Arts and Entertainment

A music documentary that oozes irritating smugness

Outside the Box: Can we draw conclusions from these strange new statistics?

This season's Premier League has been notable for two statistical oddities. Before this weekend, 66 games produced a mere four draws. The normal rate is about one every four games, so this is astonishingly low. With most teams outside the top six considered to be much of a muchness, the expectation would be for more draws than average. The high number of goals has been gratifying (except for Hull fans) if equally unusual. Last season only Liverpool averaged more than two per game; so far this season, seven teams are doing so. Statistical freaks? Or is there a better explanation?

Labour conference diary: 30/09/2009

*Gordon Brown "is like a beetle on its back waving its feet in the air. The best thing to do is to put him out of his misery and stamp on him." So said Peter Carpenter, chairman of the Putney Labour Party and donor of £33,000 to the party, in a BBC interview yesterday. In that atmosphere, whose brilliant idea was it to entertain delegates as they waited for Brown to speak by playing "Sit Down" over the loudspeakers?

Billy Bragg: In defence of guitar heroes

Let's not complain about a video game that encourages kids to become fans

Album: Various artists, Theme Time Radio Hour Season 2 (Ace)

More great dancing around the kitchen music from DJ Bob Dylan's radio show, cannily compiled into a second double CD with scholarly annotations by a mystic-sounding Billy Bragg.

Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band, Royal Festival Hall, London<br>Billy Bragg, Patrick Jones, Blackwood Miners' Institute, Gwent

Yoko Ono is neither evil nor, sadly, an unsung genius. Billy Bragg salutes the miners, 25 years on

Caught in the Net: Fein line in matters of pop

Russ Feingold, a Democratic US senator for Wisconsin who's been turning his attention to the more relaxed matters of pop music, posted a video on his website (www.russfeingold.org) last month entitled "Fein Tunes", where he discussed music that interested him, offering a shout-out to fellow Wisconsinite, Bon Iver. A later instalment discussed his fondness for Wilco, in particular for 'Mermaid Avenue' (1998), the album of Woody Guthrie songs they recorded with Billy Bragg. Feingold's timing is good as Wilco's new album is released in June, and already available to stream at their website, tinyurl.com/ppx8nn.

Unforgiven? The rehabilitation of Mrs T

This week&#8217;s dramatisation of the fall of Margaret Thatcher shows her as a more human figure than often supposed. As the Iron Lady is re-evaluated on TV, we asked some of those who were prominent in the 1980s how they regard her now

Folk America, The Barbican, London

Old-time ramblers and other clichés

Julian Cope: 'It's time for war'

He believes democracy is overrated and doesn't think much of Barack Obama. On the eve of his new album, Julian Cope preaches insurrection to Eddi Fiegel

Music industry: The party's over. Haven't they heard?

The record industry is dead. Long live the music, says Cole Moreton

Pandora: Fern's new stay-slim shocker

The row over Fern Britton's dramatic weight loss just keeps on rumbling. Yesterday the This Morning presenter was accused of deliberately misleading the public when a Sunday newspaper revealed that, despite repeated denials, she had undergone gastric banding back in 2006.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Why should Muslims put up with being stereotyped?

Like everyone, we are creatures of many parts. But we are not allowed such complexities

Are We There Yet? Dig out the wellies for the festival season

Summer's on its way, which means it must be time for a festival. All that hanging out in tents and rolling in mud is guaranteed to get the kids enthused.

You Write The Reviews: Billy Bragg, Sodra Teatern, Stockholm

Even Billy Bragg probably doesn't know quite who might be expected to go to a Billy Bragg concert these days. The audience at the old Sodra Teatern in the Swedish capital seemed equally confused, and for every teenager dreaming of revolution there was also a middle-aged couple looking for a quiet night out. The Sodra Teatern is a long way from Bragg's roots as a busker at Tube stations, and it is the sort of cosy venue he thrives in, even if he did look more than a little perplexed by the surroundings as he took to the stage.

Meet the folkers

Chris T-T and Frank Turner combine punk attitudes with the essence of folk
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own