Arts and Entertainment

Liz Jones is a beacon of normality when cloistered with Dappy and co   

Sales roar ahead as balmy weather drives DIY fans barmy

Britain's leading DIY retailers have reported buoyant trading over the Easter weekend boosted by the good weather. B&Q, Sainsbury's Homebase and Do-It-All said sales had been better than expected with sales of lawn mowers, garden furniture and painting and decorating equipment all strong. Easter is always a key time for the DIY superstores though retailers had been cautious ahead of this weekend as Easter fell early. "All the signs are that we've had a very good Easter," said Ross McLaren, managing director of Sainsbury's Homebase. "It has not been a record weekend but sales are up on last year. The good weather has certainly helped."


Autograph collecting is big business with the most prized trophies going for as much as pounds 14,000. Michael Booth joins the queue to own a name

cooler than london...

Newport the new Seattle? They don't think so in Beccles. Or Great Yarmouth. The title of trendiest town is hotly contested, says Emma Cook

Girls leave the boys trailing in GCSEs

Girls' schools have increased their share of the top positions in this year's league table of leading independent schools' GCSE results. All of the top 10 schools are girls-only, as are 17 out of the top 20.

The top 30 independent schools

School No of Av Ucas

dilemmas; Generation gap

Divorced, 43 and with two teenagers, Clem is in love with a devoted, kind young man of 25 who virtually lives with her and is very anxious to marry her. They've been together for 18 months and he says it doesn't matter if they can't have children. But when he's 50, Clem will be over 70. Would he still care, she asks? And would this be the right move for him?

under-dressed, over the top and over here

The US craze for table dancing clubs - where punters buy their very own striptease - has now arrived in Britain. A new entertainment, or just old-fashioned exploitation? asks Lucy O'Brien


Aston Villa are to give a trial to Antonio Pacheco, the 28-year- old Sporting Lisbon winger. Villa are applying for international clearance to play him in a reserve match at Leicester on Monday.

Pizza: a slice of lifestyle

Busy - or lazy - Nineties consumers like their favourite fast food brought to the doorstep. But there are some things the staff find hard to stomach. Esther Oxford meets the workers who deliver the goods

L A W R E P O R T; Housing association can provide accommodation for the homeless

Regina v Hertsmere Borough Council, Ex parte Woolgar Queen's Bench Division (Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC) 3 May 1995

Theme park plan for BBC

Pearson studies feasibility of `EastEnders' studio attraction

How to spot a true oddball

A new study identifies 15 characteristics that define eccentrics. Sally Holloway consults a noted example As the chaotic state of his mind-bogglingly untidy work shed testifies, John Ward loves pulling things apart


ONE OF the longest-running feuds in Britain - the battle of Bhaktivedanta Manor - may finally be approaching its conclusion. It began in 1973, when George Harrison, hardly a typical Home Counties villager himself, donated his 19th-century mock-Tudor manor to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon). A community of shaven-headed mystics moved in, and the villagers of Letchmore Heath, in Hertfordshire, threw up their hands in horror. Then, it seemed a simple battle. Objections were raised about noise, traffic, crowds and amenities, but the real issues were more more basic, more fundamental: it was the exotic east versus the xenophobic west; Hindu spirituality versus stolid English rural traditionalism. But time has clouded the picture, hardening positions but also confusing them. The manor is now revered by Hindus as a temple - one of the most sacred outside India. Most of the villagers who originally objected have moved out: today,three-quarters of the 220 or so inhabitants of Letchmore Heath are newer to the village than Iskcon. And, after countless thousands of newspaper column inches, the 22-year-old dispute has become an English rural tradition in its own right.

Loan system fails struggling mother

JACKIE BIDWELL, a lone parent, found that trying to get money for a new mattress for her 10-year-old son from the Social Fund was like getting blood out of a stone, writes Martin Whitfield.

Court bid to bring back Elstree's golden days

It would take all the film industry's powers of illusion to evoke the glamorous heyday of Elstree studios from the disused buildings and rubble that are its legacy.
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On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral