Arts and Entertainment

Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Hell's angels: Hellebores add some cold-season cheer

Winter bedding is not the most glamorous of ideas. Especially when it comes to those acres of monocolour pansies. It's sort of an amazing achievement to ruin the pansy – they are this great, characterful little flower, in bright colours, with spirited little markings on their faces, which they hold up high to the sun. But ruin them people consistently do: stroll into your local DIY shop in the next few weeks and there will be polystyrene trays of them by the hundred, stacked and ready for non-gardeners to progressively kill over the coming months.

Led Zeppelin

Fancy sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll? Just press 'play' on your live DVD

DVDs of live performances are selling in their millions, often bought by fans who were at the gig and want a memento.

Government under pressure to halt preparations for the badger cull after e-petition

The Government is under pressure to halt preparations for the badger cull after an e-petition launched by Queen guitarist Brian May forced a debate in the House of Commons.

Television choices: More operatic aspirations for free-thinking Mercury

TV pick of the week: Freddie Mercury - The Great Pretender: An Imagine Special

Jimmy Page says 'no' to Led Zeppelin reunion

Led Zeppelin will not be reuniting any time soon.

Last night's viewing - Wonderland: I Was Once a Beauty Queen, BBC2; The Great Train Robbery, ITV1

"Beauty queens belong to an era when everyone was sweet and lovely and nobody did anything wrong," said Tracy Dodds in Hannah Berryman's film about the heyday of the beauty contest. The remark turned out to be not quite as ingenuous as it sounded. Dodds was commenting sardonically on her own unexpectedly short possession of the Miss Great Britain title, which she relinquished when it emerged that she'd posed for topless shots before the contest. But the first time you encountered it, in the opening sequence to Wonderland: I Was Once a Beauty Queen, it was also undercut by a coincidence that Berryman surely couldn't have predicted when she made her film. As Dodds recalled her first steps on the road to beauty pageant glory – her parents had written to her school saying she'd got tonsillitis so that she could enter Miss New Brighton – you saw an image of the local newspaper reporting on her subsequent victory. And the celebrity giving her a congratulatory peck on the cheek looked uncannily like Jimmy Savile. Beauty contests were primetime family entertainment back in the Seventies, but I bet there were some backstage angles from which they didn't look anything like as cheesily guileless.

My Fantasy Band: Beth Jeans Houghton

'Rodriguez is pretty much sex on vocal chords'

Pappy's: Last Show Ever, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

After some muted outings, the sketch group Pappy's are back to their lovable best, on the kind of form that saw them shortlisted for Edinburgh's comedy award in 2007 and will probably get them a place on this year's list, too.

Folk singer Scott McKenzie, whose hit 'San Francisco' soundtracked the flower power movement, dies aged 73

Scott McKenzie, the folk singer who provided a global anthem for the 60s “flower power” movement, has died aged 73.

Fantasy Band: Aiden Grimshaw

'Jack White's a sick frontman. And he has that great hair'

Fantasy Band: Sen Dog, Cypress Hill

'I don't think there has been a more important collaboration to this day since Run-DMC and Aerosmith doing "Walk This Way"'

Album: Joe Jackson, The Duke (Ear Music)

In his Eighties pomp, Jackson contributed a superb arrangement of "Round Midnight" to a Thelonious Monk tribute album, but this new homage to Ellington works as superior adult-pop rather than jazz.

Beat that: gnaoua musicians perform in Essaouira

Trail of the unexpected: Essaouira, Morocco

This relaxed port city is full of rhythm. Linda Cookson heard it ... all along the watchtower

Leading article: Ziggy played the stock market

The Fender Stratocaster: those words alone are enough to send shivers down the spine of anyone with an ounce of rock'n'roll in them. But the grandiloquent nomenclature is one thing – the musical instrument itself quite another.

Observations: Take a break in a cottage that has a creative past

Rather than renting the same old boring Cornish cottage, how about staying in a bolthole with a creative past?

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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003