Life and Style

Slovakian designer Martin Vargic has mapped out the major sites of the web - click the image above or the gallery below for more detail

Simon Darwen and Laura Elphinstone in Virgin

Theatre review: Virgin, Watford Palace Theatre

Fittingly for a play which is in part about the difficulties of saying what you think, Virgin is a little unclear as to what it thinks it is saying. EV Crowe’s play aims to explore how far our online lives mirror our offline ones, but the internet felt strangely incidental to her story. It could just as easily have been a marketing project for better roads, or a new hospital, and not a scheme to roll out broadband to rural communities, that the play’s central character, Emily (Laura Elphinstone), is trying to convince her male employers to let her lead. In fact, the play is often at its best when it deals straightforwardly with gender politics in the workplace and when the internet is left, so to speak, unconnected. 

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has appealed to the UK's IT experts to sign up to the Joint Cyber Reserve Unit when recruitment opens in October

UK to spend big in drive to create cyber defence force

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond appeals to the UK's IT experts to sign up to the Joint Cyber Reserve Unit when it launches next month

Album review: Agnes Obel, Aventine (Play It Again Sam)

Agnes Obel's 2010 debut Philharmonics grabbed attention through its understatement, eventually achieving quintuple-platinum status in her native Denmark. Aventine follows in like vein: the hushed preciosity of her murmur recalls the similarly understated Ane Brun, while her piano settings are strongly redolent of Erik Satie, especially the opening instrumental "Chord Left", melodically reminiscent of one of the Gnossiennes. Obel's piano and cello arrangements are worked out with Einaudi-esque care and logicality. It's all neatly-dressed, buttoned-down and restrained but sometimes suffocatingly introspective, with lyrics mining a private image bank; even so, some moments cut to the emotional quick.

Album review: Haim, Days Are Gone (Polydor)

Given their status as BBC Sound Of 2013 poll-winners, it's hard not to feel somewhat underwhelmed by Haim's debut album. The LA girl group are pleasant enough - though early descriptions of them as a folk/R&B crossover are absurdly wide of the mark - but there's an insubstantiality at their core. They plug unashamedly into their West Coast heritage: sleek with a veneer of mystique, "Falling" could be a Fleetwood Mac outtake, but the pop-rock of "Forever" and "The Wire" brings to mind the likes of The Bangles and The Go Gos. Even when they attempt something a bit more outré, like the contrast of lumbering drums with sleek harmonies in "My Song 5", it sounds like something off Tusk. Okay, but not much more.

Album review: Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience 2 Of 2 (RCA)

Comprising as it does outtakes from the sessions for The 20/20 Experience, it's hardly surprising there should be a drop-off in quality for this follow-up; but it's a pretty steep fall. With four tracks dragged out beyond seven minutes apiece, longueurs are a serious problem, particularly on "TKO" - Timbaland's irritatingly itchy percussive backdrop sounds like a machine afflicted with fleas. And adding a rotten dub-reggae coda to the already overlong "Only When I Walk Away" simply adds insult to infamy. Elsewhere, the album is awash in vapid bubblebath-soul bleating and feeble falsetto on tracks like the '80s R&B-styled "Take Back The Night", which exposes Justin Timberlake's Michael Jackson fixation as empty imitation.

Album review: Anna Netrebko, Verdi (Deutsche Grammophon)

Anna Netrebko's contribution to the ongoing Verdi bicentennial celebrations opens in startling fashion with a suite of five arias from Macbeth which will surely divide opinion. Personally, I find her delivery here too shrill and imposing. The two songs from Giovanna d'Arco are more evenly modulated, especially the penumbral "O Fatidica Foresta", while the emotional topography of "Mercé, Dilette Amiche" from I Vespri Siciliani is negotiated with compelling subtlety. The most technically testing piece here, the lengthy "Tu Che le Vanità" from Don Carlo, is dispatched with confidence, while her interpretation of the lighter "D'amor Sull'ali Rosee" from Il Trovatore is perfect, its coloratura elements handled with an airily engaging touch.

Fifa 14 vs PES 14: which is the better game?

The twin titans of football gaming duke it out for another year, but which offers the best experience?

Former Pc Gareth Gricks found dead on day he faced child sex charges

A former police officer has been found dead on the day he was due to be charged with a series of serious sexual offences.

Landmark moment for media industry as Lloyd’s List goes digital-only

Daily newspaper has been providing shipping news for marine and insurance industries since 1734

GTA 5: Online - will microtransactions power Rockstar's multiplayer game world?

Discovery of "cash cards" in GTA .xml files suggests that online gamers will be able to use real cash to solve in-game money problems

Haynes confident print manuals will survive

The publishing group behind the ubiquitous Haynes car manual has given a confident forecast about the print market even as revenues fall and fast-growing digital fails to offset that decline.

Saudi women activists have called for a new day of defiance next month of the longstanding ban on women driving.

Saudi women to get behind the wheel on October 26 to defy driving ban

Activists have launched another campaign against the ban on women driving. Their website is urging women to get behind the wheel on 26 October in defiance.

Business week in review

In profit...

Tom Hodgkinson: Bore them round the campfire? You ought to be ashamed of yourselves

As a hack myself, I ought not to be surprised if I myself become the victim of hackery. But last week I was royally stitched-up and for a moment, I confess, I had a sense of humour failure.

GCSEs and A-levels 'will be taken online within 10 years'

All public examinations - including GCSEs and A-levels - will be taken online within the next decade, an independent education chief is forecasting.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own