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Potato chips. In the 1800s in New York, a customer at a restaurant sent back French fries because they were too thick. The cook made thinner ones that the customer still thought were too thick. Exasperated, the chef made ones that were exceedingly thin to piss off the customer... who loved them.

Viagra limits are `indefensible'

THE GOVERNMENT'S original decision to restrict the availability of the anti-impotence drug Viagra on the National Health Service was "legally indefensible", the High Court was told yesterday.

Health: Viagra's fall-out

Health Check

Limit of one Viagra a week for patients

FAMILY DOCTORS will be able to prescribe Viagra on the NHS to a limited number of impotent men from July, Health Secretary Frank Dobson said yesterday. Those who qualify, slightly more than originally proposed but fewer than one in five of all impotent men, will be limited to one pill a week "reflecting research evidence on this point," he said.

Lenny Henry

Lenny Henry is a stranger to the concept of volume control - in his clothes as much as in his voice. It is no coincidence that two of his previous live shows have gone by the unambiguous titles of Loud! and Larger than Life, and that his current tour (his largest yet) is entitled Large!. On stage, he displays all the excess energy of Don Juan on Viagra. Audiences tend to get swept along by his boundless enthusiasm.

Go-ahead for Viagra on NHS

DOCTORS ARE to be given the go-ahead tomorrow to prescribe Viagra on the NHS for the first time since it was licensed eight months ago.

The delicate task of keeping obscenities off our roads

THE DVLC has apparently decreed this week that they will not let anyone have the car number plate V14 GRA. This is because whoever gets it will be able to alter the 4 to looks like a capital A, and the number plate will then read VIAGRA. Which will be naughty. And the DVLC (which stands for Dirty Vocabulary Licensing Council) doesn't think we ought to have naughtiness on the roads. Five thousand deaths a year, yes. Naughty words on number plates, no.

FLATTERY, DOGGEREL, INSPIRATION

"LAUREATE" MEANS "crowned with laurel". In ancient Greece, the victor in the Pythian games was awarded a laurel wreath. Laurel itself was believed to carry the spirit of prophecy and poetry. Subsequently, laurel wreaths were used to honour graduates in rhetoric and poetry in medieval universities.

Of worms, weapons and beautiful women

THE DIARY

My brief cyber-affair with Cutie

A couple engaged in oafish flirtation - `Hey, babe, wanna get 2gether & make sweet music?'

Viagra demand less than predicted

GOVERNMENT FORECASTS that doctors would be swamped with demands for Viagra prescriptions for recreational use rather than for impotency treatment have been challenged by research.

Design: Oh TV, I worship thee

Your sitting-room may end up looking like a small branch of Dixons, but if you're a sensorama sound freak, who cares? By Philip Kerr

Health: A Question of Health: I've lost all my sex drive

I AM delighted for all those relationships that have been helped by the arrival of Viagra. What, however, is being done for women? I am 47, and over the past five years I have gone off sex. This is having a lousy effect on a relationship which otherwise has a lot going for it. A brief course of counselling led nowhere. I have told my partner that screaming at me is no answer. I've heard that at my age this is not unusual and I could just try putting up with it. I can do that, but my partner can't. I think the cause may be hormonal. Where do I go for help and what should I ask?

Viagra Corner

Dispatches from the Frontiers of Medicine

MPs prescribed Viagra by doctor in the House

A LABOUR MP who is also a GP has been bombarded, discreetly of course, with requests from colleagues wanting to get their hands on the anti-impotence drug, Viagra.

Comedy - preview: Fascinating Aida

Musical comedy can seem a vague genre, but in the capable hands of Fascinating Aida (left, Dillie Keane, Issy Van Randwyck and Adele Anderson), it is a crafted artform, capable of pleasing fans of both music and comedy. They subvert traditional forms to make comic points; in the past, they have sung a tango about herpes simplex and a Piaf-esque ballad dedicated to the homeless. For their latest show, Barefaced Chic, they promise ditties on an eclectic range of subjects from Viagra and the genetic modification of beetroot to the fad for all things oriental and Jerry Springer.
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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
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
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Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
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Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

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Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
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Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
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Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

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Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little