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Italian luxury notebook maker Moleskine has picked Canary Wharf and Covent Garden for its first standalone UK stores.

Close-up: Brian Duffy

Who needs a polyphonic synthesiser when you've got a Speak and Spell?

Tipping: Your views

The Weasel: London’s larder

Some may think that the term "Proustian" is over-employed these days, not least by this column, but once again I have to call on old Marcel for le mot juste. I can recall no volume that has had such a powerful Proustian effect on me as the new photo book Covent Garden by Clive Boursnell (Francis Lincoln, £20). "New" might not be quite the right word here, for the transporting images were captured between 1968 and 1974, when the market was still full of tumult and tomatoes, and forgotten by Boursnell for 30-odd years. I worked on the fringe of the market for some of this period. From the moment I opened the book, I was hurtled – whoosh! – back across the decades. My head filled with the smell – a mixture of ancient cabbage, fresh salad, Players No.6 and diesel exhaust – of the Piazza. I encountered this olfactory cocktail as I made my way, usually late, often a little the worse for wear, to my place of employment, a small publishers on Endell Street.

A svelter belter: Soprano Deborah Voigt has slimmed down but that fabulous voice is as big as ever

Four years ago, Deborah Voigt hit the headlines by not singing in Ariadne auf Naxos at Covent Garden. The Royal Opera House dropped her from the cast, the reason being that Voigt, possessor of a fine dramatic soprano voice, was too large for the little black dress the production demanded she wear.

Preview: Southbank Sinfonia/Allen/Matthews, Cadogan Hall, London

A glowing example for young singers

Album: Gluck, Alceste – Royal Opera House/Mackerras (Royal Opera House Heritage Series)

Recorded live in December 1981, when period instruments were still a novelty and Gluck's reputation as a dramatist had yet to be fully restored, this vintage performance of 'Alceste' has vitality and freshness.

First Night: The Minotaur, Royal Opera House, London

The human tragedy behind myth fires up this visionary tale

Royal Opera welcomes back Bryn Terfel for Wagnerian reprise at Covent Garden

When Bryn Terfel pulled out of Wagner's Ring cycle last year, the Royal Opera House issued an unusually terse statement, expressing "shock and surprise" at his decision.

Royal Opera House to drop 'shrunken penis' poster

The Royal Opera House has said it will stop using a promotional poster for a Verdi opera after an actor complained that it had been distorted in a demeaning way.

Marina Poplavskaya: At full throttle

Covent Garden calls her 'turbocharged' – and the Russian soprano Marina Poplavskaya certainly lives life in the fast lane, discovers Jessica Duchen

You Write The Reviews: La Traviata, Royal Opera House, London

I booked to see this opera primarily to see Anna Netrebko, whom I had seen last year light up the stage at the Barbican performing arias and duets with Rolando Villazó*. This decision was vindicated when many reviewers and, in particular, Edward Seckerson in this newspaper gave the production five stars and said that "the five stars belong to Anna Netrebko". The last Violetta to cause such a stir was Angela Gheorghiu. So far, so good. As is well documented, however, Netrebko cancelled her next performances. Violetta is a victim of tuberculosis, so it was ironic that she cancelled owing to bronchitis.

Close-up: Claire Ptak

Chez Panisse couldn't hold on to this pastry chef. Can east London do better?

Reading 3 Burnley 2: Reading thrive on the Long strategy

In the end, Burnley's stubborn refusal to give up turned this poorly attended contest at the Madejski Stadium last night into a closely fought Cup tie, but for most of the evening Reading, including nine reserves, seemed to be coasting towards a trip to Newcastle United or Birmingham City in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Nabucco, Opera North, Leeds Town Hall

Egypt looking good. Apart from the man with the stick
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TV Review: Sabotage, a meltdown and, of course, plenty of sauce
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A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
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Louis van Gaal looks dejected after Manchester United's 4-0 defeat by MK Dons on Tuesday night
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Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
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Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
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Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
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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?