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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John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
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healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
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Other places that have held independence referendums
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Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
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Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

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Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's most starring part
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Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
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We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable
science

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona from £949pp
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro from £799pp
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Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples from £759
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Prices correct as of 12 September 2014
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week