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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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
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas