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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Independent Travel
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas