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Rémy Martin Sales up 10% despite le credit crunch

Sales of Rémy Martin's luxury cognacs are up 10 per cent over last year, despite le credit-crunch, according to Stephen Carroll, global market director for the family-owned cognac house. In the year to March, Rémy Martin recorded a turnover of €818m (£738), holding on to its ranking as the second-biggest cognac brand in the world.

Album: Ron Sexsmith, Exit Strategy of the Soul (Kensaltown)

Ron Sexsmith is usually damned with faint praise as a songwriter's songwriter, loved by students of the form but largely ignored.

Album: Ian Siegal, Meat & Potatoes (Nugene)

Ian Siegal's live shows confirm him as the leading bluesman in Britain. Their sweaty catharsis is hinted at here.

Diary of a Primary School Mum: 'Reading? It's my daughter's top pastime'

Claire has a new party trick. Take any bog-standard four-letter word (and the occasional fiver) and she can spell it. If there were a Reception Spelling Bee competition she'd be a serious contender. My best friend who's a primary school teacher has come round to help polish off leftover mince pies. I brag about my daughter's progress.

Paperback: A Hedonist in the Cellar, by Jay McInerney

Bloomsbury £8.99

Chocolate and chestnut truffles

Makes about 30-35 truffles

Album: Timbaland & Magoo

Under Construction Part II, Blackground / Unique

Obstinate Nixon keeps Kent at bay

Kent 245 and 411 Leicestershire 270 and 255-6 Match drawn

Racing: Williamson gets Cross

NORMAN WILLIAMSON rides Nicholls Cross for Edward O'Grady in the First National Gold Cup Handicap Chase over two miles three-and-a-half furlongs at Ascot on Saturday.

Racing: Equiname in Murphy's

CALL EQUINAME, the Queen Mother Champion Chase winner, will carry top weight in the Murphy's Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham a week on Saturday.

Canoeing In France: Messing about on the Charente

Wynn Wheldon revisits the lazy, hazy charms of his favourite part of south-west France with four good friends and three sturdy canoes

The knack: Surviving on tour

"Get the biggest bus you can: some bands get sent on tour in Transit vans. Boredom is a big problem, so don't even think about going on the road without a PlayStation and a bar: we would've split up within a week without them. Your voice wears down, so every now and again don't talk to anyone for a day and drink whisky with honey. Your tour manager might say, `Don't drink or you'll go crazy' - but ignore this; getting pissed every night alleviates the pressure of being cooped up with a bunch of madheads and keeps you sane. Just don't do it too much before you go on stage or you'll play badly.

Racing: Reveley Free-for-all

MARY REVELEY's runners continued in brilliant form yesterday. A Catterick double with Jessica One and Free took her score to seven winners in three days.
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'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
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
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
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk