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.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003