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.
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste