Arts and Entertainment

With its satisfyingly fat vinyl platters, audiophile-friendly downloads and imaginative catalogue of rediscovered gems (plus new recordings), LP specialist Gearbox is becoming one of the wonders of the age.

Column One: Michael, you can run but you can't hide

AS MICHAEL PORTILLO scuttles past the gay rights protesters outside Kensington Town Hall tonight, to stake his claim for the nomination of the local Tories, he must wonder whether his admission, last month, of a gay past was wise.

Column One: Liberal Democrats lose their left wing on take-off

EARLY ARRIVALS at the Liberal Democrat conference in Harrogate were greeted by the sight of a bright yellow bubble car parked in prime position outside the conference hall. I have a vague memory that this appealing vehicle once featured in one of John Cleese's party political broadcasts for the Liberal Democrats, but even so it hardly seemed the most potent image for a party with a new driver at the wheel - cute, undoubtedly, but notoriously unstable when turning left or right.

Music: Revenge of the sound pirates

Trevor Horn and Paul Morley launched The Art of Noise on an unsuspecting world in 1983. Now they're back.

Music: Axaxaxas Mlo and other tall stories

Music THE SHOUT, SCANNER THE SPITZ LONDON

Pop: Slaves to the rhythm of the market

THE ORB ROYAL ALBERT HALL LONDON

Preview: Pop - The Orb

To celebrate 10 highly influential years of ambient acid madness which somehow managed to straddle both hippie and rave vibes, Dr Alex Paterson

Records: Ambient

Pussyfoot: Suck It and See (Pussy, double CD/LP). Authentically sleazy and cheesy collection of ambient-ish tracks on a sexual theme, by Howie B and diverse hands under the banner of the cult Pussyfoot collective. Seventies porn-movie samples (including dialogue), lounge-music sofa-snogging anthems, emphatically messy kitsch theme-tunes, and a guiding template that stretches from soggy techno to throbbing drum and bass make this a hot-date soundtrack that only the very brave or foolhardy will be willing to risk. The pressing plant evidently considered this recording to be so obscene that they remain anonymous. Tosmio Nakanishi's faux-naif artwork could well become collectable.

Music: Andy Gill's album round-up

CALEXICO The Black Light

The diary of Emma D May: Return of the undead

SUNDAY 12.01am: "What is evil?" says Dylan. Great. Like we really need to get into some sort of philosophical debate when we're this much off our heads. "Margaret Thatcher is evil," I say, with a bizarre trippy rush off the pills we've all had that makes me think for a moment that she's walking through the club past me. Transpires to be someone's elderly mother, who has got lost looking for toilets. "Excuse me, dear," she says. "I'm a little lost. I came here to see my son who is a deejay of ambient house music, I believe it is called." Think of Mark Thatcher DJing and shake head to dispel image. Woman looking madly about: "Have you seen him?" I shrug. "I should try the DJ booths if I were you," I shout over the music. "There's one on every floor." Mrs T smiles benignly. "What a lovely polite girl you are. Perhaps you would escort me to the one on this floor, only I seem to keep getting so lost and it's so very hot in here." Smile sweetly at her. "Actually," I say. "We were just having a philosophical discussion about good and evil." Mrs T nods, "Yes, terrible that Mary Bell business. She ought to be outed you know. Let the vigilantes deal with her, I say..." Dylan grins as we pass him (decide on reflection that getting rid of her at the DJ booth is best option). "See you've pulled, Emma... "

When opposite forces attract

Classical music: London Sinfonietta / Martyn Brabbins

Music: Classical: Those who can't , shouldn't. Those who can, cantiga

Catherine Bott has long been the reigning queen of early music. Now she's moving into a New Age. Nick Coleman enjoys a sample of the soprano's down-to-earth delights.

Letter: Unfair test

Unfair test

WIN...

Following on from the success of last month's Whirl-Y-Gig launch at London's Forum comes the next instalment tomorrow night, when avant- garde rock band Gong are the special guests. The London Eye has four pairs of tickets to give away for tomorrow night's gig together with four copies of Gong's new album.

After Dark: You spin me right round...

Top DJs equal capacity crowds; and despite some ups and downs, Sasha's ability to pull the punters across the country sets him firmly at the top of the pile
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick