News Chris Hadfield has agreed to take on the role of cultural ambassador for Ireland

Chris Hadfield, the singing astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station, has taken on a role as cultural ambassador for Ireland.

IoS album review: John Beasley, Darryl Jones, Ndugu Chancier, 3 Brave Souls (Challenge)

All have done time with Miles Davis, one of them is the long-standing drummer with the Crusaders, another the regular live bassist with the Stones.

Vincent van Gogh letter expected to fetch $300,000 at auction

Rare letters written by Vincent van Gogh, John Lennon and other iconic figures are being offered at an upcoming auction of more than 300 historical documents in New York City.

Caught in the Net: Yo La Tengo refuse to fade away

On 14 January Hoboken's second-finest (no one can top Sinatra), Yo La Tengo return with Fade, their 13th full album release.

Album: 10cc, Tenology (Universal)

Now that we have finally broken the connection between guilt and pleasure when it comes to music, it's time to reappraise these stalwarts of the 1970s pop charts.

Yoko Ono to curate Meltdown Festival 2013

Yoko Ono will curate next year's Meltdown Festival choosing the musicians and artists who will appear at the annual event.

The Killers, SECC, Glasgow

The Killers were always bound for arena-level stardom, one felt, thanks to their gold-dust blend of attractive pop choruses, a certain down to earth authenticity as unembellished alternarockers in the traditional vein and a true talent for sheer, unalloyed blandness where it’s really necessary.

Album: Kate Rusby, 20 Mighty (Village/Island)

A celebration of her two decades as a singer, 20 contains that many tracks culled from all corners of her career, performed as duets with esteemed friends and peers.

Album: Bat for Lashes, The Haunted Man (Parlophone)

If, in the past, Bat for Lashes has sometimes seemed a better proposition on paper than reality – all feathers and no parrot – then The Haunted Man is the album on which Natasha Khan should truly silence all doubters.

Radiohead, O2 Arena, London

The most immediately striking thing about Radiohead's current show is the impact of their new double-drummer line-up, which transforms much of their repertoire, and not always for the better.

Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, wants to write a prequel

Before Downton? Not so abbey ever after

Julian Fellowes wants to write a Downton prequel. Why not march forward to the septic Seventies? John Walsh offers his plot suggestions

Album: Elbow Dead In The Boot (Fiction)

Most B-sides compilations seem to have been thrown together to fulfill contracts but Dead In The Boot has a form and substance beyond that.

A view of the Olympic Stadium

London 2012: Madness to perform at closing ceremony

Following up on their Diamond Jubilee performance Madness will be taking centre stage at the Olympics closing ceremony.

Caught in the Net: Tune in to Animal Collective Radio

Animal Collective have premiered the wild first single from forthcoming album Centipede Hz, due out on 3 September.

Eugene McGuinness

Fantasy Band: Eugene McGuinness

'Keith Richards is my favourite guitarist. It's amazing he's still walking'

Album: Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan (Domino)

Six albums down the line, Dirty Projectors – aka David Longstreth and his band – show no signs of settling into any one formula.

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How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?