Life and Style

It probably contravenes some unwritten rule to begin a light-hearted examination of the week in technology with a reference to Jimmy Savile, but a few days ago I remembered an episode of Jim'll Fix It in the 1980s where some lucky youngster had his room kitted out with all the latest gadgets from the Ideal Home Show, including some automated curtains. These curtains elicited gasps of wonder from my teenage self as I entertained the notion that, in the future, we'd be relieved of the endless, life-sapping drudgery of having to drag light pieces of material along a rail, sometimes as frequently as twice a day.

Jason Lytle, Hoxton Bar and Kitchen, London

Maybe you think you haven't heard of Jason Lytle.

Album: Brasstronaut, Mount Chimaera (Unfamiliar)

Here's something different.

Money Insider: Put your credit rating back on track with the help of good old-fashioned banking

It seems that barely a day passes without a bank or building society launching a new super-low-rate loan, an interest-free credit card or a cheap overdraft. However tempting this seemingly never-ending supply of low-cost finance may sound, the reality is that unless you have a pristine credit record you'll have little or no chance of being accepted for any of it. Whilst the tightening of lending policy will protect the bottom line for providers, the flip side is that a rapidly increasing number of people are now finding themselves excluded from mainstream credit.

Leading article: Thanks to the internet, the customer is king again. Long may he reign

TripAdvisor, the consumer website for travellers, faces the threat of a lawsuit from hoteliers and others who claim they are being damaged by unsubstantiated and malicious reviews. The website, it appears, may have to fight its corner in court.

Ocado chief executive Tim Steinter looks to the future as sales climb by 30%

The chief executive of Ocado, the online grocer, said his focus was on its share price over the medium term as they tumbled again yesterday.

Album: Hayes, The Passions / Schola Cantorum...(Glossa)

William Hayes spent most of his working life in Oxford. Doomed to obscurity by metrocentricity, he is revealed as a significant talent in this rendition of The Passions (1750) with Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.

Brian Viner: Pressing all the wrong buttons

Alexander Graham Bell would turn in his grave if he knew how many people have come to regard his great invention as the enemy

Consuming Issues: Why food shops are becoming DIY superstores

Beep, beep ... BEEP! Being a checkout assistant surely can't be one of the most interesting jobs in what my school used to call "the world of work". Waiting in a queue of time-poor, mildly peeved shoppers is not much fun either. So there are unlikely to be many tears shed at the end of the traditional checkout, but it's a tearless revolution which causes me some internal harrumphing, and probably won't do the retailers much good either.

Electric dreams: Is it the end for robot development?

We were promised a life of leisure thanks to hard-working robots and fiendishly clever cyborgs. But the android fantasy has largely been terminated, argues Michael Fitzpatrick

Minor British Institutions: The British Toilet Association

It is all too easy to deride the BTA – until you find yourself caught short, in which case you might want to sign up to their mission statement: "More and better toilets". It reminds us that our public lavvys were once the envy of the world, a national expression of our excellence in sewerage and plumbing.

Album: El Nuevo Mundo, Folias Criollas / Savall (Alia Vox)

Viol supremo Jordi Savall continues his exploration of musical colonialism with this sumptuous collection of Spanish, Creole and Mestizo canarios, cantadaos, fandangos, jácaras and morenas.

Ton Koopman/Tini Mathot, Wigmore Hall, London

It may be thirty years since ‘early music’ escaped from its ghetto, but we are still finding fresh worlds within it.

Chloride's £864m offer from ABB could spark Emerson counterbid

Chloride Group is all set for a bidding war after recommending a £864m offer from the Swiss electrical engineering group ABB, just weeks after turning down a £723m bid from US rival Emerson Electric.

Jonsi, HMV Forum, London

Sonic seer is a wonder of nature

Summertime 2100, and the living isn't easy

What will London be like a century from now? Seven degrees warmer, with water-absorbent streets and parched public parks. Marek Kohn paints an unnerving picture of metropolitan life in the sweaty grip of a radically changed climate
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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 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before