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.

Album: Lily Allen, It's Not Me, It's You, (Parlophone)

Nudge-nudge, wink-wink: Lily gets serious

First Night: Lily Allen, Koko, Camden, London

Weapon of mass consumption proves she still has the edge

She's young enough to be your... girlfriend

Messrs Jopling, Weller and Robinson prove that when it comes to women, older men are not always wiser

Master Shortie - A Little Briton

After seven years building up his internet following Master Shortie has ambitions to be the UK's biggest rap star, says Matilda Egere-Cooper

My Style: Little Boots

Occupation: Singer
Age: 24
Personal style: Cosmic disco doll

Observations: Your time is up, Lily

So this week Lily Allen blamed the turmoil at her record company, EMI, for the delay in the release of her second album. "It has been finished for a while now," she wrote on her blog. "I don't really know what's going on with it." While an EMI spokesman assures me, "we're all now discussing the best date for the release of the album", perhaps they're not taken with Allen's new material, which includes a Madness-esque knees-up, "Guess who Batman?", with the chorus, "Fuck you/ Fuck you very, very much/ 'Cause we hate what you do/ And we hate your whole crew/ So please don't stay in touch." And they're probably not overly keen on all the negative coverage of Allen's brattish behaviour: only this week she was spotted throwing punches outside Ronnie Scott's.

Pandora: Come and work for Labour – for nothing

The employment minister Pat McFadden recently fired off a missive to Labour members to celebrate 10 years of the minimum wage.

Editor-At-Large: Here's one way to reduce knife crime – look the other way

Thoughtful work done quietly at grassroots level will do more to help put wayward youths on track than screeching headlines

Chuck on the chintz

Bling and boho are so last year. The more innocent pleasures of country chic have taken hold among celebs from Lily Allen to Jennifer Connelly. By Rachel Shields

Maybe it's time to let men judge Orange Prize, chair of jury says

The chair of the jury of Britain's leading women's literary prize has called for a debate on whether men should be included on the judging panel to ensure a broader mix of tastes.

Headcases, ITV1<br/>The Wall, BBC3<br/>Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me, BBC4<br/>The Strange Luck of VS Naipaul, BBC4

Sometimes, TV is simply not worth the cable space: It's been a week of small-screen turmoil, and, to top it all, the BBC iPlayer is such a hit that the net's groaning under the strain

Album: Estelle, Shine (Atlantic/Home School)

A luminescent comeback for a stellar singer

Christina Patterson: Reality intrudes in the search for paradise

Five years ago, I ended a love affair with a nasty itch. The itch, it turned out, when I went to the doctor complaining that entire armies of creepy-crawlies were apparently trying to burrow through my skin (which now resembled a bloody battlefield) was scabies. Armies of creepy-crawlies were indeed, said the doctor, trying to burrow through my skin. But where had they come from? Had I, asked the doctor, been in close proximity to anyone, er, new? No, I had been living like a nun. But I had just been on holiday in Goa.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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