Voices

Judging by the national mood, I would urge David Cameron to go to the polls now; the mood is good out there

Paul Giamatti as Harold Levinson and Poppy Drayton as Madeline in Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey Christmas Special TV Review: Christmas at Downton was a bit of a post-turkey snooze

There was a time when the Downton Abbey Christmas special might involve a lady revealing she was up the duff by the chauffeur, or a much-loved character croaking it in a car accident. This year, it was as if, chastened by reactions to their rape storyline, the writers were determined to include nothing even mildly dramatic. If you were looking for a good time to fit in that post-turkey snooze, 8.30pm till 10.30pm was your window.

Photography book review: Pierdom, By Simon Roberts (with an introduction by Francis Hodgson)

Simon Roberts has travelled the coastline of Britain to create a comprehensive and fascinating photographic record of the country’s remaining pleasure piers.

Raging fire devastates New Jersey boardwalk already hit by Superstorm Sandy

New Jersey resort towns were still in the process of rebuilding after Sandy hit a year previously

Costa Brava murder: British man arrested in Spain on suspicion of killing his father

A British man has been arrested on suspicion of killing his father at a Spanish camping site, police said.

About a boy: Liam James with Anna Sophia Robb in ‘The Way, Way Back’

Film review: The Way, Way Back (12A)

Last of the summer whine

End of the piers? Seaside structures plagued by high costs and neglect

Seaside piers across Britain are under threat from rising maintenance costs and rocketing insurance bills, according to new research.

Feet up: Taking the air on a Brighton pier in 1937

Radio review: 4 Extra At The Seaside - Pack my banjo, mother, we’re off to the beach

When working-class Londoners boarded the coach to begin their summer holiday they would have a whip-round, and as they pulled away they would throw coins through the windows to the poorer kids left behind.

Margate is one of Britain’s most deprived seaside towns

Deprived seaside towns to get funding boost

Ailing seaside towns are to receive almost £30m to boost growth, the Treasury has announced today, following statistics showing they suffer from above-average levels of deprivation.

'Abandoned to poverty': Skegness named most deprived seaside town

The birthplace of Butlins, which once attracted Britons from around the country to enjoy its “bracing” weather, is now the most deprived seaside resort in the country. Skegness has topped a list of the nation’s most impoverished coastal towns, in a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Mathew Baynton

My Edinburgh: Mathew Baynton - Why the Fringe is a good place to wear a gimp mask

Yesterday, in Edinburgh, I was walking alongside a lady wearing high heels and a gimp mask. Her, not me. No-one walking past batted an eyelid. She had no flyers in her hand or any evidence of being in a show. I think she’d worked out that Edinburgh in August is a great place to be if you want to dress up oddly and not get funny looks.

The Saturday Quiz answers

1. Simon and Garfunkel's The Concert in Central Park

The report, entitled Turning the Tide, called for action to revive the fortunes of seaside towns like Blackpool in Lancashire

'Dumping grounds for the poor': High levels of unemployment, drug addiction and teenage pregnancy leave British seaside towns locked in culture of 'poverty attracting poverty'

Britain now spends almost £2 billion-a-year on welfare payments in once-thriving seaside towns

Great escape: A crash course in summer holidays

School summer holidays are in full swing - but the Great British exodus to the sun is a relatively new invention

Where to go after a September city break in Rome – seaside or countryside?

Q. We are hoping to go to Rome in September for a long weekend. How easy would it be to extend the stay with a few days by the beach or in the countryside afterwards, to combine some culture with recharging the batteries? Claire Allard, Southampton

Eight injured as two trains crash into each other in Norwich

Greater Anglia service travelling at "low speed" hit an East Midlands train parked in station

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Career Services

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
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn