News The Houses of Parliament illuminated at night

Battersea have drawn up a list of their top mousers

Style and Design: Items and Icons fountain pens

For most of us, the very mention of fountain pens conjures up images of ink-stained hands and smudged copy books from first attempts at joined-up writing. But signing your credit card bill with a flourish of a 14ct gold nib makes a much better impression than a bashed up Biro that has been sitting around for months. Fountain pens, as they are known today, were first introduced to the market by the New Yorker L E Waterman in 1884, though some less practical models were in existence in the 18th century, most notably that which belonged to the French mathematician Bion, covered in hard wax. The actual components of fountain pens have not changed dramatically over the decades, with most advancements being made in materials and the method of the supply of ink to the nib, such as vacuum pumps and cartridges.

Comedy: Blue is the colour

Canadian comedian Mike Wilmot has braved a PC backlash to bring his `bright blue' act to town

Wednesday's tickets

The Brand New Heavies are the classiest soul funk act of the Nineties and The Independent has two pairs of tickets to give away. The gig takes place 16 December at Battersea Power Station. For information about other live music and events in the Midland '97 Entertainment Village, ring 0870 9080 888.

Cafe Society: Are you sitting comfortably?

A largely undiscovered gem of a restaurant lurks in Lavender Hill's wastelands. Sofa so good

Comedy: WIN A NIGHT AT JONGLEURS

Jongleurs opened its third London venue, at Bow Wharf, last month. Forthcoming acts include

Fickle owners and affluence make a dog's life deeply hairy

Where have all the Rottweilers gone? Graham Ball on victims of pet fads

Firm faces action for selling contact lenses by mail order

A company selling contact lenses by direct mail is to be prosecuted for failing to provide customers with adequate supervision. The General Optical Council decided it would take legal action against Vision Direct and its directors for selling cut-price contact lenses without the supervision of a qualified doctor or optician.

Gordon takes a fiscal break for Gordon

Captain Moonlight

Letter: Luxury city - for some

Luxury city

Architecture: Arise Lord Rogers. Arise Battersea

Richard Rogers, everybody's favourite architect (especially Blair's) is a man with a plan or two. Plans for the Millennium, plans for the Government and his place in it and, oh yes, for a fabulous place on the Thames. By Peter Popham

Election `97: Fayed helicopter transports Blair

Tony Blair yesterday flew from London to Derby in a helicopter owned by the proprietor of Harrods, Mohamed Al Fayed, the man at the heart of the "cash for questions" allegations.

First Night: Exit in confusion as critics savage plays directed by the critics

First Night: The Critics - Up For Review BAC, London

Cries & whispers

Hey hey, it's your press tickets! Or not. Just in case you're wondering why my esteemed colleague Nicholas Barber has not seen fit to review the Monkees, it's because the organisers are suddenly unable to provide any tickets. Could this be due to the hostile initial notices from critics who, let's face it, are never too busy singing to put anybody down? David Cheal, writing in the Telegraph, called the Monkees gig "ramshackle, disjointed ... strange and distressing". Max Bell in the London Evening Standard concurred: "awful spectacle ... lumbered from one disastrous song to another ... a truly tawdry and depressing evening." It's enough the make the most robust impresario think twice. But the sudden withdrawal of press tickets has nothing to do with negative reviews, say the organisers. Heavens, no! Fact is that the gigs are going so well that they'd rather every last ticket went to The Fans. They're sure we understand. We do, we do ...

Outwardly mobile

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`Are we nearly there?'

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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones