Arts and Entertainment

One minute he was a humble punter trying to peek up Debbie Harry's skirt at a Hammersmith Odeon gig, the next he was the owner of the venue which was to steal the Odeon's crown. If Simon Parkes' autobiography – full of raucous tales and Geezer-speak – is ever made into a film, it will be fun trying to find an actor who can do him justice. When he wants to sound hard, he can sometimes come across like Ray Winstone. But would Ray Winstone ever have banked at Coutts?

Young Londoner raises $1m from Innocent smoothie founders and Skype investors to launch education app

Burgess founded Education Apps while he was a student at a prestigious London school aged 17

French schools battle boycott after hoax text messages warn of 'masturbation classes'

Almost half the pupils from some French primary schools were absent from class after the text messages were sent

Head of St Mary’s, Mike Kennedy, aims for ‘all-comers’

Top Merseyside private school St Mary’s College signs up to state sector

The elite Catholic college, launchpad to many illustrious alumni, will be open to all-comers

As many as 100 independent schools could join the state sector within a decade as free schools or academies

15 changed over so far, but many more could follow, says Lord Adonis

Stephen McGann, who plays Dr Turner in 'Don't Call the Midwife', has said the acting profession is excluding working class children

Call The Midwife's Stephen McGann: Council estate kids now excluded from acting careers

The actor said the profession is becoming so limited that a 'messy kid from a council estate' like himself would no longer be able to forge a career

Has austerity reached new depths? Tatler magazine publishes guide to UK's best state schools

High society mag explains that private education is becoming too expensive even for its red-trousered readership

Tom Hodgkinson: 'I never learnt to 'ollie', but my son sure as hell will'

It's often said that those who have failed in adult life look to their children to succeed. They become pushy parents and live vicariously through their children's achievements. This is now happening to me. But I'm not hoping that my children will become lawyers or doctors or hedge-fund managers. I'm hoping that they'll be good at skateboarding.

Album of the week: Nick Lowe, 'Quality Street' (Proper)

Warmth and wit light up this festive box of delights 

Will Prince Charles, the 'Defender of Faiths', stand up for Christians in Israel?

In parts of the Middle East the West appears powerless to help beleaguered Christians

Atlanta student Sam McNair is suspended for a year for 'hugging' teacher

The 17-year-old senior at Duluth High School has been suspended for violating school rules on sexual harassment

One in three parents of five to 16-year-olds admitted to moving house to get into an area which they thought had better schools

Well off parents resorting to 'ethically dubious' practices to get their children into good school

Better off parents are resorting to “ethically dubious” and “possibly illegal” practices to get their children into a good school, according to research published today.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: A straight answer from Boris? You might as well ask Jeeves

Having improbably suggested that he might turn to writing romantic fiction after stepping down as Mayor of London, rather than something more humdrum like becoming leader of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson was asked to cite a model. Cleverly, he mentioned Rosie M Banks, who was herself a fictional character (of PG Wodehouse’s). This is a prototypical Boris answer, underlining the riskiness of taking him at face value. Did “No, I will not be an MP in 2015,” really mean no? Or could he yet still be dragged unwillingly to a safe seat?

Nathan B. Forrest High School named after Ku Klux Klan leader will be renamed

Duval County Public School Board voted unanimously to replace the name on Monday evening at a school where over half of the pupils are black

Jack Whitehall and Gemma Chan attend the British Comedy Awards

British Comedy Awards 2013 winners: List in full

Jack Whitehall was crowned King of Comedy at the ceremony in London

'Oxbridge doesn't have enough black students,' says American civil rights legend Jesse Jackson

21 Oxbridge colleges failed to admit even one black student in the last year

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L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
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Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
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Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
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Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

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Who does your club need in the transfer window?

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Michael Calvin's Last Word

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