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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert