I first visited Hampstead Garden Suburb back in 1997 when I came to trace the footsteps of long lost ancestors. My great grandfather, Edgar Verney, was one of the earliest inhabitants following its founding in 1907, and by all accounts was an active participant in its community until his retirement in the 1950s, when he and his wife retired to the Isle of Wight. His daughter, my grandmother, was married in 1937 in St Jude on the Hill church, a report of which appeared in this very newspaper beneath the rather grandiose headline “Opera ‘star’ married”.
But if we are to ensure suitable levels of housing are available in this country for the future, especially as people are living to a greater age, then all options for housing need to be considered, including use of so-called green belt.
But why ban smoking when there are far greater threats to public health in our midst? The truth is that smoking is no longer that cool among the younger generation. Even TV's Sherlock has given it up. And in any case, the only person it may harm is the person smoking.
Hardly a week goes by here at the Guardian without some indignant individual contacting us, demanding that their name be taken out of a court report or, worse still, that the article be deleted immediately. Often it is the relatives who contact us, no doubt embarrassed by the publication of the defendant’s address.
It seems there are a lot of people living in our midst who do not understand the principle of open justice. They do not understand that it is a fundamental principle that justice must be seen to be done. It is therefore established in this country that, with certain exceptions, court cases should be heard in public.
There has been much debate this week about the televised debates during next year's general election campaign. Who should be allowed to take part? The leaders of the traditional three main parties? Or only those leaders who realistically could become prime minister? Or should the debate be widened to include other ‘minority’ parties? If the number of members of each political party is anything to go by, then it may be time for a complete rethink.
According to a report produced by the House of Commons Library last month, membership of political parties is at an historic low. Less than one per cent of the electorate is a member of the top three parties.
Once again shocking conditions have been exposed at a takeaway – this time in Highams Park. A routine inspection found the place full of cockroaches, with a kitchen so filthy it would put the worst slum dwelling in a Charles Dickens novel to shame.
Spice E4 was closed down two days after the visit by inspectors (why so long, I ask?) But after a deep clean and a thumbs up from inspectors, guess what? It’s back open for business, under the same watchful eye of its owner and his team of meticulous staff.
On top of all its financial accounting woes, Tesco this week announced that a brand new £20 million store in Cambridgeshire, due to open in November, is being mothballed. It’s being seen by some as a sign that for Tesco, giant supermarkets are not as profitable as they once were. The rise of home delivery is undoubtedly a factor. But I wonder if customers have also become fed-up with giant stores which are so big they are overwhelming?
The bigger the store, the more hellish the shopping experience in my view. We are so spoiled for choice in the shopping aisles to the extent that it takes ten times longer to choose and compare prices. Who needs 50 different types of bread when the only real question is brown, white or sliced?
You don't need directions to find The Shard. It is impossible to miss. London’s skyline is dominated by the towering sculpture that comprises offices, restaurants, a five star hotel, flats and the new View From The Shard visitor attraction.
Tall buildings are somehow not very British. The skyscraper, once such an American thing, is nowadays the preserve of the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and China who have the edge on tall construction.
In the 1970s, the BBC screened a series which came to be known as A Ghost Story for Christmas. Most of the short films were based on stories written by the master of the genre, MR James, the Cambridge academic and author of some of the most spine-tingling tales in the English language.
Although I am a little too young to have seen their first screening, episodes were occasionally repeated a few years later. In my own family, before the age of video, it became a tradition for us to sit down in front of the television, late at night on Christmas Eve.
After a peaceful protest by community members demanding "justice" for Mr Duggan, the mood turned nasty and buildings and vehicles including a double-decker bus and two police cars were engulfed in flames.
Historian, author and broadcaster Lucy Worsley is the chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that looks after Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London and Kensington Palace among others. Tim Jones spoke to her about her mission to make history as popular as the X Factor.
LUCY WORSLEY has been described as a new generation of historian who understands people’s real lives. Her BBC TV series If Walls Could Talk saw her reveal the intimate history of the British house, examining the history of the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room, highlighting their development from Norman times to present day.
Coward famously sketched out his play, about a divorced couple who get back together again, during a period of convalescence and wrote the final draft in just four days. It was conceived as a vehicle for himself and actress Gertie Lawrence and has since enjoyed many a revival with star pairings over the years.
Boyle, best known for such films as Trainspotting, the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire and most recently 127 hours, returns to his stage roots in this production starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller who alternate the roles of the creature and Victor Frankenstein.
Visually it is impressive, making the most of the Olivier Theatre’s huge, but intimate revolving stage. Sets rise from beneath and in one scene a steam train thunders on to the stage in a cacophony of sound.
“I’m not one of those goddam microphone actors,” says the main character of a washed-up alcoholic in Clifford Odets’ play which is currently revived in the West End starring Martin Shaw and Jenny Seagrove. The theme of Method acting is close to the heart of this play, first produced in 1950. Odets was one of the exponents of the American Method school, along with Lee Strasberg, and helped found the Group Theatre, basing its theory on Stanislavski’s techniques.
The play is set backstage in a theatre and is a study of a deluded alcoholic, Frank Elgin, a one-time big actor, who is given a last chance to prove himself in a lead role. He is not a microphone actor in the sense that he refuses to pull out of the bag a pre-formed act. But crippled by self-doubt, his fear is that he can’t pull it off without resorting to a drink.
Written by American playwright Clifford Odets, the play is set in 1950s New York and tells the story of an alcoholic actor given one last chance to hit the stage and this time around reunites Martin with his co-star from TV’s Judge John Deed, Jenny Seagrove.
From the Stratford upon Avon Herald
From Stratford upon Avon Herald