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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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
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
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