Terence Blacker: Detritus fit for a society of hypocrites

Anyone looking for a handy all-purpose metaphor for the mood of Britain in the early 21st century has only to look around them. It will be there in the plastic sandwich-container on a train seat, in the swirl of fast-food wrapping and discarded newspapers on the pavement, in the empty beer cans and plastic bags that lie beside roads and in lay-bys across the country.

Blaze shuts key London station

One of London's busiest railways stations was closed and 2,000 commuters evacuated after a fire broke out.

Hobby bobbies: On the beat with the Special Constables

Regular coppers call them 'hobby bobbies'. But what is life really like for Britain's 14,000 Special Constables? Nick Duerden dons his helmet to sample life on the beat

Bookies slash odds on coldest-ever January

Freezing weather looks set to grip Britain for at least another week, forecasters said yesterday as road and rail networks struggled to function.

Now National Express loses East Anglia rail franchise

Struggling transport group National Express is to be stripped of its East Anglia rail franchise three years early, the Government said today.

Survivors gather to pay tribute to 'British Schindler'

Nicholas Winton rescued 669 children from the Nazis. Yesterday 22 of them returned to Prague to thank him

Managers vote to join rail strikes

A leading rail firm faced the threat of widespread disruption today when managers voted to join other workers in going on strike in a worsening row over pay and conditions.

Tears and tributes for King of Pop

Floral displays, dimmed theatre lights, a mass moonwalk and Sir Elton John singing "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" to celebrity house guests – it was an eccentrically British response to the news.

Picturing Britain: Street View, Radio 4

Take a photo, get yourself arrested

Tracey Emin: 'You have to watch out for death when you are most happy'

Something very sweet happened today: my mum made pancakes for me and everyone at my studio. My mum will be 81 soon and to see her with a bowl and fork in hand whisking away, with the eager eyes of my Japanese assistant following her every move, and then the tossing – it all worked very well. And the no-recipe formula, the all-knowing "I've-been-making-pancakes-for-70-years" attitude filled me with a strange, glowing pride for my mum, a real mum doing a real mum thing.

Secretary faces jail for stiletto attack

A secretary was facing jail today for kicking a train passenger in the face with her stiletto heel after he told her boyfriend to take his feet off a first class seat.

Agency offers career in teaching to sacked bankers

Thousands of bankers and finance staff who have lost their jobs as a result of the crash of Lehman Brothers are being wooed to become teachers.

Warm weather is forecast for May bank holiday

Sunny spells over the bank holiday weekend are expected to bring gridlock and train travel misery to millions of Britons.

Record £14m fine for Network Rail

Rail infrastructure company Network Rail (NR) was today fined a record £14m following serious engineering work overruns over the New Year.

Richard Ingrams' Week: 'Tis the season to take the train if you can find one

For many years, the government of the day would spend thousands of pounds every Christmas on TV commercials warning of the dangers of drink-driving. And, as the years passed, the images got more and more graphic and disturbing.

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Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album