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

Iran cabinet ministers all sign up to Facebook - despite social media site being banned

Hope of a more open approach to the internet from new government after 15 ministers sign-up

Album: Jonas Kaufmann, The Best of Jonas Kaufmann (Decca)

Though now acknowledged as a modern master of Wagnerian interpretation, Jonas Kaufmann first made his reputation playing a range of French and German operatic heroes for conductors such as Abbado, Pappano and Gardiner.

What we lost with the dial-up internet connection

There was a quality in its slowness that we sacrificed in the move to broadband

Dogs take 'selfies' at Battersea Cats And Dogs Home in bid to attract new owners

Dogs at Battersea Cats and Dogs Home have been taking ‘selfies’ in a bid to attract new owners with their pouty profiles.

Claire Perry

Teach children about web porn, says Tory MP Claire Perry

NSPCC research claims children believe internet pornography dictates how they should behave in a sexual relationship

Using computer technology ‘could save state £10bn a year’

Civil servants could cut the cost of government by £70bn in seven years just by making more use of computer technology, a think-tank report out today claims.

Five questions about: Getting online

Isn't that a picture of World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks?

Album review: Paul McCreesh, Britten: War Requiem (Signum Classics)

The latest in Paul McCreesh's presentations of large-scale oratorios again uses the massed forces of the Gabrieli Consort & Players with the Wrocław Philharmonic Choir – more than 300 performers in all. The result is another triumphant realisation of a complex, multi-layered work, in which Benjamin Britten contrasted arrangements of the traditional Latin texts, with more modern passages featuring William Owen's war poetry. It's a dynamic most shockingly effective in the “Dies Irae” section, where the vaunting, “wondrous sound” of its choir and trumpets is summarily dismissed by “voices of old despondency resigned”, before the pieties of divine expectation are routed by the cavalier resignation of “Out there, we've walked quite friendly up to Death”.

Album review: Nine Inch Nails, Hesitation Marks (Polydor)

The album title apparently refers to the tentative blade-testing marks made by potential suicides and self-harmers, and the music remains a suitably scarified blend of electronic noise and prickly synthetic beats, at its best evoking the urgent trepidation of “Copy Of A”, a fretful piece about loss of identity and programmed responses. The scuttling pulses and itchy rhythms drive Trent Reznor's explorations of alienation, loneliness, self-hatred, surveillance paranoia and mind control, which on tracks like “Satellite” and “Various Methods Of Escape” recall Cabaret Voltaire's pioneering work of three decades ago, albeit more slickly sculpted for chart action A nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live here.

Album review: The King's Consort/ Robert King, Monteverdi: Heaven And Earth (Vivat)

Originally recorded in 2002 for a private client, this album of Monteverdi's love songs is peerlessly performed and faultlessly recorded. It opens with the “Toccata” from Orfeo, a triumphal fanfare, before vocal works explore Monteverdi's innovations - his use of dissonance to evoke the pains of love, and devising of the descending ground-bass figure underscoring the soprano of “Lamento Della Ninfa”, Carolyn Sampson's lead punctuated by male voices. Sampson is clear over waves of harpsichord, strings and horns in “Dal Mio Permesso”, while the interplay of tenors Charles Daniels and James Gilchrist in “Zefiro Torna” is a playful pairing of noble timbres.

Album review: Antonio Pappano, Sacred Verdi (Warner Classics)

Shifting attention momentarily from Verdi's operas, Antonio Pappano and the orchestra and chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia here focus on the composer's religious works, mostly drawn from late in his career. It's a smoothly-sequenced set, opening with the hushed, austere pieties of the acappella “Ave Maria”, a choral work set around an unorthodox scale, before moving into the impassioned, majestic tragedy of “Stabat Mater”, which nonetheless retains a certain pious reserve despite the large forces involved. Closing the album is “Libera Me”, originally intended as Verdi's part of a collaborative mass commemorating Rossini - an idea abandoned for financial reasons.

Album review: Neko Case, The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You... (Anti-)

Emerging from a three-year bout of bereavement-induced grief and depression, Neko Case here offers a song-cycle that takes her from the looming portents of “Wild Creatures”, through a series of allusive ruminations on identity, anxiety, womanhood and home, finally reaching closure of sorts with a paean to the uplifting sound of “Ragtime”. It's a journey full of twists and turns, mapped out by Case and producer Tucker Martine in dense, often claustrophobic arrangements, the anxious lyrics trapped by layers of instruments in songs like “Night Still Comes” and “Man”. Even the acappella track “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu”seems choked with layered backing vocals. Not an easy listen, but a satisfying one.

Album review: Babyshambles, Sequel To The Prequel (Parlophone)

Like Trent Reznor, Pete Doherty remains ever faithful to his own concerns and his own musical style; but unlike Reznor, he overestimates the ramshackle charm of Babyshambles, which grows threadbare long before the end of Sequel To The Prequel. The bawled slur that passes for Doherty's vocals is less agreeable the older he gets, while the flaccid grunge plaints and raggedy punk thrashes have diminishing appeal. The best track by a country mile is the reggae skank “Doctor No”, whose tight, persuasive groove sounds like a different band entirely. Sadly, it's a lonely outpost of focused spirit here.

Album review: Goodie Mob, Age Against The Machine (Warner Brothers)

In the 14 years since World Party, CeeLo Green has entirely overshadowed his former Goodie Mob friends, and that dynamic dominates this comeback reunion album. Which is no bad thing: whether he's blurting out a lyric about “white power” over a Moody Blues sample (“Power”) or joyously remembering “my very first white girl” (“Amy”), CeeLo burns with a fierce creative fire. Luckily, he's managed to hoist his old bandmates to a comparable level, and the result is a set of gripping, euphoric grooves carrying raps that indicate a new-found maturity.

With a dark, autumnal colour palette and plenty of quirky touches, the Abigail Ahern Debenham's collection launches on 1 September. It includes this schnauzer cushion. £40, and a rather fine hare table lamp, £85, debenhams.com

Dark side of the room

Abigail Ahern’s new range for Debenhams blends quirky animal life with darker tones. It isn’t what you’d call bright and breezy, says Trish Lorenz

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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

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Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
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10 best PS4 games

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Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

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Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

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Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference