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
Career Services

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
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?