Independent Plus

Album: American Aquarium, Burn. Flicker. Die. (Blue Rose)

Fronted by songwriter BJ Barham, American Aquarium are a heartland rock band from North Carolina with a serious Springsteen habit and, by the sound of it, serious anxieties about the lives they're living.

Dame Julie Andrews: The Sound of Music star lost her vocal range after surgery

Julie Andrews tops poll of Christmas telly

Julie Andrews has been crowned the Queen of Christmas television in a new poll to find our festive favourites.

This week's wackiest web stories: Batmobile for sale plus was Churchill the first hipster?

Mohamed Morsi on Planet of the Apes and a follow up story on the regrettable Romney face tattoo

The Wizard of Oz has become one of television's best-loved Christmas traditions

The $480,000 dress : The Wizard of Oz dress is sold in a Hollywood auction

Couture ballgowns regularly sell for thousands of pounds, but those dresses are made to measure from expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail. The blue gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz is a rather more humble affair.

The 'blue marble' shot from Apollo 17

Watch the entire history of the planet in under two minutes

Curious about the history of our planet, but quite busy today? Internet artists melodysheep have the solution. They've edited together various pieces of footage and some lovely music to create a visualisation of the entire history of our planet in under two minutes.

John Clive: Actor who also wrote thrillers

Early years in Liverpool gave him the perfect voice for John Lennon in the animated ‘Yellow Submarine’ film

Are all beautiful women boring? Samantha Brick strikes again

As a recent study claimed that attractive people tend to conform, and hence are more likely to be boring, Samantha Brick has offered her beautiful opinion on the topic.

A macabre makeover: This is a golden age for horror on the small screen

From zombies to sadistic nuns and reboots of everyone from Hannibal Lecter to The Munsters, Sarah Hughes reports (from behind the sofa)

Here, in case it's, our hero is in a fountain, adding 'blue steel' to an already string-heavy bow

Doing the 50: (Please don't) come dine with me

Sheffield third-year James Ashford is determined to do all 50 things The Independent once foolishly suggested all students should do before they leave uni. The results are... churlish and asinine.

Scholarship Sheffield style. He isn't even carrying any books!

Doing the 50: 'I don't like to talk about my charity work...'

Sheffield third-year James Ashford is bored of the student existence. His Philosophy degree unfulfilling, he was tired of doing nothing. Then, he discovered The Independent's ultimate list of 50 things to do before leaving uni. Now he's a man with purpose, and today he's five steps closer to 50.

90-second clip of Adele's Bond theme 'Skyfall' leaks online

Whether it was a genuine leak or a marketing teaser, James Bond fans today had their first taste of the latest blockbuster’s theme tune as sung by British golden girl Adele.

Editorial: 24/7 Bond? Even 007 needs a break sometimes

It is not that the release of Skyfall is unworthy of fanfare, particularly given that it coincides with the 50th anniversary of James Bond's first ever outing (in Dr No). BSkyB's decision to launch an entire channel dedicated to the exploits of 007 and his Walther PPK is, however, rather missing the point.

Pink Panther star Herbert Lom dies

Herbert Lom, the Czech-born actor best known as Inspector Clouseau's long-suffering boss in the "Pink Panther" movies, died Thursday, his son said. He was 95.

'The Departed' tops poll of best film remakes

Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning film The Departed has been named the best movie remake in a poll of film fans.

Elvis undies, unwashed, the latest celeb pants up for sale

A pair of underpants that once belonged to Elvis Presley are expected to fetch £10,000 when they go up for auction in Manchester next month. An added bonus for the would-be buyer is that the light-blue boxers come unwashed and with genuine Elvis stains, which came when he wore them underneath a white jumpsuit, during a show in 1977.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home