News Chris Hadfield has agreed to take on the role of cultural ambassador for Ireland

Chris Hadfield, the singing astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station, has taken on a role as cultural ambassador for Ireland.

Album: Lou Reed

The Raven, Reprise

Rock star Gabriel tops film music poll

Meltdown: Mercury Rev, Royal Festival Hall, London

Masterfully constructed, the show astonishes because the band can continually scale new peaks

Meltdown: London Sinfonietta/ Alsop, Royal Festival Hall, London

Bowie in the looking glass

Album: David Bowie

Heathen, ISO/Columbia

Pop: Great covers 9. Marillion: Brave

In the beginning, Marillion went in for classic progressive sleeve design - clever-clever titles, visual puns, ersatz surrealism and a logo begging to be traced by 14-year-old boys. But when singer Fish left, they had to confront one of rock's trickier marketing problems: how to keep your loyal audience on-side while signalling to everyone else that your days of re-writing the early Genesis songbook are truly over?

It's the bin end of the week and Steely Dan are acting oddly. They're dying for a chinwag

At various points in a career dating back to the early Seventies, the founder members of Steely Dan, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, have made it abundantly clear that interviews are a pleasure they rank right up there with wading barefoot through broken glass. Early on, in front of journalists, Becker and Fagen tended to be frozen-faced, taciturn, elliptical, dry and, occasionally, on a really good day, silent. This seemed entirely in keeping with their music - cool, elliptical, dry, altogether the opposite of a warm handshake and collusive smile. By 1980, when the band dissolved, they had given up on interviews altogether.

Tool Box: How to gauge the greenhouse effect

JOHN KEATS may have waxed lyrical about autumn but it's a season of hard work for the gardener. Falling leaves are just one reminder that winter is next on the agenda. Tumbling temperatures are a cause for concern when your garden's micro-climate becomes far more important than the broad pictures painted by the weather forecasters.

Tool Box: Solo on a bowsaw

LAST WEEK'S storm was vicious enough to rip branches off one of the ancient hawthorns that mark our southern boundary. The chainsaw was the lazy man's tool for the job of sawing them up, but this was an opportunity to combine exercise with a test of the Sandvik 9-24-51-KP.
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...