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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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before