Voices

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.

Ready to Wear: Some people are natural fashion plates – but the rest of us are not

Victoria Beckham was once rarely seen without a baseball cap jammed on

Figleaves underwear advert sparks complaints

A poster advert for a lingerie company featuring a woman in bra, knickers, stockings and stiletto shoes has prompted complaints it was "offensive" and unsuitable for display where it might be seen by children.

Independent Bath Literature Festival: The book has a future – but what will it look like?

Authors ask what happens next for publishing as figures reveal print sales are down 18 per cent

Police break alleged $300m smuggling ring

Police in the US claim to have broken one of the country's largest counterfeit goods rings, believed to have smuggled items worth more than $300m (£190m) into the country, mainly from China.

Alice Jones: Engelbert Humperdinck - Cheesy, populist and with a hint of the ridiculous – the ideal Eurosceptic

Engelbert Humperdinck. Of course. With a name like that, he was born to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest. Or he would be if he hadn't been born the rather less mellifluous Arnold Dorsey. In any case, the generously sideburned crooner, who last had a hit 42 years ago, has been chosen to represent Le Royaume-Uni at the annual extravaganza of poor taste and point-scoring. And the 75-year-old, best known for executing an unlikely chart coup when his soupy "Release Me" denied The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" the No 1 spot, will do so with a song written by the man behind James Blunt's wet-blanket anthem "You're Beautiful". This is ignominy indeed.

Steven Stapleton performs his Sleep Concert this month in Newcastle

Steven Stapleton's Sleep Concert is the stuff of dreams

Would you want to go to a bed-and-breakfast concert? A ticket to the UK premiere of Steven Stapleton's 12-hour Sleep Concert at Newcastle's AV Festival, includes a single bed, a blanket, a nightlight and a bacon or egg roll and coffee in the morning – all for £25. Stapleton performs his dark ambient music live from his laptop throughout the night, manipulating his own Nurse with Wounds records, to induce sleep and dreams.

Last night's viewing - Horizon: The Truth About Exercise, BBC2; Timothy Spall: All at Sea, BBC4

"I have two doctors," the historian G M Trevelyan once said, "My left leg and my right." They seem to have served him well because he lived to 86, not bad for someone who was born when Disraeli was prime minister. And if Horizon: The Truth About Exercise was to be believed, more of us should be signing up with the Trevelyan practice. Amid the blizzard of acronyms that featured in this account of recent research into exercise was NEAT, which is short for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, pretty much everything you do that isn't sleeping or sitting in a chair. Eulogised by an excitable scientist who looked to be making a pitch for a show of his own, NEAT can make a change to your overall fitness without you really noticing.

Profits jump as Crew shrugs off slump

Crew Clothing, the private equity-backed fashion retailer, has bucked the downturn to grow its profits by more than a quarter.

Michelle Williams: Real fashion alert! It’s a peplum, after all, and the Louis Vuitton gown also has frayed edges. Love the mismatched bag

Oscars Trending: On the dread carpet

It used to be the night when looks could thrill. Not any more, says Susannah Frankel

Beneath the Aryan ideal: Childhood in the Third Reich

Trieste, By Dasa Drndic, trans. Ellen Elias-Bursac

This extraordinary work of fiction concludes with the narrator, Haya Tedeschi, reflecting on all she has compiled in eight long years of research and remembering. "I have arranged a multitude of lives, a pile of the past, into an inscrutable, incoherent series of occurrences... I have dug up all the graves of imagination and longing... I have rummaged through a stored series of certainties without finding a trace of logic." It is the inscrutable incoherence of this phenomenal trajectory of events, hurtling through the recapitulation of three generations of one family from the Second World War to the present, that endows the story with a unique drive and veracity.

How We Met: Paul Smith & David Millar

'It was a dream come true to whiz along with David in front, the crowds cheering'

Last Night's TV: The Perfect Suit/BBC4<br />Afghanistan: the Unknown Country/BBC2

Ah... the great and irremediable truths of life. Here's one. Fine tailoring is forgiving to the figure in a way that tight jeans are not. Or, as the designer Antony Price more tartly puts it, while a good suit can conceal your shortcomings "if you've got a terrible arse it will be a terrible arse covered in denim". It was Price who made the suits for Bryan Ferry and Duran Duran, rescuing the outfit from the rare and almost unprecedented slough of unfashionability into which it briefly dropped in the Seventies (when the Osmonds wore suits with lapels like the deck of an aircraft carrier), and you could even argue that he was a kind of tailoring John the Baptist, paving the way for Paul Smith, who followed him both in high-street history and also in Alastair Sooke's film The Perfect Suit. I would recommend a little splash of Paul Smith to anyone making a documentary about fashion, because he refreshes almost anything he touches, and he arrived just at the right time here, when the film was hitting that difficult point when you began to wonder whether it really needed to be an hour long.

Perfect finish: The best accessories and cosmetics for her and for him

From a Louis Vuitton fan to a pair of Paul Smith brogues, treat yourself to these stylish finishing touches...

Click on the image to launch our guide.

Listen without mother: Children still want to tune into youth radio

The BBC's decision to drop 1,000 hours of youth radio sounded like a death knell for the format.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future