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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.

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.

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.

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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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
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform