Arts and Entertainment

A window on the real world with Danny and his diamond geezers

Outlook: Wassall should put up or shut up

ALAN JONES, the chief cable layer at BICC, is no stranger to hostile bid battles. When he was in charge at Westland he sucked GKN into a long and bloody skirmish. Eventually GKN came up with a price sufficient to allow the West Country helicopter maker to raise the white flag.

Pop: This Week's Album Releases - Public Image Ltd Plastic Box (Virgin)

DESPITE THE neat packaging, which unites the twin peaks of PiL's career - the seminal new-wave industrial-dub epic Metal Box and the solid, generic Album - there's something about the band that remains fundamentally ill- suited to the retrospective box format. It's the antithesis of the rebellious spirit they once personified. In the way it smoothes the group's spiky iconoclasm with historical pomposity, it's like a turkey voting for Christmas.

Leading Article: Slush, mush and an orgy of marketing

HE IS listed in Butler's Lives of Patron Saints in between Ubald, patron saint for protection from dog bites, rabies or hydrophobia, and Venantius, patron saint against danger from falling, or jumping and leaping. It would make just as much sense, theologically, historically and superstitiously, for card printers and helium-filled balloon-makers to sell "beware of the dog" paraphernalia on 16 May. Or "mind the gap" paraphernalia on 18 May.

Letter: Pigeon post?

Sir: Appropriate to get an explanation of "round robin" sent to Canary Wharf from Leighton Buzzard (letter, 28 December). My own round robin is outside the kitchen window; to my fat cat's disgust, he was the recipient of the remains of the Christmas turkey.

Christmas dinner in bid for freedom

NOT SINCE the Tamworth Two made their escape from an abattoir has there been such a daring dash for freedom.

Women are Christmas control freaks

WH SMITH and Family Circle magazine have done a Christmas survey which says that someone called "the average female" will buy all the Christmas food and drink, write and send all the cards, buy and wrap all the presents and do the washing-up. The only contribution that men are likely to make, the survey says, is ferrying around relatives and carving the turkey.

A half-century of jolly conundrums for Christmas

Are we going to accept that invitation from the Wilgoes to drinks on the 23rd?

Real Living: Christmas with the brats

Children can make your Christmas - into a disastrous day of tears and tension. But it doesn't have to be that way, reports Hester Lacey

The Style Police: Fashion begins at forty

At last, older women can keep up with the latest trends and still keep their dignity intact. Phew, says James Sherwood

Head to head: Give over

Do you buy Christmas cards and presents? Virginia Bottomley relieves stress by wrapping up gifts, while Cynthia Payne has more faith in other methods

Christmas Food & Drink: Taste of Christmas to come

l Can't tell the difference between your Prestige Cuvee and your Blanc de Blancs? Then join Francoise Peretti at Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor (Knightsbridge, SW1, 0171 235 5000), where the director of the Champagne Information Bureau will be hosting a tutored tasting of Champagnes on 8 December. Tickets are pounds 15.

US-style mayors for British cities

A WAVE of Labour council corruption scandals has prompted Tony Blair to draw up radical plans to bring directly elected mayors to every town and city in Britain.

Letter: Turkeys against PR

Sir: It is not surprising that many Labour and Tory politicians are opposed to proportional representation (Lord Parkinson, Right of Reply, 26 August). Any form of PR would see a substantial reduction in the number of seats occupied by Tories and New Labour (or whatever they might be calling themselves during election week). We have yet to see turkeys voting for Christmas.

Places; Heather's

If you want to repent for a Christmas overstuffed with turkey, chipolatas and pork pie off the bone, then stagger down to Heather's in south-east London. This vegetarian and vegan restaurant is Deptford's second-greatest secret (the greatest, of course, being the identity of Christopher Marlowe's killer). Twelve quid gets you unlimited access to their sumptuous buffet, which creaks with African peanut soup, caramelised onions and nutty chocolate pudding. Open for lunch (not Sat) and dinner (not Mon or Sun).

Television: Seasonal redemption via the satsuma bowl

The award for the least emollient moments of the last few days goes to the opening scenes of Mothertime (Sunday, BBC2) - a shrewdly acidic take on family life that began with an alcoholic mother belting her teenage daughter and emptying the satsuma bowl over the floor so that she could use it to catch her vomit.
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Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
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'
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