I spent the first half of this summer only too pleased at the clouds, downpours and lingering chill in the air. I wanted the skies to reflect my mood, and if I wasn't feeling sunny or blithe, I was damned if anyone else should be.

Naughty, naughty Fay!

Marvel at her manicure! See how she shops! Fay Weldon, Old Feminist Icon, has become an account-card-carrying member of the Harvey Nichols tendency; The Deborah Ross Interview

The Human Condition: Do you love me because I'm beautiful?

Or would you love me more if I feigned ignorance of my own attractions? Hettie Judah asks why women's sexual confidence is such a turn-off

Football: If we lose now blame it on my denim jacket

At Large In France

Oh, we creative types talk such sense

Craig Charles shouting a poem while heading a ball was truly a genuine cultural experience

Football: England the model footballers

THE ENGLAND squad and Football Association officials model their Paul Smith designed World Cup outfits before leaving for France. The players are believed to have favoured the dark blue version of the suit, Glenn Hoddle made the final selection, opting for the lightweight beige fabric with a blue shirt and pale Italian silk tie. The team will sport specially designed cufflinks bearing the England crest. For relaxation, Smith has designed a casual outfit.

RAC ex-members try carpetbagging

MORE than 500 former members of the Royal Automobile Club have tried to rejoin since it announced the sale of its roadside rescue service. Full members will get a payout of about pounds 30,000 when the sale goes ahead later this year to the US company Cendant.

Letter: Guitar goddesses?

Guitar goddesses?



Pass me my busby, and I'll feel a new man

NAKED WE come into the world, and naked we go out; but the bit in between is a trouble, and growing worse. The other day I went to one of those parties where they have cocaine. Doesn't do anything for me, cocaine. Never did. Makes the inside of the nose go numb, but I've never been troubled by the inside of my nose. The odd blow, an occasional reaming with my Roto-Noso Gentleman's Grooming Device ("You Cannot Complete Your Toilet Without It") and, hey presto!, nosey's ticketty-boo. If I had spent years wandering about, wincing and muttering, "Dear God, if only I could find something to numb the inside of my nose", I might have fallen upon cocaine with avidity and relief, but, as it is ... nothing.

fashion: short story

Paul Smith, Katharine Hamnett, Burro and Helmut Lang are in agreement. This summer, trousers are short; if you don't want to catch a chill around your nether regions, you, too, might have to board a plane for Cuba, as did stylist James Sleaford and photographer Jeremy Maher

Feedback: Flash in fashion

After reading your article "Hi-tech is becoming fashionable" (17 February), I was pleased to see so much coverage for the fashion industry's romance with the Internet. I have visited both the Red or Dead and Paul Smith sites and agree that they are excellent.

Sultans of style and Cityslickers

Are British designers coming down to earth? No - but at least they are aiming at fun-loving career women, reports Belinda Morris

Godparenthood that rests on fame, not faith

FORGET the dictionary definition of godparent as "religious trainer". If the prospective one is famous, well-connected or royal, old-fashioned concepts of integrity and spiritual guidance go right out of the window. A famous godparent, or even a godparent married to someone famous is the accoutrement desired by every aspirational parent for their sprog.

Fast Track: Suits and blazers cut by lasers

What do you do if after your first week in an impressive City job you realise your off-the-peg suit doesn't quite come up to scratch? Holly Davies visits Savile Row for a surprisingly affordable answer

Hi-tech is becoming fashionable

The fashion industry has been slow to join the information revolution. But now designers like Wayne Hemingway and Paul Smith are leading the way into cyberspace. Andy Zneimer reports.
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Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

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Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

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Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

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The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
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Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

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Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions