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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Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'