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.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Career Services

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
South Africa
Spain
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?