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'We were exotic strangers competing for notches on the bedpost'

Il tabarro / Gianni Schicchi, Hackney Empire, London<br/>Dialogues des Carm&#233;lites, Guildhall School of Music, London

Greedy relatives scramble to the finish in order to inherit in a Puccini comedy, while Poulenc's gift is pathos

Il tabarro/Gianni Schicchi, English Touring Opera, Hackney Empire

English Touring Opera are on the road again, and as their Puccini double-bill demonstrates, are on top form. The curtain rises on a rusty, dusty, smoky quayside by the Seine, as the small orchestra does a fine imitation of a large one to evoke gently rocking boats and the palpitations of suppressed love. Thus does ‘Il tabarro’ – ‘the cloak’ – embark on its doom-laden course.

Mogwai, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London

It's sobering to realise that Mogwai have now been on the scene for 15 years. No longer the Blur-baiting noisenik upstarts, they're probably now the elder statesmen of the entire post-rock movement, and they have the pattern baldness to match.

Vicar hits out at council's ban on lapdancing clubs

Move will only drive sex workers underground

Louboutin: The very sole of Shoreditch

East London's Shoreditch is set to become a mini Bond Street, with a raft of upmarket brands eyeing the area. Parisian high-end footwear retailer Christian Louboutin – whose shoes sell for more than £350 a pair – is in talks to take a store on Redchurch Street.

Jason Lytle, Hoxton Bar and Kitchen, London

Maybe you think you haven't heard of Jason Lytle.

Mark Ronson and the Business Intl, Hackney Empire, London

He keeps producing the goods

Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, Hackney Empire, London

They were once "two idiots dancing toward a canyon" and tonight Russell Brand, who coined that phrase on his last live tour, and Jonathan Ross were reunited publicly for the first time since Sachsgate.

First Night: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, Hackney Empire, London

Brand and Ross reunited for an inoffensive new chapter

Abandoman: Pic 'n' Mixtape, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

There are three phrases you need to understand the Irish hip-hop improv duo Abandoman. "I'm like y'know", "I gotta say" and "What can I say?" No need to memorise them, you'll be hearing them a lot. In fact, they feature in every composition the outfit conjures up.

Christina Patterson: Why is social housing such a mess?

What started as a much-needed escape route from the slums that were, for decades, the working classes' only accommodation option, has become a racket

Manners, multiculturalism, and the battle of Stamford Hill

An 'Independent' columnist's attack on the alleged rudeness of the London suburb's Jewish residents has provoked a fevered debate. Was she right? Jerome Taylor reports

Album: Professor Green, Alive Till I'm Dead (Virgin)

If you've switched on the radio this summer, you'll already have heard Professor Green's utterly functionless, and funkless, cover of SOS Band's "Just Be Good to Me" which proves that "feat Lily Allen" is a caveat on a par with "may cause nausea".

Inside/Outside Cinema pays homage to Mary Wollstonecraft

Dalston residents may be surprised to learn that Mary Wollstonecraft once lived on their doorstep. The 18th-century feminist and commentator was born in Spitalfields and set up a school for girls on Newington Green. And tomorrow, at a one-night only, pop-up Inside/Outside Cinema in Gillett Square, there's a chance to find out more about her life and legacy.

Male stripper quits teaching job

A male teacher decided to leave his job after his pupils discovered he was moonlighting as a stripper, it emerged today.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?