Voices

Perhaps we are entering a new cold front in our emotional weather

Howard Jacobson: Let's move the tents to Simon Cowell's backyard

In Zurich briefly to give a reading, I look out of my hotel window towards the Lindenhof and see what appears to be a fairground or gypsy encampment. I hear music and smell roasting meat.

Gordon Brown is on a restless search for new ways to make himself useful

Diary: Brown's concerted effort is not music to everyone's ears

Gordon Brown is on a restless search for new ways to make himself useful and save the world, but his latest scheme is not looking like a winner.

Deborah Ross: I just wish I could give to everyone

I won't be contributing to the Dahl family's £500,000 appeal to help restore and shift Roald's shed, if only because I am already contributing towards the shifting of Sir Paul McCartney's pergola, which, sadly, is currently north-facing whereas south-facing would be more the ticket.

Deborah Ross: I just wish I could give to everyone

If you ask me...

Simon Cowell warned Cheryl to 'raise her game'

Simon Cowell warned Cheryl Cole to "raise her game" days before she was sacked from 'The X Factor'.

Album: Will Young, Echoes (RCA)

Last year's Groove Armada collaboration "History" suggested the Pop Idol charmer had a cracking dance album in him.

Katy Guest: Rant & Rave (14/08/11)

Rant

Fear and loving: The two-edged charm of the snake

The accidental death of a cobra-lover has highlighted the strange passion some feel for serpents. Michael Bywater tries to explain

Simon Cowell backs Louis Walsh over indecent assault claims

X Factor supremo Simon Cowell said he will support Louis Walsh "100 per cent" after allegations he indecently assaulted a 24-year-old man.

There is a great woman behind every man, even Simon Cowell

Without the creative input of Cécile Frot-Coutaz into his American reality shows the TV mogul's fame and fortune would be considerably diminished, reports Stephen Foley in New York

Cheryl Cole's still a good friend, says Simon Cowell

X Factor boss Simon Cowell hopes he is still "close friends" with Cheryl Cole after dropping her from the US version of the show.

Ah, the drama! 'BGT' favourite Ronan is pipped at the post

Jai McDowall wins 'Britain's Got Talent'. Nick Duerden on how Simon Cowell's applecart was upset

Police rebuff Cowell over 'fixing' claim

Police sources indicated that there may not be a formal investigation into a complaint from Simon Cowell against an anonymous blogger who alleged that Ronan Parke, a 12-year-old boy contesting this evening's Britain's Got Talent television final, already had a management deal with Cowell's company Syco and had been moulded to appeal to the audience – something Cowell denies.

Harriet Walker: We haven't all got what it takes to fulfil our dreams

At school, children are always encouraged to think in terms of their talent, be it the ability to exquisitely replicate Leonardo Da Vinci from memory or simply to avoid being caught by the police. Now though, talent has become a devalued sort of nothingness, more adjectival than anomalous, and the cultural equivalent of the E.coli that is thought to be squelching away in so many European cucumbers.

Simon Cowell calls in police over 'fixing' claims

Pop mogul Simon Cowell has called in police over an anonymous internet claim that popular TV contest Britain's Got Talent is fixed.

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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