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.

Macy Gray, Jazz Café, London

Soul survivor's got it covered with her sexed-up show
“Under the Westway” single was first played by Damon Albarn (pictured) and guitarist Graham Coxon in February

First Listen: Blur take to Twittersphere with debut of new songs

Blur last night debuted two new tracks in a live performance from a balcony at a secret London location.

The Weekend's Viewing: The Lost World of the Seventies, Sun, BBC2
Starlings, Sun, Sky1

"Universal history...is at bottom the History of the Great Men who have worked here," wrote Carlyle.

Grimes

Caught in the Net: Pedal to the metal in a propulsive return

The new-wave synth sounds of George Lewis Jr, aka Twin Shadow, wouldn't have been out of place on the film soundtrack of the Ryan Gosling vehicle (ahem) Drive.

Natasha Youngs prepares for the rush at Resident Records in Brighton

Vinyl countdown has fans queueing round the block

For the vinyl obsessive, camping outside one of the UK’s remaining independent record shops, today is the equivalent of Stella McCartney launching a limited edition high-street collection for fashion bargain-hunters.

Bert Weedon wrote the best-selling 'Play In A Day' guitar books

Giants of rock bid farewell to father of all guitar heroes

Tributes pour in for Bert Weedon, the British musician whose tutorials inspired a generation

Album: Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Crown and Treaty (EMI)

Last seen picking up a Mercury nom with the folk-rock-styled Twice Born Men, Buckinghamshire band SBP return for their third album with a far more complex musical palette.

Dollars & Cents: Thom Yorke from the pricey-to-watch Radiohead

How jazz secretly invaded pop music

Listen with Spotify

Jim Marshall launched his amplifier in 1965 and saw it conquer the world

Farewell to the 'Father of Loud' – it's been a blast

The rock world has promised to "crank it up to 11" to mark the death of Jim Marshall, the "Father of Loud", whose groundbreaking amplifiers gave the gift of extreme volume to generations of guitar heroes.

The Shins, Port of Morrow (Columbia)

James Mercer may use the words "sublimate" and "indigent", but don't be fooled: The Shins trade in a highbrow equivalent of landfill indie.

Thom Yorke and Radiohead are launching an ‘ethical’ ticket exchange

Radiohead try to pull plug on ticket resale rip-offs

They have already cut out record companies by selling music direct to fans. Now Radiohead are taking a stand against the inflated prices that fans are forced to pay for live concerts by launching their own "ethical" ticket exchange.

Mark Foster, Foster the People

Trending: Jeepers creepers, how'd you do those peepers?

Cheering news for fans of elaborate eye makeup who are shaky of hand or just butter-fingered.

Entertainment

Spirit Music buys Pete Townshend's song catalogue

Mosaic marks birthday of pensioner Davie Bowie

David Bowie officially becomes a pensioner today as he turns 65, and one of Britain's leading mosaic artists has created a piece to mark the musician and actor's milestone.

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Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
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Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
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Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
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File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
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Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
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Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
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Passing on: George Washington died alert, aware and in his own bed. This is the kind of of death most people would like to have
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game