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.

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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

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Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

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Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

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Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor