Arts and Entertainment

You may be wondering, with his former protégé Plan B at the top of his game, why we still need Mike Skinner, a previous generation's white British social-realist rapper. The fact is that, while Ben Drew's forte is surveying the bigger political picture, few songwriters around can zoom in and focus on fine detail as skilfully as Skinner.

The Streets to quit after next album

Mike Skinner has said that The Streets will make one final album after their next release, but he might come back for more when he was "40 and broke".

The Streets of Babylon, By Carina Burman, trs Sarah Death

It's 1851 and Euthanasia Bondeson, the Swedish novelist, and her niece Agnes are in London, visiting the Great Exhibition. Euthanasia, the narrator, is self-centred, bullish and blessed with a talent for writing: ("The sun knew blood had been spilled during the night. Its gleam spread crimson across the sea, for the sun cared little for the horrifying deed that had been done"); while Agnes is "always getting lost. Apart from beauty, a certain silliness and the occasional bout of good common sense, it is her most prevalent characteristic." Unfortunately, Agnes manages to get lost.

The Streets, Astoria, London

Return of the original pirate

Pop: The young rap rebels

News International funding underground hip-hop? Rawkus wouldn't be where they are today...

Going Out: Pop Beastie Boys

After the wild success of their debut Licenced To Ill album in 1986, Messrs Horowitz, Diamond and Yauch started this decade almost back at square one after the 1989 follow-up Paul's Boutique had bombed (though with hindsight many revisionist critics have declared it magnificent). The comeback started with 1992's punkier Check Your Head and some back- to-basics touring. Since then they've rarely put a foot wrong: they've got their own label, clothing concern and magazine and are once again a solid arena-filling outfit. Expect much of the set from last year's eclectic Hello Nasty album with a big plug for the tough sounding "Remote Control", their next single, released 10 May.

Music: Black apocalypse

The end of the world is nigh, say the superstars of hip hop - but not for everyone. The Five Per Cent Nation will survive. How do we know? Just listen between the lines.

Pop music: Shout, shout, let it all out


Pop: Jurassic 5's monster success

"Let's take it back to the concrete streets. Original beats from real live MCs." That's the core message from the forthcoming "Concrete Schoolyard" single by LA-based Jurassic 5, providers of the freshest hip- hop sound since whenever, and currently packing out houses throughout the UK. It's all been done on word of mouth and a self-released EP that's only been available here on import.

JAZZ US3 Jazz Cafe, London

"You're late! Get on with it!" To rile the Jazz Cafe cappuccino kids takes some doing, but US3 took to the stage confident that they would be forgiven for this delay and the four-year wait for Broadway and 52nd, the follow-up to Hand on the Torch.

Ice-T/ Grandmaster Flash/ The Jungle Brothers/ Afrika Bambaataa Essential Festival, Brighton

On a blazing summer's day in Brighton, in a medium-sized tent, the history of hip-hop was revealed. Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, The Jungle Brothers and Ice-T on the same stage was almost too complete to be true. It was, of course, shadowed for some by the spectres of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, murdered men who have become dubious martyrs. Monday's bill could be viewed as the story of hip-hop's descent to that state, from the cold protesting fury of Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" through The Jungle Brothers' Afrocentric oasis of calm to Ice-T's origination of gangsta-rap, which some blame directly for the stars lying cold in the ground.

De La Soul: The Forum, London

Pop Music

POP / The Fugees Kentish Town Forum, London .

The greatest hip-hop circus on earth comes to town
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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