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The Miles Davis standard “So What” has been a modal jazz touchstone for 55 years, providing the harmonic canvas for myriad improvisations and reinterpretations.

A Short History of England, By Simon Jenkins

Concision necessitates truncation. Tackling the same theme, Peter Ackroyd goes back 900,000 years, though he has the luxury of six projected volumes to tell the national story. Jenkins starts around 500 AD, when Angles arrived "from the 'angle' of Germany in Schleswig-Holstein, lending their name to East Anglia and eventually to England itself." Within 30 pages, he has raced through Augustine, Alfred, Cnut and William's surprisingly dicey invasion to the death of the Conqueror, where he inserts a spot of pungent colour from a contemporary source: "The swollen bowels burst and an intolerable stench assailed the nostrils of bystanders."

Emily Jupp: Paraphernalia makes death an expensive business

I've been thinking a lot about death lately. Not in a morbid, metaphysical way. More in a practical way. It just seems to cost so much. Like the wedding industry, the funeral industry is an expensive business, inflated by unnecessary pomp and circumstance. The most recent estimate says it rakes in £1.5bn each year. Like taxes, of course, it's something we'll all have to pay for, sooner or later. But what's the point? Isn't spending loads on your funeral just like planning a massive party that you don't even get to attend?

The Labour Conference Diary: David Miliband anxious to sing from the same hymn sheet

As the camera scans the audience during Ed Miliband's big speech this afternoon, one face it will not alight on is David Miliband's. Aware of the damage it could cause if he were to be caught with one facial muscle out of place, the leader's elder brother high-tailed it out of Manchester yesterday.

David Blunkett on why our political class are despised

As the Labour Party conference gets underway, former Home and Education Secretary David Blunkett has issued a stark warning in today's Daily Mail about the decline in trust towards the political class. His analysis is not so far off that off Independent founder Andreas Whittam Smith, whose response was Democracy2015.

Mohamed Sajid (left) and Qamar Shazad (right) were convicted in May of being part of a child sex ring in Rochdale, which they ran from the Balti Curry house

Child sex abuse ‘widespread in UK’ – not just in Asian areas

A two-year inquiry into the sexual exploitation of children is set to reveal abuse across the country

Megan Stammers' tweets to teacher

With no sign of runaway pair Megan Stammers and 30-year-old maths teacher Jeremy Forrest, online trails are under scrutiny. Byrony Gordon of The Daily Telegraph picks up signs of contact on Twitter.

Alison Williamson in the Beijing Games where she narrowly missed out on a bronze medal

Archer Alison Williamson sets sights on glory in latest chapter of amazing tale

Shropshire's finest has hit 40 and taken part in six Games but she is still hungry for gold, she tells Simon Turnbull

Neanderthal man's 'life of domesticity'

Neanderthal man may have preferred domestic chores to a rugged hunter-gatherer lifestyle, researchers have said.

Military veterans parade during an Independence day ceremony in Juba yesterday

South Sudan independence celebrations marred by threat of war

Military veterans parade during an Independence day ceremony in Juba yesterday while tens of thousands gathered under a sweltering sun to celebrate the first birthday of the world's youngest nation – an event marred by dire economic hardships and a near-constant threat of war.

Album: Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, Hidden People (Navigator)

Husband-and-wife team Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman have many associations with the folk scene, notably with Lakeman's brother Seth and Roberts' fellow South Yorkshire siren Kate Rusby.

Hamleys releases its list of predicted top-selling Christmas gifts

Children will be pretending to be Mods, poking virtual monsters in the eye and boxing their family this Christmas, according to one of the world's largest toy shops.

Out of bounds! Caddie caught hiding extra club in bush

Jose Manuel Lara has been disqualified from the BMW International Open in Cologne after his caddie tried to hide the fact that the Spaniard began the event with an extra club in his bag.

Relief at Spanish bailout likely to boost markets

Politicians, shareholders, traders and consumers across the world will have their eyes trained on the markets today, in the hope that Spain's request for a €100bn banking bailout over the weekend will restore credibility to the country's banks and boost shares in the UK, Europe, the US and Asia.

Acting editor of The Archers moves to reassure fans after fears it will become more like Eastenders

The Archers will not become more like EastEnders, the acting editor of the world’s oldest soap opera has promised, after backtracking on comments which provoked concern from listeners.

Pep Guardiola: Victory tonight will give the departing coach his 14th trophy since 2008

Barça hope to give Guardiola an emotional send-off

Pep Guardiola's glorious reign as Barcelona manager will end tonight with the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao at the Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid. Victory would mean Guardiola ending his four-year tenure at the Nou Camp with his 14th trophy – the perfect end to the best spell at a European club side for a generation. This date has been marked since, one month ago, the former Barça midfielder announced he would step down.

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Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
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Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
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Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
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Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
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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
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices