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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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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
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?