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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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower