SIMON Cowell, the lead judge on the popular TV talent show X Factor, seems to attract a cross section of opinion. Some people like him, others cannot stand the sight of him.

And, according to the Daily Mirror, 42 year old mum-of-three Michelle Hall, from Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland, definitely falls into the latter category.

For Michelle started having severe panic attacks whenever she saw his face a decade ago and claims that she suffers so badly with a fear of Cowell that it is ruining her life.

Her condition has become so serious she has been prescribed anti-depressants in an attempt to beat her phobia.

Her symptoms include screaming fits, vomiting, heart palpitations and cold sweats. I know exactly how she feels!


Fans of the Harry Potter books or films may well want to consider booking in for a stay at the Georgian House Hotel near Victoria Station in London.

The Independent has revealed that the hotel now has rooms that replicate the famous chambers at Hogwarts which are furnished with trunks, potion bottles, cauldrons and spell books.


Is using a mobile phone at the dinner table rude? The Daily Mail tells us that manners guide Debrett's, says definitely yes.

The newly launched Debrett's Handbook, a 480-page comment on good manners, reckons that not only is it rude at dinner, it's bad mannered in other situations, including at the shop, in a cinema or indeed anywhere another person is present.

They state that it is rude to pay more attention to a phone than a person in the flesh and mobiles should always be put away when paying for something in a shop.


What a dastardly plan! The Independent reports on documents revealed in a new book which claimed that the National History Museum had a scheme to kill the Loch Ness monster and display its carcass.

According to David Clarke in his book Britain’ s X-traordinary Files, in March 1934 an unnamed official at the museum issued instructions to 'bounty hunters' on how to tackle the mythical creature.

He said: “Should you ever come within range of the ‘monster’ I hope you will not be deterred by humanitarian considerations from shooting him on the spot and sending the carcass to us in cold storage, carriage forward.”


Oh dear, it would appear us Brits can't help being grumpy.

The Independent reports on new research by the University of Warwick which says that Britons are genetically programmed to be that way.

This is because the British, as well as the French and Americans, are all predisposed to be grumpier than nations such as Denmark because they possess a “short form” version of the gene which regulates the amount of serotonin – the chemical which controls happiness – within the brain.


Which tune is guaranteed to get you up on the dance floor? Well, the Daily Mirror says that for Brits, it's Abba's Dancing Queen.

It finished ahead of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean and Twist And Shout by the Beatles in research carried out by specialist insurer Musicguard.

And the number one floor-clearer? Agadoo by Black Lace.

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The Independent (

Daily Mail (

Daily Mirror (