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The Independent Culture
Pop: The Dears (Academy, Birmingham)

Last year, these Canadians debuted in the UK with a sell-out tour and earned critical acclaim for their passionate, Brit-flavoured pop-rock. (0121-262 3000) tonight

Talks: Alain de Botton (Borders, Oxford)

The writer and broadcaster talks about Status Anxiety, in which he explains why the majority of us crave status more than we do money. (01865 203901) tonight

Classical: Helene Grimaud (Royal Festival Hall, London)

The pianist contrasts the Second Sonatas of Chopin, and Rachmaninov, after essaying the former's Barcarolle in F sharp and Berceuse in D flat. (0870 380 0400) tonight

ZComedy: Ed Byrne (Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury)

This comedian is a master of the comic diversion and "strange but true" observations that catch audiences squarely under the ribcage. (01227 769075) tonight

Pop: The Duke Spirit (The Social, Nottingham)

Fronted by the mesmeric vocalist Liela Moss, this London quintet pursue a murky blues-pop route, giving it lots of drive and thrills. (0115-950 5078) tonight