Basingstoke

Brian Viner: The joy of what's overheard

Those of us long-sufferers who regularly rely on Britain's benighted railway network to get from A to B, preferably not via C, let alone with buses laid on from D to E, all have our pet irritations. One of my latest is the failure, more often than you'd believe possible, of the seat reservation service.

The great British enthusiast

Plane spotters, chess champions, marathon runners and historical re-enactors are just a few of the British ‘enthusiasts’ captured through the lens of street photographer Matt Stuart.

Business analysis: "We must accelerate the transition to an

The coming years are going to be as tough for business as for individuals with the new Government seeking to deal with the huge national debt it has inherited. If that were not bad enough, there is a growing belief that we are not in the grip of the usual cyclical downturn but are in the middle of a “great reset”, to use a term that is suddenly becoming more common. If – as the author Richard Florida and others contend – we are in the middle of the sort of change that followed the Long Depression, which lasted from the early 1870s until the mid-1890s, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, then the usual measures to deal with economic downturns are unlikely to work.

Testing times for Lisbee Stainton as she lands prime spot on BBC's In

Soundchecks can be tedious affairs – stop-start sessions in empty venues where singers save their voices and musicians go through the motions. Big acts even have roadies do it for them. But it's a good job fast-rising folk-popper Lisbee Stainton does her own – it's just landed her a prime spot on the BBC's prestigious In Concert next week.

Denzil Freeth: Politician celebrated for his charm and oratory and

It is over 45 years since Denzil Freeth retired from the House of Commons and 55 years since he was first elected as an MP for Basingstoke. For those of us in the 1959-64 parliament, Freeth was the most sparkling orator and debater, Enoch Powell included. Had I been asked to place a bet in 1962 as to who would lead the Conservative Party in 1982, my money would have been on Freeth. The exact reasons why he abruptly halted a dazzling political career, resigning from office on 23 October 1963, were unclear to his contemporaries; but those were days when neither parliamentary colleagues nor lobby and political journalists wanted to pry into the private lives of those in public life accused of no crime. But it was the febrile atmosphere which followed the Vassal and Profumo cases, and Freeth indicated to friends that he did not want to pursue the hazards of public life.

Anti-gay preachers banned from UK

Two American hate preachers have been banned from entering the UK where they planned to picket a play by a gay youth group, the Home Office said today.

Coming Soon: Obsessive love is in the air

The narcotic beauty of Die Tote Stadt (pictured) sets the tone for a season of music inspired by obsessive love. Opening 27 January at the Royal Opera House, London (020-7304 4000), Willy Decker's Salzburg Festival production of Korngold's opulently scored opera represents another chance for British audiences to assess the "Viennese Puccini", though they won't have to wait too long for the real one.

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