Voices

Like many men, I am a lazy, good-for-nothing, selfish, forgetful, patronising, sex-obsessed bastard who drinks too much. Or so my wife points out. It's strange that I have ended up like this. I tried not to. I really did.

David Flatman: OK, no Grewcocks. But don't write off this relentless pack

Botha and Palmer make this a difficult team to beat, let alone smash
‘Rienzi’ was Hitler’s favourite opera

Opera to mark Hitler's birthday met with chorus of disapproval

Berlin opera house forced to reschedule Wagner work that inspired Nazi leader

Political giant: Fraga, seated, is applauded by his parliamentary colleagues in a tribute in 2008

Manuel Fraga: Politician who survived Spain's post-Franco transition to democracy

For more than 60 years, Manuel Fraga was a giant of Spanish politics who started out as a high-profile figure in the second period of Franco's regime and then made an opportunistic transformation in the post-Franco political arena.

Tom Hodgkinson: 'We took a TV home. I admit I am weak'

The television is back. Five years ago, in a fit of anti-capitalist pique, I unplugged this instrument of Beezlebub. I decided that I didn't want all its horrors flooding into the family home. I didn't want The X-Factor, CBeebies, Dick and Dom, the Ten O'Clock News or the dreary gloom of EastEnders. Mr Murdoch and his evil ways could stay out of my house for ever. Like Plato, I decided to banish the playwrights and their portrayal of negative character traits from my ideal Republic. My children would grow up unsullied by the false promises of consumerism. Instead, they'd learn useful skills, carpentry and violin.

Album: Various artists, East of Underground: Hell Below (Now Again)

More historical curiosity than essential listening, EOU gathers four acts (East of Underground, Soap, The Black Seeds, and the Sound Trek) made up of US draftees stationed in Germany as the Vietnam War fizzled to an end.

British voice behind a call to arms for Somalia's Islamic terrorists

Video reports of al-Shabaab battles with Somali forces feature jihadist with London accent

Turkey hits back over French bill

Turkey has retaliated against France after MPs there passed a bill to make it a crime to deny the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 by Ottoman Turks amounted to genocide.

Supreme Leader: Kim inspects his troops in Pyongyang

Kim Jong-Il: Leader of North Korea who deepened the cult of personality in his country following the death of his father

It is one measure of the cult of secrecy surrounding North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il that his demise was rumoured long before he actually died yesterday. One professor at Tokyo's prestigious Waseda University argued in a best-selling book that the "Dear Leader" had succumbed to diabetes in 2003 and had been replaced by several doubles. "Common sense cannot take the measure of North Korea's uniqueness," wrote Toshimitsu Shigemura in The True Character of Kim Jong-il.

Sir David Jack

Further to your obituary of Sir David Jack (9 December), Fifers are famous for dogged determination, writes Tam Dalyell.

Kermit: A mere glimpse of any (colour) portrait of the Muppets' leader proves he is a subversive 'green', committed to ending the oil industry - and Jeremy Clarkson's career

Red and green and watched all over: Fox accuses Kermit the communist

Programme host on Murdoch-owned news network accuses 'liberal Hollywood' of bias

Letters: The fuss over Gaddafi's killing is rank hypocrisy

The British media fuss over the manner of Gaddafi's death is hypocrisy of the rankest kind, tinged with racist colonial superiority. When the Americans chucked Bin Laden out of a plane into the sea, perhaps for fear his grave would become a martyr's shrine, they murdered an unarmed man, something they then lied about. But who could blame them? No one in the media, as I recall.

Xerxes, Britten Theatre, London The Fairy Queen, Britten Theatre, London Takács Quartet, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

English Touring Opera's dazzling romance, set during the Second World War, is sexy and stylish

Enough of prime ministers sipping in the sun

While we're on the subject of holidays, I have a novel idea. Pictures of politicians on holiday should be banned from publication. Whether they're in tabloids, broadsheets, magazines – hell, let's ban them from television too. OK, that may be a touch harsh. How about this: the pictures should be banned unless the specific purpose of the articles they accompany is to puncture the completely disingenuous portraits of bliss they otherwise depict.

Leading article: A massacre born from a poisonous mindset

A picture of almost unbearable horror has emerged from Norway. Reports of the systematic murder of young activists on the tiny island of Utoeya, lured to their death by a man dressed in a police officer's uniform, are as harrowing as those that followed the 1996 Dunblane massacre here in Britain.

Invisible Ink: No 81 - Harry Hodge

In the modern age of phone-tapping and the super-injunction, one wonders what Harry Hodge would have said about the right to privacy.

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Oscar Quine takes a stroll along High Street Kensington yesterday in ‘his’ electric blue stilettos
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The temples of Angkor, where tourists have been stripping naked
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Terry Sue Patt pictured in 1995
peopleTerry Sue-Patt played Benny Green in the classic children's TV show
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The coffin containing the remains of King Richard III is carried on a procession for interrment at Leicester Cathedral on 22 March 2015 in Leicester, England.
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The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
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Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
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Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
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Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?