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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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
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Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
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Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

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Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

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If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

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...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

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The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

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Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

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