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London's housing boom is pushing businesses out of the West End, a leading commercial property advisor has warned.

Vicar hits out at council's ban on lapdancing clubs

Move will only drive sex workers underground

Album: Hannah Peel, The Broken Wave (Static Caravan)

It borders on the twee. That it doesn't cross the frontier is the reason this is worth your attention.

Style rebel comes of age: Sheridan Coakley reveals the secret of his success

In the 25 years since he opened his indie interiors store, SCP, Coakley has become a champion of British designers – and a hero to hip homemakers.

Diary: Ken backs out of Press gang

Ken Livingstone, Labour's candidate for London Mayor, is parting ways with Press TV, the English-language news channel funded by the Iranian government. Livingstone has filmed a series of seven monthly book review shows, but claims he'd never planned any further programmes for the channel, which many consider a mere mouthpiece for beige-loving Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Unkind commentators suggest Ken's announcement came coincidentally close behind news that NatWest has frozen the channel's British trading account, thus preventing any payments to its contributors. I, for one, prefer to imagine he was following the lead of this column's favourite Estonian (I only know the one) glamour model-bothering ex-MP for Montgomeryshire, Lembit Opik, who – as I exclusively revealed some months ago, though it went bafflingly unreported elsewhere – left Press TV so as to sever any "controversial links" prior to his own proposed campaign for the mayoralty. Expect to see Ken on Celebrity Come Dine With Me in the very near future.

Man jailed for stabbing rapper Professor Green

A man has been jailed for stabbing rapper Professor Green in the neck, police said today.

Carpet fitter Rob Knighton swops floor laying for the catwalk

A 50-year-old carpet fitter has swapped cutting and laying flooring for the catwalk after being snapped up by an international model agency.

Flashguns, Old Blue Last, London

There are celebrations aplenty on the bill at Shoreditch's Old Blue Last. Much-loved by north London's scenesters, it's 310 years since the fashionable little venue was first built and six years since the self-dubbed "den of nefarious activity" was taken over by Vice magazine. And the icing on this rather edgy birthday cake? The launch of promising young indie-folkers Flashguns' latest single, "Come and See the Lights".

Louboutin: The very sole of Shoreditch

East London's Shoreditch is set to become a mini Bond Street, with a raft of upmarket brands eyeing the area. Parisian high-end footwear retailer Christian Louboutin – whose shoes sell for more than £350 a pair – is in talks to take a store on Redchurch Street.

M.I.A., Brixton Academy, London

It doesn't take much to impress the impressionable. When you take a glance at M.I.A.'s CV over the past six years, her musical credentials have never quite added up. Still, much kudos to her for sustaining a cult appeal built on her distinctive brand of rebel music and art-school airs. Rappers like T.I. and Kanye West love her, the Dazed & Confused set want to be her.

The world inside the bingo halls of Britain

At 1 o’clock every day 600 bingo halls open their doors to customers across the UK.

White Lies, Shoreditch Town Hall, London

If we're to believe what the music industry tells us, that 2011 is going to be the year we see the resurgence of guitar bands, tonight's Now Playing event hosted by Three and Spotify is ahead of the game.

Bite into the world's first 18+ cake shop

Staffed by zombies and serving 666 edible Halloween creations each day, the world’s first 18+ cake shop opened in London today.

Selfridges unveils Christmas windows

Selfridges unveiled its Christmas windows today with a series of festive family settings ranging from a dolls' house to an urban tower block.

Mark Steel: Solving disputes the Boris way

The marvellous part about a transport strike, such as the one on the London Underground on Monday, is the reports on the news afterwards. This is where we're told that, "one plucky commuter beat the strike by breaking into the Imperial War Museum and stealing a Spitfire, which he used to ferry grateful passengers who'd been left stranded by the union in a swamp with little hope of ever seeing their children again. And an insurance clerk got permission from London Zoo to borrow a leopard, and rode on it to his office in Shoreditch. There was a slight hitch on the Camden one-way system when it mauled a queue for the 159 to Westminster, but he arrived only 10 minutes late, and was able to do plenty of filing."

Susie Rushton: Where's the fun in that, Jamie?

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project