News

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

Observations: Rosie Oddie follows in her father's musical footsteps

Prepare yourselves for the latest daughter of a familiar face trying her luck in the music world. Rosie Oddie, daughter of TV twitcher Bill, comes with a husky singing voice. Her first appearance came rather tentatively a couple of years back as Rosie Oddie and the Odd Squad. Her band has forged a denser, more complex sound than their previous ska-pop shtick. It better suits this former schoolmate of Peaches Geldof's gritty, rock'n'roll vocal, that nods more to Skunk Anansie than Lily Allen.

Gordon Brown backs drug adviser's sacking

Gordon Brown publicly backed the decision to sack the Government's chief drugs adviser today.

Observations: Dancing under the covers at new Shoreditch club night

The chirps, buzzes, choral harmonies and fuzzy bass-lines of the Los Angeles synth-pop duo the Bird & the Bee's cover of Rihanna's floor-filler "Don't Stop the Music" epitomise the soundtrack at Cover to Cover, a new club night in London's Shoreditch. The idea behind the night, held in the Queen of Hoxton on Curtain Road, is piled on zeal for great cover versions. We're not talking Mike Flowers on "Wonderwall", more Ian Brown murmuring through "Thriller" or "Billy Jean", or the Bronx – a hardcore outfit from Brooklyn – bouncing along to Prince's "I Would Die for You".

A brush with death: Why Britain's coolest art and fashion names have rallied around a victim of random knife crime

A year ago this week, a promising fashion student was brutally assaulted by a gang and left for dead. From his hospital bed, Oliver Hemsley set up a charity to combat knife crime – suddenly, the hottest names in art and fashion – from Tracey Emin to Marios Schwab – were queueing up to help...

1-2-3-4 Shoreditch Festival, Shoreditch, London<br></br>Cornershop, Jazz Café, London

Some bright upstarts ensure spirits aren't too dampened among the pseudo trendies

Five luxury Bauhaus hotels

Celebrate the iconic design movement's 90th birthday in authentic style

Parties: DJs in DJs? Fat chance

An odd bunch of radioheads of all shapes and sizes made their way to the Sony Radio Academy Awards at London's swanky Grosvenor House Hotel on Monday night. Normally imagined with headphones strapped on, safely tucked away in a recording studio – their curious lumps and bumps happily hidden – tonight the DJs were out in full force, casually flouting the black-tie dress code.

Page Turner: How the toffs and the cons wrote a book

There are glamorous and not so glamorous places to be a writer in residence. Ian McMillan has tried most of them, as poet in residence for Humberside Police, Barnsley FC and Northern Spirit Rail Network. Fay Weldon checked into the Savoy in 2002, where the beds were reportedly so comfy that she hardly got any work done. Shoreditch House's literary salonista Damian Barr has the enviable role of reader in residence at the Andaz Hotel. He qualifies owing to his dulcet tones and his stripy pyjamas. But none of these has yet been brave enough to go to jail for their writing.

Gregory Smart: Eye Blood You, The Empire Gallery, London

From the circus to the studio

Privacy groups contest Google Street View images

A predictable backlash against Google Street View UK has been launched by privacy groups which has led to dozens of pictures being removed from the newly launched mapping service.

Parties: The life and Soul of a city

There was a clash of London subcultures as Old Street scenesters relocated to South Kensington for the launch of the Soul i-D exhibition last week. Christie's Auction House is a far cry from the grungey youth culture that Terry Jones' magazine tends to nurture, but it provided a well-lit (and well-to-do) backdrop for the launch of the street-style bible's latest expo, which includes visuals from Alexander McQueen and Terry Richardson.

How We Met: Richard Norris & Erol Alkan

'He's gentle and friendly and also kind of cuddly &ndash; not that I'd ever want to cuddle him'

Boyd Tonkin: Tracts for our times: fiction in suburbia

It diminishes the late John Updike to classify him merely as the supreme anatomist of Middle America in its spreading suburbs and snug commuter towns. Yet every artist needs a canvas, and this former student of drawing (and lifelong critic of art) found in the uneasily affluent communities of the post-war East Coast the ground on which to paint his sumptuously shaded episodes from the human comedy. Updike cherished what he satirised, as every glittering sentence that unfurls across his landscape shows – especially in the four Rabbit novels.

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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
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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