News Chris Hadfield has agreed to take on the role of cultural ambassador for Ireland

Chris Hadfield, the singing astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station, has taken on a role as cultural ambassador for Ireland.

Observations: Ryuichi Sakamoto's unchained melodies

"I am just trying to avoid being a slave to the old musical system," says Ryuichi Sakamoto of his new CD, Out of Noise. "I was doing that when I was 18, but then came a long detour into pop and film music. I now want to get back to my roots." And the world's most eccentric singer-songwriter gives a self-deprecating laugh: that detour included modelling for Gap, playing a sadistic prison guard opposite David Bowie, co-starring with Madonna in the video for Rain, and composing the music for a long list of feature films, including Shirin Neshat's 2009 Women Without Men.

Jonathan Ross buys David Bowie self-portrait for £20,000

Jonathan Ross forked out £20,000 at a charity auction last night for a self-portrait of his hero, David Bowie.

Crombie keeps out the cold winds of recession

Crombie, the gentleman's outfitter that built its brand on the Crombie Covert Coat, is to open concessions in 11 more House of Fraser stores next month. A Crombie spokesman said demand for the garment – which started life as a hunting coat at the start of the 20th century and is still a snitch at £675 – is booming despite lean times.

Story of the Song: Space Oddity, David Bowie (1969)

Major Tom, David Bowie's first musical alter ego, shot to fame in "Space Oddity".

Terry O'Neill - Chairman of the boardwalk

Frank Sinatra arrives at Miami beach with his entourage (including his stand-in, dressed in an identical suit and less well-dressed beefy minders) while filming 'The Lady In Cement' in 1968.

My Fantasy Band: Donald Cumming, The Virgins

Vocals - The Everly Brothers
I love their sound. Those guys really had their own thing going on. But if this really is my fantasy, I'd have Skip James, Neil Young and Bo Diddley singing on stage with them too. That would be epic.

Camille O'Sullivan, The Roundhouse, London

From the impressive list of five-star reviews on her posters, one would assume that Camille O'Sullivan had been bringing her own brand of cabaret to the British public for years. While the buzz around O'Sullivan might have been building since she took to the stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2007, this is her first full UK tour – a test not just for the songstress but for the nascent cabaret revival which she represents.

Boy George, Pigalle Club, London

"I know sometimes it's easy to get confused," Boy George says, "but this is what I do." The darkness he has requested on stage has finally dropped, and he is singing "If I Could Fly", which twists into the heart of heroin addiction. In his make-up, beard shaved only this morning, he looks like a larger version of the old George the nation loved. His forthcoming sentence for false imprisonment will take its course, but by the time he has finished tonight, I've forgiven him everything else.

In the spotlight: How Camille O'Sullivan sashayed from the drawing board to the cabaret stage

A near-fatal car crash inspired a young architect to swap the drawing board for the cabaret stage

Win VIP Womad tickets

Britain's best world music festival takes place this month – and we've got 50 pairs of tickets to give away. Sound good? Then tackle our quiz...

Album: Seu Jorge, America Brasil (Discos Como No)

Seu Jorge first made his name as an actor, playing Knockout Ned in City of God.

Injuries force Hadden into major reshuffle

When the fog cleared around Murrayfield yesterday and Frank Hadden came to reveal his team for Saturday's Six Nations Championship encounter in Dublin, Scotland's head coach was accompanied by his two assistants, Alan Tait and George Graham. David Bowie might have been a more appropriate companion, because "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes" was very much the theme of the late-morning announcement in the Hawthorn Suite.

Lib Dems recruit Eno as advisor

The former Roxy Music keyboard wizard Brian Eno has been enlisted as the Liberal Democrat leader's adviser on reaching out to young people.

Owen Frampton

Art-teacher father of Peter Frampton whose pupils also included the future David Bowie
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee