There But For The, By Ali Smith

There is usually a moment in an Ali Smith story when I ask myself "where can this strangest of beginnings lead?" and another moment when I think "why is half of this chapter written in parenthesis?"

Boxing: DeGale the 'golden boy' predicts easy win over Groves

James DeGale endured a difficult start to life as a professional but has won the critics over en route to collecting the British super-middleweight title and he predicts tonight's meeting with his old rival George Groves will be "an easy night's work" at London's O2.

Nationwide attacked for branch closures

Nationwide has come under fire for its decision to close all seven of its branches in south-east London. Britain's biggest building society will close branches in Blackheath, Greenwich, Woolwich, Lewisham, Catford, Peckham and Elephant & Castle by the end of May.

Simon Read: Leaving customers in the lurch should not be the mutual way

Closing branches and leaving customers in the lurch is what we expect from our profit-hungry banks. So hearing that some 670,000 people in south-east London will lose all seven branches of a financial institution in the next two months, it sounds like business as usual. Until you discover that the firm pulling out of the area is the UK's biggest building society.

The World That Never Was, By Alex Butterworth

Famously exemplified by Martial Bourdin, whose fatally botched attempt to blow up Greenwich Observatory in 1894 inspired Conrad's The Secret Agent, the final years of the 19th century gave birth to the cartoon anarchist carrying a fizzing bomb.

Berlin Philharmonic / Rattle, Barbican / Southbank, London<br/>Troy Boy, Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London

A much-hyped musical visit lives up to expectations, and an operatic star is born

Leading article: Let there be summertime all year

Almost unheralded, the question of daylight saving is back on to the agenda – and a very good thing that is, too. A Private Member's Bill, which yesterday passed its second reading, would require the Government to open an inquiry into the benefits of keeping British Summer Time throughout the year.

Eugene Mirman, Greenwich Comedy Festival, London

There's no denying that he makes an affable host, but it's a pity that the comedic value of this full-framed American performer is so slight.

Shappi Khorsandi, Greenwich Comedy Festival, London

"The great thing about playing this festival is that there's music to fill any awkward silences," says Shappi Khorsandi of the jazz pleasantly leaking from an adjacent tented venue. Khorsandi, however, is not one for leaving silences; she's ever effervescent and with all the more reason to be these days, thanks to a growing audience, in part swelled by TV appearances that range from Friday Night with Jonathan Ross to Question Time.

John Cooper Clarke, Greenwich Comedy Festival, London

Before his gig I see John Cooper Clarke led across the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College, where the Greenwich Comedy Festival is situated, towards his venue, and I am reminded of the comical stick figure he cuts with his pipe-cleaner legs and his wire-brush hair. Had L S Lowry lived beyond 1976, the year Cooper Clarke's poetry was starting to be used to support numerous seminal punk bands, and had he continued to paint scenes of life in Salford, from whence Cooper Clarke hails, you couldn't think of a better subject for him.

Picturing the night sky

This eerie image of an ancient bristlecone pine set against the backdrop of the Milky Way while a meteor streaked across the night sky has won the National Maritime Museum's annual astronomy photographic competition.

Mental patient 'killed flatmate in axe attack'

A mental patient killed his flatmate in a "frenzied" axe attack days after leaving hospital, a court heard today.

Archaeologists dig up 200-year-old skeleton of London's Moby Dick

Remarkable discoveries on the River Thames foreshore at Greenwich indicate that London was the final resting place, some two centuries ago, of a giant whale the size of the legendary Moby Dick.

Five injured in knife fight

Five young men suffered multiple stab wounds today in an apparent knife fight.

Nelson decoration to be auctioned

Lord Nelson's Breast Star of the Order of the Bath is to go on sale at Sothebys next month with an estimate of £300,000.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Career Services

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Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
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Bruges
India & Nepal
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Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker