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?
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015