Voices

As a hack myself, I ought not to be surprised if I myself become the victim of hackery. But last week I was royally stitched-up and for a moment, I confess, I had a sense of humour failure.

Album review: Sofia Gubaidulina, In Croce (Wergo)

The classical double-bass repertoire is so meagre that even virtuosi like the late Stefano Scodanibbio were forced to create their own material or transcribe works written for other instruments. Scodanibbio's former colleague Daniele Roccato is comparatively spoilt for choice here by Sofia Gubaidulina's pioneering piano duets of the Sixties and Seventies, “Sonata” and “Pantomime”.

Album review: Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld, Still Smiling (Specula)

Blixa Bargeld's collaboration with Italian composer Teho Teardo finds him in fine fettle on a group of typically sardonic songs set to unusual string and electronic arrangements performed with The Balanescu Quartet.

Album review: Keller Quartett, Ligeti String Quartets, Barber Adagio (ECM New Series)

The Keller Quartett are a Hungarian group, here showcasing two of their countryman György Ligeti's astringent string quartets of the Fifties and Sixties, separated by the calm lacuna of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, from the Thirties.

A view of Wembley Stadium

FA deny banning bagpipes from Wembley for match between England and Scotland

The sides meet this August for the first time in 14 years

Album: Sarah Gillespie, glory Days (Pastiche)

Flamenco-dancing pigeons, pumpkin pie, Charlie Sheen and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn all crop up on this British singer-songwriter's Gilad Atzmon-produced third album.

Album: Françoise Hardy, L'Amour Fou (EMI)

Hardy, the 69-year-old Parisienne pop icon, returns with, this time, no generation-hopping collaborations with Anglo-American indie stars.

Album: Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, Je voy le bon tens venir (Alpha)

Early woodwind virtuoso François Lazarevitch, Les Musiciens and the earthy-toned singers Simone Sorini, Enea Sorini and Marc Busnel take us back to the time when street parties lasted a week or more.

Steve Earle & the Dukes (and Duchesses), The Low Highway (New West)

Album review: Steve Earle & the Dukes (and Duchesses), The Low Highway (New West)

Steve Earle's latest album pulls no punches in its survey of the American social landscape. The “low highway” of the title track is a sort of hardship highway travelled by the underclass. It's Springsteen territory, occupied with pride in songs like “21st Century Blues” and the elegiac closer “Remember Me”.

Album: Three Cane Whale, Holts and Hovers (Field Notes)

The second album from the experimental folk-minimalist trio is an all-location recording with 22 instrumentals played in places as various as a Dorset chapel, an allotment shed, a Welsh waterfall, under a flyover, and Regent's Park bandstand.

Album review: Southern Tenant Folk Union, Hello Cold Goodbye Sun (Johnny Rock)

With Hello Cold Goodbye Sun, the Scottish folk group Southern Tenant Folk Union presents its most potent offering since 2010's excellent The New Farming Scene.

IoS album review: Old Crow Medicine Show, Carry Me Back (ATO/Decca)

OCMS are some Virginian’s dream of a marketable bluegrass phenomenon.

Album: The Coup, Sorry To Bother You (Anti-)

The Coup's Boots Riley is the prickly conscience at the hip-hop banquet. "Economics is a symphony of punk and death," he declares in "Strange Arithmetic", demanding folk be told "how to flip this system"; while executives are characterised as cannibalistic monsters in "We've Got A Lot To Teach You, Cassius Green".

Afghan Whigs, Koko, London

Thirteen years since this band last played London, the concerns of singular frontman Greg Dulli have not changed a jot. “Please have sex up there," he asks, eyeing the balconies’ occupants. “I wanna see those ecstasy faces.”

Album: Chris Smither, Hundred Dollar Valentine (CRS/ Signature Sounds)

A first wholly self-composed album by the white-country-bluesman and his furred-over smear of a voice. How big was that bushel?

Album: JACK Quartet, Ligeti, Pintscher, Cage, Xenakis (Wigmore Hall Lve)

New York's JACK Quartet perform with fire and ice on this programme of modernist pieces, operating at the furthest extremes of the dynamic range: virtually inaudible for the sparse scurryings of Matthias Pintscher's Cy Twombly-inspired "Study IV for Treatise on the Veil", furiously brutal for the mass bowing and creaking noises of Xenakis's "Tetras".

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick