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God, it makes you feel old to think that Girls Aloud are now a thing of the past. We shall not look upon their like again. Sniff. But anyway, thinking about that former cultural phenomenon recently, I had a moment of nostalgia recalling the video for "I Can't Speak French", in which the Girls flounce around in very short, corsetted can-can skirts, with layers upon layers of net and frills and feathers in various shades of pink and pale lilac-y colours.

Cheryl Cole planning big birthday bash

Cheryl Cole is spending £20,000 on a lavish birthday party for herself.

Errors & Omissions: It's better safely to prepare a Japanese fugo fish than split an infinitive

Safe splits: A news story yesterday reported on a club that will offer London diners the celebrated Japanese poisonous fish: "The torafugu is one of the most toxic marine creatures. It is extremely difficult to safely prepare, and consequently among the priciest dishes on Japanese restaurant menus."

The real stars know when to call it a day

As Mike Skinner calls time on The Streets, Fiona Sturges says that Girls Aloud would do well to consider a similar coda

Girls Aloud won't officially end

Girls Aloud will never "officially break up".

Story of the Song: Hanging on the Telephone, Blondie (1978)

Stuck on punk's West Coast outpost, The Nerves' fame barely made it out of California. The trio recorded a solitary, self-titled EP in 1976 before breaking up.

Diary: Wahlberg's curtain call

Mark Wahlberg says he's never been much interested in treading the boards. "I've learned from Jeremy Piven," he says of his Entourage co-star, who was forced to abandon a Broadway run of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow in 2008, claiming excessive sushi consumption had given him mercury poisoning. Couldn't one just stay away from raw fish? "I played an Oompa Loompa in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory in fifth grade, and it was a lot of work," Wahlberg admitted at the premiere of his new film comedy, The Other Guys. "But if I ever did a play again, it would be A Streetcar Named Desire." In fact, Stanley Kowalski's not a bad fit – ladies, you remember how Marky Mark looks in a vest, right? In the meantime, Wahlberg and pals are hoping to make an Entourage film after the HBO dramedy's eighth and final series. The actor's early years in Hollywood were the inspiration for the show, which he still co-produces. "The plan is to make a movie," he maintains, "and we're doing everything in our power to make it happen."

Cheryl and Ashley Cole's marriage over in 80 seconds

The once fairytale four-year marriage of Cheryl and Ashley Cole ended today in the most mundane fashion.

She's worth it: Cheryl Cole adds more bounce to hairspray sales

Singer's big, backcombed style credited with sparking first rise in demand for 10 years

Pied Piper of Mischief leads the red tops on a merry dance

Chris Atkins tells Paul Bignell of his disciples' desire to continue planting fake stories

Doctors tell busy Cheryl Cole to rest

Cheryl Cole has pulled out of work commitments for the coming days on the advice of doctors, it was confirmed today.

Girls Aloud's Nadine to tackle fashion taboo

Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle said today she wanted to help "smash the taboo" that surrounded people who have to wear colostomy bags.

Cheryl Cole seeks 'quickie' divorce from Ashley

Cheryl Cole has filed for a "quickie" divorce from her footballer husband Ashley, sources close to the singer confirmed today.

Outside the Box: Legacy, legacy as World Cup team try to keep clear of the Germans

As the Football Association team delivered their 1,752-page bid book for the 2018 World Cup on Friday – hoping it would inspire Fifa bigwigs rather than put them to sleep – "legacy" was again a buzzword. While the England bid has been careful to emphasise its lasting benefits for football all over the world, as opposed to merely making the rich richer, the Premier League points out that one of the reasons Germany's Bundesliga has the largest crowds in Europe (as pointed out in Outside the Box last week) is that many stadia were rebuilt or upgraded for the 2006 World Cup, thanks to support from regional and national government. As attendances can fluctuate from season to season when, say, Newcastle are replaced by Burnley, the Premier League uses percentage occupancy as its criterion and claims by that measure to be ahead of the Germans. Clubs close to full houses all season included the top three plus Stoke, Spurs and West Ham. It was also good to know that Lord Nelson is posthumously supporting the bid (a scarf having being hung round the column in Trafalgar Square). Being one-eyed, he would have made an excellent football manager.

Rhiannon Harries: Health and fitness, fine. But what's with this modern-day obsession with perfect bodies?

What is the anti-smoking lobby going to do with David Hockney? There he was on last week's edition of The South Bank Show Revisited, in fine fettle at 72, sharp, energetic and talking extraordinary good sense. "I was sitting on a bench in Holland Park – watching the rabbits and the magpies," he recounted. "I lit up a cigarette and three great big girls go jogging by, see me smoking and wag their fingers at me. They think they're very healthy – they're totally obsessed with their own bodies and never saw the rabbits or magpies. They think they're healthy, but I think I'm healthier. That's my odd view of it."

Dom Joly: Small is beautiful, except when it's a car in LA

I'm in LA. I managed to take the last plane out of Europe before it was covered in metres of volcanic ash and everyone ran screaming into the sea. I've been watching Fox News, so I'm totally up on what's been happening. I can't believe that the Icelandic commies had this volcano power all the time and never declared it. Never trust an Eskimo. That's what Bill O'Reilly says anyway, and he's in a "no-spin" zone.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
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How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
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Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
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The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

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Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss