Arts and Entertainment

The parade of musicians onto the Barbican stage has Norma Waterson at its centre, and there's a chair centre-stage for her, set between daughter Eliza and niece Marry, and spread either side stand musical friends and family – Martin Carthy, Olly Knight and Neill MacColl on guitars, multi-instrumentalist Kate St John, brilliant husky-voiced young singer John Smith duetting with an assured Kami Thompson, and committed turns from Richard Hawley and Jarvis Cocker, stick-thin enough to really do "The Scarecrow", one of many strange and wonderful works to trip from the mind of Lal Waterson.

Second string Lane can lift Wigmore to concert pitch

A teeming, perspiring crowd and a first prize of nearly £100,000 for one of the most frantically contested handicaps of the year will together make the Knavesmire no place for faint hearts this afternoon. What a test of nerve, then, awaits Martin Lane when hoisted into the saddle on Wigmore Hall before the John Smith's Cup.

Harman takes over until next leader is chosen

Gordon Brown resigned immediately as Labour leader following the collapse of talks on creating a Lib-Lab coalition. Aides, however, denied that he was planning to stand down as an MP, just days after being re-elected as MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

The Brown paradox

His 'psychological flaws' have become notorious. And yet, says Donald Macintyre, Gordon Brown may just have saved his party

Death crash court hearing postponed

A court hearing involving a teenager charged over a crash in which a 10-year-old boy was killed has been postponed.

McCoy captures his National spurs

The most brilliant jump jockey of all time lands his first victory in the greatest show on turf at the 15th attempt

McCoy in form and pushing to break his duck

If determination had anything to do with it, Tony McCoy would have satisfied that craving for a first National winner years ago.

Kalahari King set to rule back on familiar turf

His wholehearted response to Tony McCoy in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham last month was insufficient to rid Albertas Run of the notorious Timeform squiggle, awarded to especially unreliable or uncommitted animals. Perhaps that will change if he digs deep for another Grade One prize at Aintree today, just 22 days after a hard race, but for now you could not know what to expect of a horse who made hard work of a distant third in the equivalent contest last year.

Murphy ready to pull Mr Pointment

Trainer willing to sacrifice place to get form contender Cerium into National field

Outside the Box: Have it! Pint of John Smith's tempts Gary Mac to play again

One of the more unlikely transfers of the season has been Tadcaster Albion's acquisition of the former Leeds and Scotland captain Gary McAllister for a signing-on fee of a pint of ale and a sports drink. The Albion manager, Paul Marshall, had played alongside him in an over-45 veterans competition and after making the offer "half-jokingly", was stunned by McAllister's acceptance. The deal, he said, was completed at the bar over a pint of John Smith's and a Lucozade Sport. With Tadcaster only one point behind the leaders Brighouse Town and having three games in hand, McAllister, who hasn't played yet, should be in line for another glittering honour to add to his 57 Scottish caps, League championship, FA Cup and Uefa Cup: the Koolsport Northern Counties East League Division One title.

Rise of the microbrewery: Small but perfectly formed

Artisan breweries are enjoying a rise in sales while mass-marketed lagers and keg beers suffer. By Roger Protz

Stotsfold's speed to whet appetite for the Flat

Only the most heroic punting appetite will remain unsatisfied after the past four days. Happily, however, the racing calendar tends to introduce a sorbet at just the right stage of the banquet. So while the Festival is over, Flat racing resumes on turf next weekend – not to mention the richest meeting in history, in Dubai – and a fortnight later many Cheltenham stars will reconvene at Aintree. And both themes are usefully anticipated by today's televised action, which features a Grand National trial and the climax of the all-weather Flat season.

Michael Foot would rather lose with honour than cheat to win a battle

John Smith, the former Labour Party leader, used to tell a story about Michael Foot from the dying days of the 1970s Labour government.

Brown reveals feelings about daughter's death

PM admits to fights with Blair and holds back tears in his most intimate interview

The art of diary writing

January signals not only the arrival of a new year – for many, it will also open another chapter of obsessive diary-writing. What drives these solitary scribblers? Tim Walker delves into their secret world

Margereta Pagano: Should they stay or should they go?

Chancellor Alistair Darling's punitive PBR has provoked a fightback by the Square Mile and could even lead to a new brain drain
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor