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?

Gentlemen, Gypsies and Jesters, by Anthony Gibson and Stephen Chalke

It is a constant lament that league cricket has taken a lot of the fun out of the amateur game, but this sparkling history of wandering sides, stuffed with good anecdotes, indicates that there are still many who enjoy playing friendly matches in the right spirit and with a smile on their faces. No fewer than 114 clubs are featured, many still going strong, some less so, starting with the most historic of all, I Zingari (The Gypsies), founded in 1845.

Review: Almost English, By Charlotte Mendelson

An insightful outsider's view of English public school? Well, almost

Keeping up with the Joneses (sort of)

In the long summer days Eleanor Doughty has discovered a new way to pass the time. Just don't tell the neighbours

Mumford & Sons perform at Glastonbury 2013

Slumford & Sons: Mumfords complain they are 'picked on' for being posh

Mumford & Sons have complained that they are fed up with being "picked on" for being posh.

More than one in four parents plan to hire tutors during the summer holidays, according to an organisation that offers online maths tutorials

Parents turn to private tutors during holidays to stop 'summer slide'

More than one in four parents plan to hire tutors during the summer holidays, according to an organisation that offers online maths tutorials.

POSH:
One of the highest grossing shows in the Royal Court's history, Laura Wade's hit is now at the West End's Duke of York's Theatre. It features the elite Oxford student dining society, the Riot Club. The fictional body echoes the Bullingdon Club of Cameron, Osborne, and Boris Johnson fame.

Rich pupils get the best university places

Just 0.1 per cent of students on free school meals win places at Oxbridge, according to DfE figures

Lily Chamberlain: 'Teachers made no effort to combat the problem'

Children become more insecure, unhappy and isolated during recession, warns report

One in 10 youngsters in Britain has a low sense of well-being,  says Children’s Society

Hugh Robertson: 'No other home nation has ever increased the number of people participating'

Exclusive interview with Hugh Robertson on Olympics legacy: Minister ‘delighted’– but facilities are still closing

‘No other host nation has ever increased the number of people participating’

One to watch: Atalanta Arden-Miller, painter, 17

One to watch: Atalanta Arden-Miller, painter, 17

Is this the new Lucian Freud?

Only half the current crop of county cricketers come from a state school background

Exclusive: Only half of county cricketers come from UK state schools

Ratio likely to be even less than that for England's opening team in Ashes series on Wednesday

High spirits: Anna Chancellor and Toby Stephens in 'Private Lives' now running at the Gielgud Theatre
Standing up for a woman's right to choose: Wendy Davis in action this week

Senator Wendy Davis putting the time in with 11 hour filibuster to stop anti-abortion bill

In a feat of stunning oration, the Democrat spoke for half a day to stop an anti-abortion bill being passed in Texas. Just who is this loquacious heroine?

Having a flannel cap to hand was essential for early players

Play up and play the game, chaps... and push over anyone in the way: Sheffield school teams prepare to play football according to the 1858 rules

The match is taking place at Hallam FC’s Sandygate Road ground – reputed to be the oldest in the world – to celebrate its history in the local community

Turnbull: ‘a fantastic interviewer – incisive, witty and warm’

Mark Turnbull: BBC journalist who refused to let his blindness curb a glittering career

Turnbull’s meeting with Frank Sinatra at the Savoy Hotel ended up in a late-night jamming session

Ofsted's chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw

Ofsted chief says private schools are 'marooned on an island of privilege'

Sir Michael Wilshaw tells parents and teachers that schools must to more to help the less fortunate

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Independent Travel
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
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there