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Manchester’s Chorlton along with Herne Hill, Muswell Hill and Dagenham in London are some of the worst afflicted areas while Mossley Hill and Waterloo in Liverpool also feature prominently

The day that Virgin was thunderstruck

Great Railway Fiascos No2

Historical Notes: A long, long way from a cappuccino

BETWEEN 1858 and 1876 George Eliot wrote seven novels recreating the English countryside for an increasingly suburban constituency. Hot and dusty readers in Edgware, Clifton and Edgbaston plunged into Adam Bede and Silas Marner as if taking a deep walk into a cool, fresh forest they had heard about from their grandparents. People who rode the smutty train to work, or spent the day listless in a villa, immersed themselves each evening in Eliot's landscape of pleasant fields and farm cottages.

Property: North London's Edwardian values

Hot Spot Bounds Green

Accidental Heroes of the 20th Century: 2: Peter Cook, Comic Actor

HARRY THOMPSON'S magisterial biography of Peter Cook runs for 500 pages. Cook's version of the story - produced at the suggestion of a publisher in 1993 - was a few sheets of writing-paper covered in rough scribble. "I thought we might flesh it out with a few photographs," suggested Cook typically.

A case of censorship and the modern sensibility

A love of suppression is no longer the preserve of bullying politicians and `Daily Mail' columnists

Review: Nostalgia is never enough

Ray Davies, The Storyteller; Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Property: The tortoise or the hare - which way to the best home?

Buy in haste, repent - and repair - at leisure. But what's a buyer to do? If you take your time, you risk being repeatedly pipped to the post by cash-in-hand speed freaks. If you join the free-for-all, you make the most important purchase of your life in a state of hysteria. Robert Liebman tries to find a viable point in-between.

How the elements struck twice

In 1994, three men armed with baseball bats and chains smashed their way into a house in Selsey, West Sussex, then fled without taking anything - but not before explaining to the frightened residents that they had broken into the wrong house. That is the sort of exciting place Selsey is.

Just imagine, the earl and the loofah. It's all terribly surreal

It's hard to say whether the Earl Spencer divorce case is working out as comedy or tragedy, but it's certainly packing in a lot of amusement value. You could hear a collective gasp of outrage across the metropolis when the papers reported the view of "expert witness" Jeremy Posnansky that, for a settlement of pounds 300,000, Lady Spencer would be able to afford only "a house in a very unattractive distant suburb with problems such as crime". Everybody who recently paid pounds 300,000 for a Charming, Four-Bedroomed, South-Facing, Crime-Free Home, Handy for Shops and Underground Station could be heard demanding, "Oi! What's wrong with Shepherd's Bush/Clapham Common/ Muswell Hill then?"

Health: Meningitis victim loses claim over spinal deformity

A 32-year-old meningitis victim left with a "gross" spinal deformity yesterday lost a long legal battle for damages for alleged medical negligence.

Tennis: Summer of two seasons

Split personalities of British tennis went on show last week.

Performance: Stanshall rides again

Cyberschwartze ICA, London

Ray Davies Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Ray Davies made his audience wait one and a half hours before finally allowing us to hear the opening riff from "You Really Got Me", played as it was meant to be, on an electric guitar. Not that anybody minded: we knew it would come in the end. Several times he teased us with those great chopping chords banged out on an acoustic guitar at the beginning of a completely different song, or in the middle of a story about the Kinks' original eight-watt amplifier. But Ray and his "band" (one musician, called Pete) remained strictly unplugged for the first 90 minutes of his show. Arriving on stage, carrying, for unknown reasons, a battered suitcase, Ray Davies launched straight into "Victoria", a song not about the great British railway station but about the great British queen. Who should never be confused, of course, with "straight" Kinks drummer Mick Avory. Poor Mick, Ray informed us with a lewd grin, unwittingly won the affections of Brian Epstein in those heady days of 1964.

Haringey owns up to pounds 50m debt

Haringey council in north London has admitted liability for the biggest debt of any local authority in the country - losses of almost pounds 50m from running and redeveloping Alexandra Palace.
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Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada