be at This Morning (10.30am ITV) would be ill-advised to let them drift off into the vacuum of prime-time nonentity without putting up a fight.

And Norm is ever so grateful

So now it's OK to like Radio 2. But who are they, these Wogan fanciers, these Stewpot junkies? Do you know any? What kind of person tunes into Jimmy Young? Someone like Frances Line, as it happens. By Sue Gaisford

Press swamp public at West committal 1/36point

Amid massive media attention but only moderate public interest, the hearing that will decide whether Rosemary West will be committed for trial on 10 murder charges began yesterday. Scores of photographers and television cameramen outnumbered a small crowd of local people as Mrs West, 41, arrived for the hearing at Dursley magistrates' court, near Stroud, Gloucestershire, in a police van with blacked-out windows.

The love that dares to speak its name

"Big bubbly brunette seeks strapping guy, 17 to 25. Living people need not apply. Will provide big black roomy car for romantic getaways." "Middle-aged male seeks one-legged partner. Other leg optional, but must be removeable." "Young male seeks long coil of wire and full-length mirror. But hurry: one of us dies each week in the UK alone."

THE CHRONOLOGY: How the inquiry unfolded as the body count rose

The arrest of Frederick West triggered one of the biggest police investigations in recent times. West was detained on 25 February last year with his wife Rosemary by detectives investigating the disappearance of their daughter, Heather, last seen alive aged 16 in 1987.

How We Met: Anne Robinson and Paul Edmonds

Anne Robinson, 49, writes and presents Points of View and presents Watchdog for the BBC. She also writes for the Times and Today. Married to publisher Jonathan Penrose, she has a daughter, Emma, by her first husband, ex-Times editor Charles Wilson, and a dog, Maud Alabama.

Labour leader wants Mirror boss sacked

JOHN SMITH, leader of the Labour Party, is pressing the banks that control 54 per cent of Mirror Group Newspapers' shares to sack the group's chief executive, David Montgomery, the former editor of Today and the News of the World.

Media / Talk of the Trade: Mirror image

RICHARD STOTT, the sacked editor of the Daily Mirror, is wreaking revenge, re-creating the best features of the Mirror at Today. So far he has taken top writers (Alastair Campbell, Anne Robinson) and editing staff (its entire features bench), plus the women's editor, Mary Riddell. Mr Stott wants Today to aim at the mass middle market, between the Mirror and Daily Mail. February sales are estimated at 541,000, up 80,000 on a year ago. Today's political stance is to be independent: editorials already say that the Government is terrible, but that Labour has yet to provide the answer. A comment this week on television violence, praising the BBC 1 controller, Alan Yentob, has won Mr Stott new respect from broadcasters.
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
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news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
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Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
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Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried