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by Vincent van Gogh, John Lennon and other iconic figures are being offered at an upcoming auction of more than 300 historical documents in New York City.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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Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style