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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Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
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By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

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Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
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Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

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Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
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Independent Travel
Grandvalira Skiing, Andorra
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Prices correct as of 31 October 2014
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes