Voices

If you pay £6 to go to Prague on RyanAir, what do you expect?

Vickers seeks pounds 100m from medical sale

Vickers, the Challenger tanks to Rolls-Royce cars group, hopes to raise pounds 100m from the sale of its loss-making medical equipment businesses.

Prairie populist becomes leader of the opposition

Preston Manning becomes the leader of Canada's official opposition today, with his Reform Party taking an extra six seats to push ahead of the weakened Bloc Quebecois.

No, minister ... that's not how we do things here

Fran Abrams and Christian Wolmar find Whitehall trying to adapt to the wind of change

Election '97: Sir Denis ventures opinion on Major

Sir Denis Thatcher, husband of Baroness Thatcher, has delivered a characteristically blunt and embarrassing reply to a question about John Major's chances of winning the election. His one word response was: "nil", followed by a chuckle.

Win a trip to the Bafta awards

The creative worlds of television and film have become more and more business-like in their approach, as budgets have been squeezed and potential box office profits have been the deciding factor as to whether a project ever sees the light of day. Reflecting this trend, The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has joined forces with Expotel.

Bowl the ladies over

THE COLLECTOR COLLECTOR by Tibor Fischer Secker pounds 12.99

Time and negligence take their inevitable toll

For most of my adult life the benches on the Tory side of the House have been much better populated than those on the other side. Sometimes it has seemed as though they simply bred more, reproducing themselves election after election with a creepy fecundity.

Bruce's price is right

With the hedonistic Hollywood producer Don Simpson dead after a lifetime of drugs, sex, and more drugs, it was thought that Hollywood might finally consider taming its excesses. That doesn't mean that the town has to be ruthless in its frugality, mind. Who's going to be bothered about the occasional fleet of limousines or slap-up lunch? Or, for that matter, the odd pounds 24m cheque doled out to a stocky, balding middle-aged man with a paunch?

Edinburgh Festival: So who are the jokers in the pack?

Stand up and be counted: Mark Wareham checks out the talent at this year's comedy contests

Labour split on pay rise vote

Tony Blair's insistence on voting against massive salary rises for MPs and ministers has split his Shadow Cabinet into warring factions on pay and perks. The Labour leader has ordered a free vote on the issue for backbenchers and the 20 MPs who make up the Opposition Front Bench. But Gordon Brown, the Shadow Chancellor, and his three junior Treasury spokesmen will follow Mr Blair into the Government lobbies in the crucial Commons vote on Wednesday.

Burt Bacharach Royal Festival Hall, London

As comforting as shepherd's pie, Burt Bacharach's music is in the limousine class when it comes to easy-listening. It was appropriate that his two shows on Friday and Saturday were bedded in the strings and brass of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, who played with cool professionalism. The imported American rhythm section sounded a bit bright and noisy for some of the tunes, a disco-fied beat taking over here and there, and one might have wished for the soft swish of brushes on snares and a resinous upright bass. But this is how Burt must like his music to sound. He was regally in control of the proceedings, a wiry, silver-haired whippet of a man, picking up a beat from the piano or motioning the opposing forces of the orchestra into action with a seemingly combative conducting style. He is a showman who likes to be involved. When he sang, which was surprisingly often given that his voice is the kind of mossy croak that most composers seem to have been born with, he manhandled some of Hal David's most prized lyrics. It didn't matter, because it was an enjoyable idiosyncrasy in an otherwise blandly charming performance.

Echoes of OJ as judge lets footballer go free

There were shades of the OJ Simpson trial: a millionaire black American football player on trial for murdering his cousin.

Lie of the land

It may seem odd, but a lot of his friends and acquaintances are very upset that Paul Challis is not dying of cancer. Many of them (fans, probably, of all those movies that feature doomed lovers, with titles like No Time to Love, A Season in the Sun and Going, Going, Gone) had contributed to his pounds 4,000 wedding, the limousine, the champagne and expensive presents.

How to put a lid on a coffin's cost

Funerals can be expensive, but there are economical options.
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam