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.

England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
Novak Djokovic has been attending the Buddhapadipa Temple for quiet contemplation for several years
wimbledonBuddhapadipa Temple is regular refuge for the world No 1
Life and Style
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Lewis Hamilton takes pole on front of his home fans
Arts and Entertainment
British singer 'Lonelady' performing in Bourges (Getty)
musicMONEY, Lonelady, Dr Meaker... Which ones have you heard of?
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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 15 May 2015
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'