Arts and Entertainment

One minute he was a humble punter trying to peek up Debbie Harry's skirt at a Hammersmith Odeon gig, the next he was the owner of the venue which was to steal the Odeon's crown. If Simon Parkes' autobiography – full of raucous tales and Geezer-speak – is ever made into a film, it will be fun trying to find an actor who can do him justice. When he wants to sound hard, he can sometimes come across like Ray Winstone. But would Ray Winstone ever have banked at Coutts?

CLUBS: CLUB OF THE WEEK; MILK N2 SUGARS @ the annexe

Everyone knows that Britons, dedicated tea drinkers they are, like nothing better than to put the kettle on and have a good natter during the long winter evenings. Alternatively, you can pull on your dancing pants and head down to Soho for one of the freshest club nights in the West End.

Podium Douglas Hurd: The Government must cure our `sick nicks'

From the Bourne Trust Memorial Lecture, delivered by the former Home Secretary and Chair of the Prison Reform Trust

Property: The suburb that never sleeps: Brixton

Hot Spot Brixton, South London; The fact that it's just minutes from the middle of London helps, but what really pulls young buyers to Brixton is its vibrant night life.

event london open house

Another year, another London Open House - and a further opportunity to explore more of the capital's diverse and extraordinary architecture, as 450 buildings around the city are opened for free to the public. Venture inside Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton to see if it's something in the bricks and mortar that makes its council officials the way they are, or head backstage at the Hackney Empire to view a Grade II-listed Edwardian music hall. The offices of both ITN on Gray's Inn Road and BBC Television Centre on Wood Lane will be available for inspection, as will the hotel within the Old County Hall on the South Bank, and George Gilbert Scott's gothic marvel at St Pancras Chambers. If you remain tired of London after this weekend it's no one's fault but your own.

Arts: Friend of the Great Beast

Like Aleister Crowley, Austin Osman Spare was obsessed with sex and magic. But unlike Crowley, he was also an accomplished artist.

We must nurture political correctness

It is the racist comments with a sliver of fact nestling at their heart that are most dangerous

Major: `Thatcher was intolerable'

JOHN MAJOR will make his first public attack on MargaretThatcher in a BBC programme to be broadcast this autumn. Her resignation was, he says, the start of a "Greek tragedy". Whether he is referring to his predecessor's inability to come to terms with her loss of office or his own premiership is unclear from the snippets released by the BBC so far. What is quite clear is the contempt Mr Major has for Mrs Thatcher's sniping from the sidelines.

Book Review: Mixed company for the lonely Londoners

Andrea Henry visits two sides of the black metropolis - the threatening estate, and the enchanting street; Society Within by Courttia Newland Abacus, pounds 9.99, 310pp; The Street by Biyi Bandele Picador, pounds 10, 292pp

Eclipse Winners

The ten winners of last week's Independent and Independent on Sunday eclipse competition were:

Club Of The Week: Indulge @ Mass

The recent opening of Mass has meant even more clubbing choice in Brixton, an area already blessed with half a dozen of London's most innovative promotions.

Eclipse Winners

The 10 winners of last week's Independent and Independent on Sunday eclipse competition were:

Property: Stepping Stones - One Woman's Property Story

RIO SPARKES, who works for a charity, bought her first home in 1981 after finishing college. "The market was rising and the pressure was on," she says. "I knew if I didn't buy then, by the next year I couldn't have afforded to."

Prison officers in bribery inquiry

THREE OFFICERS have been suspended from Brixton prison in south London, accused of taking bribes from inmates.
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My George!

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Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
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New app reveals political leanings of food companies
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Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
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One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

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London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

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