The Loose Salute, Borderline, London

The Loose Salute are one of the few country-style UK bands who might leave a real Southern honky-tonk dive alive. Where most alt. country fellow-travellers favour songwriting styles of stark desolation, this band communicate pleasure at the sheer good luck of being alive, through danceable, steel guitar-heavy pop.

The 'Mother of the Blues' gets a museum at last

She was often called the "Mother of the Blues", her real name was Gertrude Pridgett, but she was much better known to her fans as "Ma" Rainey. A bisexual performer, she lived a life of whiskey-soaked controversy in the era of prohibition. She was also one of the earliest professional blues singers.

The Dream Maker, by Mikka Haugaard

Great Dane creates a rambling, playful novel of wit, flair and invention

Budget set to increase duty on spirits

The first increase in the excise duty on spirits since 1997 is expected to be announced in next week's Budget as part of the Government's attempts to combat binge drinking.

Diageo toasts growth in Guinness sales

Drinks giant Diageo today toasted a return to growth for Guinness in the UK and Ireland. The company said the turnaround of the iconic pint in a declining beer market followed a major advertising push in the second half of 2007.

India's new status symbol: a nation hits the bottle

As India's economy grows, the middle class is hunting for the latest waysto flaunt its affluence. Andrew Buncombe reports from Delhi on the growing popularity of the grape in a nation more famous for its tea

The Week Ahead: Diageo's spirit can see off chill winds from US

Diageo, the drinks giant behind some of the most iconic brands in the business, including Johnnie Walker whisky, Guinness and Baileys Irish cream, is due to publish its first-half results on Thursday. It has been a busy couple of weeks for the company: soon after swallowing Californian wine maker Rosenblum Cellars for $105m (£53m), Diageo paid $900m for half of Ketel One, the Netherlands-based premium vodka brand. Ketel, which sells more than half of its 1.9 million 12-bottle cases in the United States, will sit well beside the company's current collection of mass market and premium vodka.

Album: Drive-By Truckers

Brighter Than Creation's Dark, New West

Terence Blacker: Ken's thoughts on alcohol? I'll drink to that ...

It is absolutely pointless being censorious about this national affection for celebrity boozers

Mathew Norman: Ken: a hideous hybrid of Blair and Brown

Some eight years ago, I sat in an office and listened to the Prime Minister treat a newspaper conference to his thoughts on Ken Livingstone's London mayoral bid. Ken, so Mr Tony Blair assured us, would be a catastrophe for the city, the country, the continent, the planet and the galaxy (I exaggerate, but very slightly). His lethal brand of retrograde Marxist orthodoxy would bring us to our knees, he chided, and anyone who thought otherwise was naïve to the point of dementia.

Iran's denial of Holocaust harms Arab cause, Palestine activist tells president

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has come under attack for his views on the Holocaust from an unexpected quarter - a Palestinian activist recently freed after 18 years in an Israeli jail.

Preview: Duke Bluebeard's Castle/Erwartung, Royal Opera House, London

The dangers of digging into a soul's secrets

Jack Johnson: Beach boy

Jack Johnson provided a soundtrack for backpackers all over the world. And now he's America's Number 1. But there's a problem with selling so many millions of albums: like, when do you fit in surf time, dude?
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine