Given our national obsession with property prices, Tim Walker’s novel is bound to hit a nerve. His fictional couple, the Manvilles, bought their large north London home at a knock-down price in the 1990s, and it became the key to two aspects of their family life. Jerry, a successful advertising executive, undertook all the original plumbing, electrical and redecoration work; Pen devised a series of popular children’s books, The House on the Hill, whose “cheeky brat with the ridiculous schemes” is modelled on, and named after, her real-life son Conrad: 15 years on, they have done a loft conversion, and divorced.
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Saturday 12 December 2009
Tuesday 17 November 2009
More stormy weather will batter Britain later this week, forecasters predict. By Thursday more downpours are expected to add to already high river levels, particularly in Wales, the south west, north west and west Midlands.
Sunday 18 October 2009
Everyone's favourite pro hobo returns and, while this album may not be as charmingly titled as last year's I Started Out With Nothing and I Still Got Most of It Left, there's still plenty of voodoo blues to be squeezed out of those one-stringed geetars.
Friday 16 October 2009
Recorded live on old-style analogue equipment, Man from Another Time is typically enjoyable, though not quite as potent as the quarter-million-selling I Started Out with Nothing and I've Still Got Most of It Left – despite Steve's lo-fi ringing of the changes, with his trusty "three-string trance wonder" guitar set aside occasionally in favour of slide licks played on a homemade cigar-box guitar ("Happy"), and more primitive still, the single-string device whose construction is explained and demonstrated in "Diddley Bo".
Friday 18 September 2009
It is an unlikely place for music pilgrimage, but Kenion Street in Rochdale is about to be placed firmly on the rock map with its own blue plaque. The site deserving of such an accolade is the former home of Cargo Studios, an establishment key to the North-west's musical development.
Thursday 17 September 2009
"Derek can only fancy one of us," said Sarah about half way through Farmer Wants a Wife, a dating show with muddy wellies. Sarah was one of the two finalists who'd been invited to get to know Derek a little better by spending a week on the farm with him – and Sarah was absolutely wrong. She may know a lot about dogs and horses, but she doesn't know a lot about human husbandry if she doesn't understand that Derek was already beginning to wonder why he had to pick between quiet, sensible Sarah and bubbly, effervescent Karla, who had chastely described herself on her application as "master chef in the kitchen, maid in the house and complete whore in the bedroom". "Can't we live somewhere where I can have two wives," he murmured when it came time to choose, and I don't think he was entirely joking. If we're to be blunt about this – and what the hell, we're in our own homes here – then Karla had the edge as far as looks went, but she also had the effervescence, a strenuously raucous cheerfulness that you could easily imagine might begin to grate on long winter nights.
Tuesday 01 September 2009
Organised crime bosses are turning to tractors and building equipment to launder cash, industry experts claim.
Thursday 02 July 2009
To continue the animal imagery, we now have the old bull alone in the middle of the arena. He paws at the sawdust and bleeds. His head sways to and fro, left and right, but he can still lift it, he can still make short charges to scatter his tormentors. Bloodied certainly, bowed even, but still dangerous. Meanwhile, Cameron has moved from one kind of bull fighter to another, from banderillero to matador. He used to run alongside and plunge his darts into the great neck. Now they confront each other more directly, eye to eye. The crowd is quiet.
Wednesday 03 June 2009
Last Night's Television: Snow, BBC2; Mud, Sweat and Tractors - The True Story of Agriculture, BBC4; The Apprentice, BBC2
Thursday 07 May 2009
Saturday 11 April 2009
The Ipswich teenager Connor Wickham is relishing the chance to become the club's youngest player if he makes an appearance from the bench at home against Doncaster Rovers today.
Saturday 28 March 2009
Bone-chilling temperatures were slowing the rise of the record-high Red River today, while weary volunteers were left with little to do but watch, wait, and wonder if all their hard work had been enough to save the US city of Fargo from major flooding.
Friday 16 January 2009
Niccolo Ammaniti has cranked up the volume for his blistering new novel. "'Wake up, wake up for fuck's sake!'" yells Cristiano Zena's father, Rino, before instructing his son to take his gun and go and shoot a neighbour's barking dog. By now the reader is pretty wide awake, and unlikely to doze off. We are back in Ammaniti's favourite territory, the forgotten, dusty suburbs of forgotten, dusty Italian towns, with a gallery of low-lifes that would put the wind up Jeremy Kyle.
Sunday 14 December 2008
Sunday 16 November 2008
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
- 3 Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position