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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.

Sport on TV: Rohit teaches Ishwar a lesson in the school of hard knocks

After his outburst at referee Mike Riley in midweek, Radio Five Live described Ashley Cole as "divorced from reality" (as opposed to divorced from Cheryl). He is living up to the image of Premier League players as spoilt brats whose salaries somehow put them beyond the law as well as beyond the pale. It's a foul reflection of our culture. You can only hope that the kids watching don't copy him. It's just not cricket.

Album: The B-52's, Funplex (EMI)

Thanks in part to the growth of children's TV, fun has become a much more commodified notion than it was 30 years ago, when The B-52s released their classic debut single "Rock Lobster". It's a perfect, impregnable pop record: even Family Guy's fat oaf Peter couldn't tarnish its cheery lustre with an acoustic folk-song version in a recent episode.

Last Night's TV: This could prove to be a guilty pleasure

Honest, ITV1; How Pop Songs Work, BBC4

Sophie Heawood: Lily, I love the music, but you are no feminist

Last year, a friend of mine received Lily Allen's album as a birthday present from her dad. This father hadn't been around much in his daughter's life, but he'd heard that Alright, Still was the sort of CD that a girl might like for her 21st birthday.

Iraq war is a scar on this Government's record, says Loach

The firebrand film director Ken Loach turns 70 next month but proved age has done nothing to dim his political passion when he launched a blistering attack on the Government for the war in Iraq yesterday.

Inside Story: 24-hour paparazzi people

Ed Caesar spends a day at the Matrix photo agency charting the incoming pictures that will dominate the pages of Britain's gossip-hungry mags

Letter: `Insensitive' boys could be right

`Insensitive' boys could be right
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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain