Tom Hodgkinson: I'm dreaming of a medieval Christmas

The medieval culture as a whole was less work-oriented, and the whole point of Christmas was to follow the injunction in Ecclesiastes to "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die", and work was cancelled for a full 12 days or more, from 25 December until Plough Monday, which next year falls on 12 January.

Conan Doyle, By Andrew Lycett

Son of a talented, though alcoholic, artist and nephew to Richard Doyle, the great Punch cartoonist, Conan Doyle hid his considerable literary energy behind the bluff exterior of a medical man.

MGMT, The Forum, London

Of all the Brooklyn exports to the British music scene, MGMT span the most musical generations with their blend of Sixties synth-fuelled psychedelia, Bowie influences and rock. That tickets for tonight sold out in June and touts are selling them for £100 outside is testimony to their meteoric rise.

'His readers loved him, and they needed to tell him that'

For the late, great Alan Coren, laughter was the key to moving his audience, say his children Victoria and Giles

Punch scraps its dividend but claims fall in sales is slowing

Punch Taverns scrapped its final dividend yesterday "to conserve cash" in the face of ongoing economic uncertainty, putting stocks across the sector on the skids.

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Recessionary forces are bringing the oil price back to reality, despite China

Punch axes the dividend to conserve cash; Scandal of Britain's energy crisis

Why Jaime Winstone's latest movie will upset parents everywhere

It may not please the parents but it's reality for her generation, she tells James Mottram

Pinot Peach Smash

Serves 10-12

Margaret Thatcher &ndash; The Long Walk to Finchley, BBC 4<br />The Making of the Iron Lady, BBC 4<br />The Victorian Sex Explorer, Channel 4<br />Imagine, BBC 2

It took an iron will to become a female parliamentary candidate in the 1950s, and a masterful biopic to make viewers urge her on

Boxing: Hatton rumbles on but is fat lady warming up?

Ricky Hatton won every round on Saturday night, 55,000 people traipsed out of this stadium smiling and a glorious fight in New York is planned for October.

Miles Kington: The last tapes

Just before he died earlier this year, The Independent&rsquo;s beloved humorist granted an extraordinary interview to his friend Tony Staveacre

M&amp;B considers Punch deal

Embattled pubs group Mitchells & Butlers today confirmed talks to buy the managed pub business from its rival and former takeover suitor Punch Taverns.

A Prayer for my daughter, Young Vic, London

Thin blue lines in a dated drama

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Olivant throws in the towel on the Rock

Ryanair's O'Leary warns on profits; Punch tilts at Mitchells & Butlers; China's velvet-glove approach to Rio

Michael Bywater remembers Miles Kington

Humorous columnist, broadcaster and the inventor of Franglais
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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor