Sport Spain midfielder Juan Mata

Juan Mata follows in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo, George Best and Eric Cantona

No doubting the original-thinking Thomas

on Monday

1996: The shape of things to come

Racing: Never, never on a Saturday

TALK: Van Morrison in Conversation

Well, more of a sort of inarticulate speech of the heart, really. By Phil Johnson

I awoke, and the world was a different place

I WASN'T so much on holiday last week as asleep, in a health farm in Bedfordshire. It was boring but restorative and I drove back to London eager to face the world, only to find it had gone mad. My mother, my friends, my colleagues, my next-door neighbour, even the Guardian newsdesk only wanted to talk about one thing. On Radio 4, angry emotional people called Nick Ross to swear on air; not that I mind, but I can think of dozens of other subjects, from homelessness to nuclear testing, which are on the face of it more likely to provoke people into saying "shit" on a live national radio network. Even the editor of the Sun called up to give his readers' reaction.

Best takes top spot in the league of heroes


What a nice man - what a very nice man

David Patterson has a mild obsession: to find anyone who will say something mean about the designer Paul Smith. Not a chance

girls who wear moustaches

METROPOLITRAN LIFE A curious new addition to urban club culture, beer-swigging, bearded drag kings - the lesbian answer to drag queens - are a playful backlash to the media's love affair with lesbian chic

how to ride a bike

When I discovered that the shiny new bike under the Christmas tree was for my big sister and not for me, I went on bike strike; two wheels, who needs them?

Poetry, motion and Cantona's mind games

Sport on TV

Opinions: Has a woman ever sexually harassed you?: BR guard Jan Hustwitt was sacked last week for harassing a male driver

GEORGE BEST, ex-footballer: Yes, on many occasions, and it's almost always a bloody nuisance unless they are very beautiful.

COMEDY / A hope in Hill: It's not every stand-up who compares himself to Tarbie. James Rampton takes a dose of Harry Hill's logical surrealism

Harry Hill is fed-up with reading headlines about himself such as 'Doctor hits funnybone', 'Surgeon on the ridiculous', 'Bedpan humour', and 'Laughter the best medicine'. But what does he expect? If you are unique among stand-up comedians in being a former hospital doctor, then medical puns are always going to be on the prescription - sorry, the agenda.

Sport on TV: A long night from the days of innocence

FOR Bank Holiday Monday, BBC 2 opened its legs, showed its class and gave us Goal TV: more than five hours of football with one five-minute break - for Chile v Italy from 1962, the famous 'Battle of Santiago' in which off-the-ball incidents easily outnumbered on- the-ball incidents. Like much in this compilation, it wasn't pretty but it was effective. That's how it is with the long-haul game.

Almanack: Swiss score twice

TO THE delight of continental tabloids, the Swiss football team's coach Roy Hodgson has relaxed the sex ban on his players for the World Cup finals. But his players and their wives and girlfriends are only in a state of modified rapture: they will be allowed two brief conjugal visits: on 18 June after the team's match against the United States, and on 26 June after their game against Colombia.

Football: Cantona: 'I will stay as long as I'm happy': Who will win the the football writers' Footballer of the Year award? Eric Cantona, who won the PFA's award this week and may carry off a rare double, talks to Erik Bielderman about his unlikely success in England

You're the first foreign player to win the Professional Footballers' Association award as player of the year in the award's 20-year history. How do you feel about it?

Fashion: Sock horror probe] - Alison Veness investigates the rise, fall and rise again of the knee-high nylon nightmare: pop sox. Would you pay pounds 120 a pair?

Get this. Pop sox are stylish. It seems impossible, doesn't it - even with fashion's dedication to turning bad taste into new chic. It seems unthinkable that pop sox, for so long a guilty secret hidden under trousers, should surface. But they have.
Oscar Quine takes a stroll along High Street Kensington yesterday in ‘his’ electric blue stilettos
The temples of Angkor, where tourists have been stripping naked
Terry Sue Patt pictured in 1995
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The coffin containing the remains of King Richard III is carried on a procession for interrment at Leicester Cathedral on 22 March 2015 in Leicester, England.
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Eurovision Song Contest 2015
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Arts and Entertainment
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
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Independent Travel
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 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
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Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

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12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?