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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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor