News

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
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there