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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Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
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The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
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Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
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Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave 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
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Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
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Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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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