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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John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
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Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'