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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Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
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Apparently McDonald’s has trouble making sausage and eggs at the same time as burgers and chicken
newsNo Was fast food chain was aiming for the munchies market?
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Kevin Spacey and artistic director Matthew Warchus at the Old Vic party to honour Spacey
theatreStar's successor at Old Vic theatre admits he's 'allergic to hype'
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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 17 April 2015
Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders