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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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us