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In the often unintelligible acronym- and jargon-crazed world of Work and Pensions Questions, no-one could accuse the right-wing Tory Philip Davies of not telling it like he thinks it is.

Thorpe to profit as middleman

Derek Pringle meets a batsman who has the technique to revive England

RUDE AWAKENING

VANESSA WALTERS is 18, black and British, and she doesn't hang about. She's now in her first year studying law at University College London, but she wrote her debut novel, Rude Girls (Pan pounds 4.99), in her summer holidays from school; her headmistress recommended her to get an agent, and this led to a substantial advance from Macmillan while she was still a schoolgirl. The novel moves at speed, too. By the end of Chapter One we have met a gang of Yardies, been to a raucous all-day music festival, witnessed a shooting and been involved in a car-chase through the streets of Hackney. Shree, Paula and Janice, our three fun-loving, bare-as-you- dare heroines have appeared, complete with descriptions of their hairstyles (laborious) and body types (petite, stocky, tall and thin respectively).

PETER YORK ON ADS; No 110: SEKONDA

ADVERTISING is increasingly in the business of yoking big, windy themes to small, particular things. Pre-Christmas is when the watches appear, usually in ads of stunning banality - but this year Sekonda's got a Big Theme.

how to be a bodyguard

Who needs the rich and famous? Close Protection Officers, otherwise known as bodyguards, do. They're the tall, stiff-looking types seen on the news and who shadow the Royals, the Prime Minister and other stars as they step in and out of their limos. Men that can spot trouble a mile away.

Sai Baba wanders the ashram in a Mercedes

LAST RESORT; Puttaparthi, Bangalore

BOOK REVIEW : Wolf, wolf! in fun-size cries Neat and pithy, to tell the truth

Beyond Certainty Charles Handy Hutchinson, pounds 12.99

pub life

THE FIRST time I went to The Lansdowne, angling for an under-age pint in 1985, a traffic warden came into the pub, passed over the niceties of community policing, and launched into a topless rendition of "Knees Up, Mother Brown". The birthday boy put a condom on his head and blew it up from inside, so that he looked like Astrosmurf, and then buried his head in the traffic warden's breasts and wept at the fickleness of time. Suddenly, there was more to passing yourself off as a man than asking for a pint of Greene King without a giveaway croak.

Who do they think is going to risk good money for these third- rate relics? We're reduced to bidding for some Swan Vestas as used by John Thaw on the television

While I was filming my Great Railway Journeys of the World trip for the BBC in Syria, one of the items was about the legendary Baron Hotel in Aleppo. The hotel is now run by Sally Malzoumian, an English nurse who married its Armenian owner in 1949. Though the hotel is now a faded shell, she is very proud of the guest book, which contains the names of a legion of former residents from the time when Aleppo was a stop-off for that most Thirties of phenomena - air races. TE Lawrence, Agatha Christie and the Lindberghs are in there, plus a whole load of people you've never heard of but who were real big shots in their day. "That's Count Ostrowsky, the famous canoeing balloonist," Sally would say, or "That's Tommy Shinbone - nobody's heard of him now, but he was terribly famous as radio's first comedy gynaecologist. He arrived with Ted Ray and Max Ernst in his airship from Beirut and such a crowd gathered that he had to be carried to the hotel in a bucket."

music Phil Johnson Andre Previn Jazz Trio, The Barbican

Bud Powell may have been a genius, but was he punctual? Come the time on the ticket - 7.30pm sharp - and Previn was at the keyboard and away, making this perhaps the first jazz concert in history to start on time. Already, the notion of "Tonight we improvise!" had a slightly Teutonic air of steely exactitude to it and, when it came, the chorus of "Satin Doll" was delivered with more than a touch of Beethoven's Fifth, the normally languid notes flattened into shape by the maestro's low-strung fingers. Previn's opening remarks had made a joke out of the presence of sheet- music for himself, Ray Brown on bass and Mundell Lowe on guitar but, as it turned out, the whole show progressed as if scored beforehand, the sequence as perfectly calculated as the movements of a Rolex. It was cocktail jazz of a very high order, the easy grace of the playing recalling Matisse's dictum of art as an armchair to sink luxuriously into.

Oyster cult

The material world

from mercedes to mulberry, rolex to ray-ban - 100 style classics to be won with

Today you can enter our prize draw to win a design classic. There are 100 prizes ranging from a classic car to the perfect fountain pen and to enter our prize draw you need to collect 12 differently numbered tokens from The Independent, at least one of which must have come from the Independent on Sunday. Today we publish Token 12 and the official entry form. We will reprint the entry form next Monday.

Goldsmiths twice as good

BY NIGEL COPE

from mercedes to mulberry, rolex to ray-ban 100 style classics to be won with THE INDEPENDENT

IFASHIONS come and fashions go but classic style goes on for ever. That's why we are offering Independent readers the chance to win a prize, whether it is large or small, that will endure.

I've the watch if you've the time

John Windsor penetrates the hidden workings of the second-hand wristwatch market

Tennis: Lapentti beats Kuerten in Orange Bowl final.

Nicolas Lapentti, of Ecuador, drawing on his Davis Cup experience, ended his junior career by defeating his doubles partner, Gustavo Kuerten, of Brazil, 6-3, 7-6 in the boys' 18-and-under Rolex Orange Bowl International Championships at Miami Beach at the weekend. "There's not much pressure in this tournament after I've played Davis Cup with Andres Gomez, our country's hero, at home," Lapentti said.
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment