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I have just returned from a series of lectures on Holocaust archaeology. They were engaging and serious, but the discussion was ruined by a callous argument about the Roma victims of the Holocaust.

You know there is a drought of good music when swathes of the music press tell you Marks to Prove It, by the Maccabees, is the album of the summer. So in the never-ending search for new and exciting music, I have spent the last month buying reissues and crate digging.

Fascists are at the heart of protests against refugees in Italy that have already forced the evacuation of around 100 migrants from a town in the north of the country.

We are witnessing the sickening spectacle of a wall being erected in Hungary to stop refugees who are fleeing persecution from entering the country.

The protest song is back and its return can be dated precisely to 9 August 2014. On that day a police officer shot and murdered an 18 year old black man, Michael Brown. Since then, we have seen a number of artists produce songs of rage, lament and protest.

There has been nobody like Nina Simone. But too few realise today what a towering artistic figure she was in her lifetime and what an inspiration she can still be.