Arts and Entertainment

“Say ‘hola’ to la luna,” says Damon Albarn, turning thousands of heads towards the full moon that is casting its beautiful glow, adding to a magical atmosphere.

Album: Graham Coxon, The Spinning Top (Transgressive)

On previous solo outings, Graham Coxon's penchant for lo-fi American indie-rock and a rather solipsistic, self-pitying worldview has somewhat hobbled his ability to develop significantly as an artist.

The Five Minute Interview: Dave Rowntree, musician

Dave Rowntree, 44, is best known as the drummer from Britpop band Blur. He joined the band in 1989, playing with them throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Late last year the band ended their period of hiatus and announced a series of summer 2009 concerts. Outside of Blur, Dave is known for his political activism, his animation, and also for his involvement in the Beagle II mission to Mars. Dave is currently studying to become a solicitor and is supporting the Science: So What? So Everything campaign challenging apathy towards science. direct.gov.uk/sciencesowhat.

Stage to page: Has Luke Haines written the great pop masterpiece?

Luke Haines is the latest Britpop survivor to perpetrate a book. In memoir and fiction, musicians and writers hunt the great pop masterpiece. Jonathan Gibbs wonders if anyone ever will find it

Blur are back as Albarn and Coxon make up

Britpop group bury the hatchet seven years after guitarist quit

Alex James: It's park life, but not as you'd imagine it

Rural Notebook

Blur to reunite for gig in the park

Blur are getting back together, it was confirmed on their their website today. All four members of the band will play a concert in London's Hyde Park next summer.

Alex James: Cows are cooler than aeroplanes

Rural Notebook

Make Me A Maestro: Alex James goes to Baton Camp

As Alex James competes to become a conductor in a new BBC reality show, he and his mentor talk to John Elmes

Pandora: Guess who's coming to dinner?

Cheesemaker Alex James has pencilled in an unusual dinner guest: the Colombian Vice-President. The Blur bassist turned Independent columnist, who for years stuffed marching powder up his toot, went to the wartorn state to film a Panorama about the cocaine industry and the associated kidnappings, landmines, refugees and habitat destruction.

Open Eye: Hirst and Blur back Beagle2

Artist Damien Hirst has joined musicians from the band Blur in backing Beagle2, the Mars lander championed by Professor Colin Pillinger of the OU's Planetary Sciences Research Institute.

Lonely hearts let bridge do the trick

SO HOW do you think Radiohead and Blur pass those long hours on the tour bus? No, it's not drugs, nor sex, not even over-consumption of vodka. The lads like nothing better than a rubber of bridge.

Arts: Pop: Back on song

BLUR BBC HIPPODROME THEATRE LONDON

Open Eye: ESA gives green light to Beagle 2

The European Space Agency (ESA) has given the green light to Beagle 2, the British Mars lander vehicle being developed by a consortium led by the OU's Professor Colin Pillinger. The decision came at a meeting in Paris in November, when ESA also approved the European mission, Mars Express, which will carry Beagle 2 to the planet in 2004. Beagle's mission is to search for evidence of extra-terrestrial life, and its payload will include miniaturised scientific instruments designed and built by the Planetary Sciences Research Institute team at the OU.

Killing Britpop, then kicking the corpse

Are Blur the new Sex Pistols? Yes, if their punked-up, perversely uncommercial Newcastle gig was anything to go by; ROCK
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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'