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.

Deborah Ross: 'Toni Terry may well forgive John but then again she may well not,' said An Insider. Hey, can anyone have a guess?'

If you ask me, which you haven't done for a while now – where have you been? – it's about time we stopped taking "A Source" and "A Close Family Friend" quite so much for granted. These two work tirelessly across all the tabloids and celebrity gossip magazines and, without them, where on earth would we be? How would we keep up to speed on Madonna splitting up with her latest fella ("He felt he had nothing in common with her," said A Source) or how Peter feels about Jordan's re-marriage ("He hit the roof when he heard," said A Close Friend?). Where would we be? I mean, it's not like you can sit in an office and just invent this sort of thing between, say, marking up cellulite with big red arrows or putting a big black "X" on Lily Allen's outfit, is it? Don't you think these people have enough to do with their big red and black marker pens as it is? Don't you, even, think they need to get on with spotting Sarah from Girls Aloud eating a croissant outside a café in Primrose Hill?

Lily Allen to play Wireless festival with Jay-Z

Lily Allen looks set to enjoy one of the shortest retirements in pop after announcing a festival appearance - just four months after her "final" gig.

Richard Ingrams’s Week: Desperate Dave tries to avoid the dinosaurs

Is there such a thing as a gay dinosaur? I only ask because of a distinct lack of logic in some of the arguments being advanced by David Cameron in the hope of becoming the next prime minister.

Lisa Markwell: When girls dress like this, are they not just trying to be more like mum?

Materialism is one thing, wanting to appear sexually available quite another

Carola Long: Barbour jackets are having a revival thanks to the likes of Kings of Leon and Lily Allen

Although we're a nation obsessed with the weather, many of us Brits seemed surprisingly unprepared for the snow. I'm not talking lack of grit here, or a failure to stockpile Spam in case food supplies run low, but about being sartorially ill-equipped.

2020 vision: Lily Allen returns from obscurity to light up the longest-running music show in television history

I know, I know, you've hardly woken up after the King's Speech and you're still recovering from the Doctor Who Christmas Special (Florence Welch – the best doctor ever). But let's do a bit of time-travelling of our own, back across the past decade in the arts, way back to Copenhagen at the end of 2009. Remember the climate-change conference? If it yielded little else, at least it gave us David Hare's The Green Machine. His one-man, real-time, tour-de-force staging of the final 36 hours of the conference, playing 14 heads of state (with his quiff as his only prop), was performed once only, thank God, and has gone down in theatrical legend. Were you one of the seven people said to have stayed awake until the word-for-word recreation of the 4.30am treaty ratification? Bravo!

Lily Allen, Brixton 02 Academy, London

In thrall to this pop princess

Observations: Rosie Oddie follows in her father's musical footsteps

Prepare yourselves for the latest daughter of a familiar face trying her luck in the music world. Rosie Oddie, daughter of TV twitcher Bill, comes with a husky singing voice. Her first appearance came rather tentatively a couple of years back as Rosie Oddie and the Odd Squad. Her band has forged a denser, more complex sound than their previous ska-pop shtick. It better suits this former schoolmate of Peaches Geldof's gritty, rock'n'roll vocal, that nods more to Skunk Anansie than Lily Allen.

Helen Croydon: You won't get me back into flatties

All this heel bashing is a conspiracy against the feminine power a stiletto can yield

Clitheroe can wait: unknowns vie for Grammy

Jonathan Brown meets the unsigned band leaving the Burnley club scene to compete for glory in Los Angeles

Lily Allen wins libel damages

Lily Allen accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages today over a claim that she made offensive remarks about the Beckhams and Ashley and Cheryl Cole.

Lily Allen: It's artists who should control the distribution of their music

I want to make it clear that I'm not after a fight with the Featured Artists Coalition – I want us artists to stand together on this – but they've released a new statement which just doesn't make sense. The FAC seems to be viewing the Government's proposed legislation [on file-sharing] as an attack on freedom and liberty, but stealing's not really a human right, is it?

Bestival, Isle of Wight

Bestival closes festival season with a feast of song and dance

Frisky and Mannish's School of Pop, Underbelly, Edinburgh

Have you ever wondered what Chesney Hawkes mixed with Coldplay would sound like? Or who would win in a battle of the Kates (Nash and Bush)? Or how the Pussycat Dolls might have turned out if they'd met at the end of the pier rather than in the Viper Room?

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