Pandora: Look away now! It's Brown, naked and angry

Batten down the hatches! After spin doctor Lance Price's account of Gordon Brown's agitated behaviour at No 10 which was serialised in The Independent, the Prime Minister has been nervously awaiting Andrew Rawnsley's book, The End of the Party, which documents the slow decline of New Labour since 2001.

Hits of the Brits

Next week's Brit Awards include a category commemorating the most memorable performance of the show's past 30 years, writes Elisa Bray

Comeback flops

They came, they sang, they conquered the charts, spat the dummy and then scuttled off into obscurity. Only to return with a vengeance - whether we liked it or not.

Cultural life: Geri Halliwell, Singer

Books

I recommend 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak. It's a story set in Nazi Germany, narrated by Death, about a little girl, Liesel, who's lost her family and begins stealing books. She finds comfort in words, even ones she's too young to understand. Liesel is also hiding a Jew in the cellar, and her innocence amid such danger creates a lot of tension. Trust me – read this book!

Dr Feelgood: Can highlights work on dark hair?

Your weekly health and beauty check-up

Last Night's TV: Gok's Fashion Fix, Channel 4<br />Scrubs, E4<br />Grey's anatomy, Five<br />Heroes, BBC2

Naturally, I get a lot of enquiries from members of the public eager, having seen the above photo, for my style advice. To save you the trouble of asking, this season's big look is: lots of hair! Corduroy suits! And glasses! Just like last season, in fact, and several seasons before that. Because style never goes out of fashion. Still, for those who can't carry off the corduroy look, there's always programmes such as Gok's Fashion Fix, in which Gok Wan offers fashion advice to the nation. He is assisted in this by Alexa Chung, who, I am assured by my friendly neighbourhood teenagers, is cool to a world-historic degree – so cool, in fact, that in dating the lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys, she is actually slumming it a bit. But it's undoubtedly Gok who is the main attraction here, partly because of his encouraging manner – where Trinny and Susannah would offer a sharp intake of breath, he's more likely to give a joyous shriek of "Girlfriend!" – but more because he is one of those few blessed or cursed beings who swim through television as naturally as an otter through a stream, never seeming as if he is consciously performing. In this, he is the natural heir to, say, Davina McCall and Robert Robinson (whose ability to stand utterly unfazed in front of a camera is the subject of some grousing in his memoirs). To be fair, I can't imagine Mr Robinson ever congratulating Geri Halliwell on purchasing a pair of gold shorts from River Island for a mere nine quid with the words "Girlfriend, that's a Gok high-five", and not only because his name isn't Gok.

Publishing: They can sign an autograph, but can they actually write?

Geri and Coleen have joined the ranks of celebrity children's authors

Kill Your Friends, by John Niven

Most accounts of the late-1990s music scene (John Harris's The Last Party, Emma Forrest's Namedropper) have concentrated on the success, the familiar tale of how Blur and Oasis moved from the NME to News at Ten. But Kill Your Friends, John Niven's hysterical debut novel about a year in the life of A&R man Steven Stelfox, gets much comic mileage out of the false predictions, failed hypes and firework careers of the bands that don't make it to household name status. Each chapter begins with a music industry misstep (Alan McGee boasting that by the second or third album, 3 Colours Red will be selling five million), and throughout the book he has Stelfox out of step with public and critical taste (he's convinced, for example, that "Paranoid Android" will end Radiohead's career and that Be Here Now is Oasis's masterpiece.)

'Heat' editor quits as circulation falls

With celebrity magazines continuing to fall sharply in popularity, Mark Frith, editor-in-chief of the weekly Heat, is resigning. It was reported that he is leaving to write a book.

Deborah Orr: Privates on parade

THESE DAYS, all sensible public figures want to keep their private lives private. But the royals are compelled to make a far more generous dispensation. Royal births, deaths and marriages are our business as well as theirs. It is by these crude mechanisms that our heads of state are selected. But how vulgarly in step with only the crassest aspects of the modern sensibility such metaphorical display of the bloodied sheets really is.

The Year of Celebrity: Has fame become too expensive?

Consensus over the "spirit" of a decade usually hardens unbidden aboutthree-quarters of the way through it. No such simple characterisation ever emerged for the Nineties, even though the election of a Labour government in 1997 was briefly heralded as some kind of vindication of optimistic predictions back in 1989 that this would be the "caring" decade.
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?