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?


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

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.

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.

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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

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Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'