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Le Grand Meaulnes (translated as The Lost Estate in the most recent Penguin classic) was a set text for our A level French and like The Catcher in the Rye it should be read in adolescence.

Boo! US schools put the frighteners on scary costumes for Halloween

Clampdown on cloaks, masks and weapons that could upset or offend

Bestival, Isle of Wight

Bestival closes festival season with a feast of song and dance

It's a dirty job for champion bog-snorkellers

More than 150 competitors braved wind, rain and mud yesterday in the annual World Bog Snorkelling Championship in the Mid Wales town of Llanwrtyd Wells. For the first time, Gordon Green, 74, who devised the event more than two decades ago, turned out himself in flippers, a mask and a snorkel to get down and dirty in one of two 60-yard trenches dug into the bog outside the town.

My week as a superdad: Phil Hilton takes lessons in modern fatherhood

A trip to the park just isn't enough any more – a good father must now spend 'quality time' with his kids. So which activities make the grade? And how many hours should he put in? Phil Hilton tries advanced parenting

Terror in the air as plane cabin fills with smoke

A passenger on board a plane which was forced to make an emergency landing has described the "hair-raising" moment the cabin began to fill with smoke.

Sex and the modern girl: Are we witnessing a new age of female sexual assertiveness?

Paloma lives in the basement of a tall, regal-looking building on a smart street in west London. Hers is a spacious studio flat with a neat patio area, just big enough for a potted herb garden and wrought-iron table with matching chairs.

A million shoppers log onto new Woolworths website

One million shoppers logged on to the new Woolworths.co.uk site in its first week of trading, the company said today.

Sarah Churchwell: Devoured by his own celebrity

Michael Jackson’s self-hatred ricocheted against a narcissistic megalomania

Hit & Run: Jarvis' bum note

Jarvis Cocker has just gone and broken one of rock's cardinal rules: never (ever) admit even a fleeting fondness for the Conservative Party. In an interview for the new issue of GQ, the former Pulp frontman told Dylan Jones (the magazine's editor, himself a self-proclaimed Cameronista): "Maybe [a Conservative government] is necessary. There is no credible alternative."

Death and the King's, Horseman, National Theatre, London

Fear not, there are no more war horses invading the National Theatre. Instead, the horseman of the dead king on the outskirts of a Nigerian city in the twilight of British colonialism, in the shadow of a distant war, is preparing to follow his Yoruba leader to the grave in an act of tribal ritualism.

Credit Crisis Diary: 14/03/2009

So who does what at the FSA?

Niall Fitzgerald, the deputy chairman of Thomson Reuters, was Hector Sants' host when he gave his landmark speech this week promising a regulatory crackdown. Mr Fitzgerald quizzed the Financial Services Authority chief executive on governance and whether there was a clear division between Mr Sants' role and that of Lord Turner, his bustling new chairman. "Er, completely," Mr Sants replied with a fixed grin that seemed to hint otherwise.

Lib Dems suspend Nazi fancy dress councillor

A Liberal Democrat councillor who dressed as a Nazi storm-trooper for a fancy dress bash has been suspended by red faced party chiefs.

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