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


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?'

Weekly outings for children: Go-karting
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Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
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Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
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As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
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Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn