Voices

It’s day nine of my 10-day Italian detox, and I have to admit to feeling seriously blissed out. I’m so relaxed that it actually makes me uncomfortable, it being such a rare thing in my existence. I spoke to my wife and kids on Skype, and watched them bickering away back in my normal existence. I told them to calm down and not talk to each other in that manner. Something in my new spiritual persona jarred with them and they all stopped arguing with each other and stared at the screen.

ME case study: 'She told me that she did not want to carry on'

The mother of an ME sufferer tells Cahal Milmo how the condition debilitated her daughter

Charlie Sheen 'held four-inch blade' to wife's neck during row

Emergency call recorded moments of terror at climax of five-hour argument

Observations: Barbican's vampire show is theatre to get your teeth into

If imitation is a form of flattery, Twilight star Robert Pattinson ought to be pleased by the posters for new teen vampire flick, Cirque du Freak, whose young lead is a dead (or should that be undead?) ringer. The continuing mania surrounding Twilight on the big screen and the HBO series True Blood on the small meant it was only a matter of time before vampires invaded other cultural spheres.

Spiritualized, Royal Festival Hall, London

The first edition of Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space came in a mock-up packet of pills: the slim cardboard box contained a leaflet of instructions and a plastic tray covered in foil that you had to break open to reveal the CD itself, which looked like a giant aspirin. It was a beautiful piece of design, but for the fact that, once you returned it to the box after its first few plays, the CD rattled around so freely in there that it quickly became scratched, rendering around half of the tracks unplayable.

Tips and deals: 04/10/2009

The kit

Is it a pair of sunglasses, is it a cunningly disguised 4GB USB flash drive? It's both! These Calvin Klein shades would suit James Bond down to the ground. You, too, if you want to keep your computer files by your right temple. Price £120, go to marchon.com

Dress code: Amanda Byram, TV presenter

What are you wearing right now?

My grey bootcut True Religion jeans, named for a reason... a James Perse white shirt, a grey Elizabeth and James cardigan, black office gladiator sandals and my Baby-G diving watch.

Accessories all areas

Autumn's hard-edged glamour requires killer heels, delectable bags and dramatic jewellery. The devil really is in the detail, says Gemma Hayward

Style and beauty tips for the beach

From the skimpiest of bikinis to retro shades, style insiders reveal their seaside essentials and beauty tips to Carola Long – while The Independent's fashion team pick their own holiday must-haves

Pensioner crashes into opticians

He may have needed to go for an eye test – but possibly not by car. An 89-year-old driver lost control of his vehicle while driving down a busy street yesterday and ploughed through the front of an optician's shop, causing damage estimated at thousands of pounds.

The Sketch: Little Man in the Big Chair prepares to repel all boarders

The look on the faces of the Tories hadn't been seen since the Great Stink of 1858. There was an almost visible heat ripple of loathing coming off the top of their Conservative heads.

John Lichfield: How I became chic growing roses and parsnips

For the first time in my life, possibly only briefly, I have reached the pinnacle of Parisian chic. The newspaper, Le Figaro, has published a list of what it calls the panoplie du snob: a catalogue of 50 things which are at the furthest cutting-edge of in-your-face trendiness amongst the wealthy, Parisian chattering classes.

Howard Jacobson: Live fast, die young – or spend your old age playing canasta with the ladies

The latest figures showing that men are 100 times more likely to die of everything than women – and at a quarter of their age, and in double the agony – are all I need. I am approaching the age at which my father died – I am not actually, but if you fear you are, you are. What, when all is said and done, does "approaching" mean? Life is just one short, inescapable approach. I had a friend at university who kept a notebook of the ages at which his father, his grandfather, his great-grandfather, his great-great-grandfather etc, kicked the bucket, ticking each off and throwing a small gloomy party in his rooms as soon he'd survived it. But he only gave us water. His maternal grandfather had died of sherry poisoning.

Career Services

Day In a Page

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
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?