Life and Style

It probably contravenes some unwritten rule to begin a light-hearted examination of the week in technology with a reference to Jimmy Savile, but a few days ago I remembered an episode of Jim'll Fix It in the 1980s where some lucky youngster had his room kitted out with all the latest gadgets from the Ideal Home Show, including some automated curtains. These curtains elicited gasps of wonder from my teenage self as I entertained the notion that, in the future, we'd be relieved of the endless, life-sapping drudgery of having to drag light pieces of material along a rail, sometimes as frequently as twice a day.

Rainbow View quells betting flap

Gosden-trained filly in fine form despite strange drift on online exchange

Album: Graham Lindsey, We Are All Alone in This Together, (Spacebar)

Graham Lindsey? Not, as it turns out, an accountant from Luton but a woolly and possibly wild songwriter from Montana.

Album: The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love (Capitol)

Sometimes, a good idea isn't quite enough. Always a fan of 1960s British folk-rock and prog, Decemberists songwriter Colin Meloy was inspired to create this concept album by hearing Anne Briggs's rare 1966 EP The Hazards Of Love.

Album: Micachu and the Shapes, Jewellery (Rough Trade)

Mica Levi, a 21-year-old from Surrey whose versatility is hinted at by the fact that she has both composed for the Philharmonic and released a grime mixtape, is breaking her shackles wide open.

Album: Debussy/Matthews, Préludes/Jeux – Hallé Orchestra/Elder (Hallé)

Colin Matthews's vivid orchestration of Debussy's Préludes reverses the technique used in Stephen McNeff's chamber orchestration of 'Pelléas et Mélisande'.

Album: Nyman, Eight Lust Songs – Marie Angel et al, (MNR)

It's not often that you see a parental advisory sticker on a classical CD, but unless your children are fluent in Renaissance Italian, Michael Nyman's 2007 settings of Pietro Aretino's sonnets are unlikely to corrupt.

IVF technique 'doubles chance of having a baby'

Ability to detect egg abnormalities will reduce risk of miscarriage, say scientists

Gadget of the week - trueCall, £99.99

Who'd have a landline? Thanks to cunning new call-centre tactics, millions of us have to put up with automated messages, silent calls or someone trying to sell us a new gas supply. But you can avoid this irritating phone-spam with a device called the trueCall. Simply plug your phone into this little gizmo and you can create a friends and family user list of callers. The idea is, if a random number appears, the trueCall intercepts it, and lets you know who is calling without putting them through. www.truecall.co.uk ; 0800 0336 339

Lib Dems' knuckles are rapped over Clegg's 250,000 cold calls

Nick Clegg's 250,000 automatic "cold calls" to voters after his party conference speech broke privacy laws, the information commissioner has ruled.

Lib Dems ordered to stop automated phone calls

The Liberal Democrats have been ordered to stop making unsolicited automated calls to voters or face prosecution after being found to have breached privacy rules.

Watchdog warns over Lib Dems' phone poll plan

Nick Clegg was today facing embarrassment after the Information Commissioner expressed "concern" over plans to bombard 250,000 voters with automated phone calls featuring a recording of the Liberal Democrat leader.

Water charges must reflect higher costs, United Utilities tells Ofwat

United Utilities is calling on the water regulator to let prices rise to reflect both higher energy costs and the effects of the credit squeeze.

Days turn to hours: Marion King - the leader of the money revolution

Simon Evans talks to Marion King, the woman who hopes the curse of protracted payment transfers will be lifted this week

Switched to another phone firm – and you had no idea

It can happen to any of us and the regulator receives 600 complaints a month. Sue Hayward sees how to avoid falling foul of the 'slammers'

Amazing Lego inventions

YouTube is awash with lovingly crafted Lego stop-motion recreations of pop-cultural staples like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the Thriller video. But some bright young things out there choose to spend their lego time on less derivative projects. The weird and wonderful gadgets below were all built from the iconic four-by-two bricks which debuted in 1950s Denmark, with the help of the Mindstorms robotic invention system originally released in 1990.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project