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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Life and Style
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Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice