Voices

We landed at Heathrow from Hong Kong at the very anti-social time of 4.30am. I'd been scouring the online news for anywhere in the UK that was still above water. Our best bet was probably to swim to Windsor, and then try to get a boat down through the old land areas of Reading and Swindon then hope to beach somewhere in the mid-Cotswolds. Once there, we would have a chance of finding a friendly local tribe to give us safe passage back to our valley. But who might be running the valley now? While we'd been away in Asia the great waters had come, and old social orders had been reversed.

Love it or hate it, 2013 will be remembered as the year of the selfie.

Year of the Selfie: The birth – and death – of 2013’s biggest star trend

From Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian to President Obama and Pope Francis, everyone has been getting in on the narcissistic portrait action

Dolly Parton has been strongly tipped for Glastonbury 2014

Glastonbury 2014: Dolly Parton rumoured as the second headliner

Arcade Fire and Lily Allen have already been confirmed as performers

Quiz: How much do you know about Christmas number ones?

Sam Bailey has been crowned the winner of X Factor 2013, but ever since Rage Against the Machine raged against the Cowell machine (in terms of Christmas sales), it’s not the guaranteed number one spot it was only a few years ago.

Making a statement: Lily Allen's song 'Hard Out Here' takes on the stereotypical sexism of music videos, despite the scantily dressed dancers

Lily Allen defends music video after use of black twerking dancers deemed racist

The singer said she did not choose backing dancers because of their race

Lily Allen, singer

Reaction: Is Lily Allen's video a feminist anthem?

Just as pop music seemed like it couldn't get any more exhaustively booty-licious, with Miley Cyrus gyrating in front of a dwarf dancer at the MTV awards, and the twerk pretty much hoovering up all the attention around on female bodies and their role in the music industry, along comes a new song and video from Lily Allen to shunt things in another direction.

The Hare brings a gift to introduce his friend the Bear to Christmas

First View: John Lewis Christmas commercial - 'The Bear and The Hare'

'Biggest advertising event of the year' makes debut in X Factor break on Saturday

After a weird week – that’s a wrap

It’s been the final week of filming for Fool Britannia (part deux) and I can’t remember having had a stranger one for a long time.

A blagger's guide to... Game of Thrones

A handy reminder of who's who ahead of the third series

Mitch Winehouse wears a tribute to late daughter, Amy Winehouse, at the Brit Awards 2013

Amy Winehouse's father attends Brit Awards 2013 with picture of her on his back

The father of late singer Amy Winehouse kept her memory alive tonight by arriving at the Brit Awards wearing a waistcoat with her face on the back.

A gadget to suck food out of your stomach, and 5 other lazy weight loss strategies

Wouldn't January be easier if, instead of cutting out unhealthy food and jogging, dieters could employ a gadget to suck away that Christmas fat? Well that's what Dean Kamen is thinking. Mr Kamen, inventor of the Segway, has applied to patent a pump that can suck food and drink straight out of the stomach, allowing users to eat to their heart's content - then drain everything away through a valve surgically installed into their abdominal wall. Innovative or what? Still, if that seems a little OTT (and the tool is designed for the morbidly obese), here are other ways to lose the flab without breaking too much sweat.

IoS pop preview of 2013: Time to round up the usual suspects

The next generation struggles to be heard as a tide of old-timers fill the giant venues. But there are a few laudable exceptions

Chief Keef

Poll: what was your favourite Twitter spat of 2012?

As Twitter releases a tranche of data looking at the trends and top tweets of the year, we've got an alternative list. What was your favourite spat?

Rumours that Cheryl Cole was being offered a lucrative deal with Sky to host her own show were denied by the channel

Chat show? Don't do it, Cheryl!

In 2010, Michael Parkinson sounded off about the state of the modern chat show. "The trouble with the talk show is everyone fancies their chances," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Even those on the extreme fringes of the ever-expanding world of modern celebrity reckon it's a doddle."

Calvin Harris and Florence Welch score second Number 1 with 'Sweet Nothing'

Calvin Harris and Florence Welch have secured their second collaborative number one single in three months as "Sweet Nothing" topped the official UK singles chart.

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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor