Arts and Entertainment

Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London

Once of no fixed abode, rapper finds a place on Mercury Prize shortlist

Speech Debelle edges out former favourite Lily Allen to pick up nomination

A bluffer's guide to who's hot in pop

Think Little Boots are toddlers' shoes? With the Mercury Prize shortlist for best album out on Tuesday, Katy Guest leads the more mature reader through the minefield of modern music

Bat for Lashes - Away with the fairies

Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes, sings of a hippy-dippy universe of woodlands and wizards. Fiona Sturges enters her world

Album: Florence And The Machine, Lungs (Moshi Moshi)

The BBC's annual poll to find the "Sound" of the forthcoming year has rapidly developed its own self-fulfilling critical mass, nowhere better illustrated than in the performance of Florence and the Machine's singles so far.

Bruce Springsteen: The man, the music, the politics...the Boss

Intensity, passion, scale and a sincere rapport with his audience are the hallmarks of Bruce Springsteen's finest shows. As the singer's Glastonbury debut approaches, Andy Gill celebrates a great American star and performer

How to tell La Roux from Little Boots

The charts and festivals are bursting with quirky-looking popstrels with weird names and big voices. Confused? Let Gillian Orr be your guide

Bat For Lashes, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Natasha Khan's alter ego, Bat for Lashes, is a daunting live prospect, flitting as she does between dark, otherworldly princess and timid, slightly posh, Brighton-born pop ingénue. A former nursery-school teacher, Natasha Khan's DIY musical creativity is used to harness deep, dark emotions, and if there's a theme for both her Mercury-nominated debut, Fur and Gold, and her recent follow-up, Two Suns, it's the honesty and naiveté of youth mixed with very adult themes of loss and heartbreak. That's not to suggest simplicity, though. The latter of her albums has been described by Khan as an essay in duality, and her lyrics certainly feature the poetic complexity to back the claim up.

Antony And The Johnsons/Florence And The Machine/VV BROWN, Royal Albert Hall, London

Usually the support band has to make do with the chosen stage set-up of the headlining act, but in tonight's imaginatively concocted line up by the Teenage Cancer Trust, each of the three performers has almost equal stage time – and equally large and eccentric personas.

Ones to watch - music's rising stars

Magic Arm

Magic Arm's early singles may have been released by Switchflicker, the label that launched The Ting Tings, but there the comparison ends. Though Manchester's Marc Regisford does have one foot in the world of pop, it's of the more DIY variety; besides, the other is very much in the world of folk.

Interview: C4’s ‘Freshly squeezed’ Rick Edwards

The latest fresh-faced attitude-laden presenter to take up the T4 baton is none other than Mr Rick Edwards. Straight out of the Steve Jones school of chiselled jaws and witty banter, you can watch him weekday mornings fronting Freshly Squeezed on Channel 4 with the ever lovely Alexa Chung.

You write the reviews: Bat for Lashes, Carling Academy 2, Liverpool

All music is a journey, but the audience at this show truly were transported to somewhere dark and enchanting. After the surprisingly strong support act, folky Leeds singer-songwriter Paul Marshall, who was accompanied by a female double-bass player and whose deft guitar picking was reminiscent of Jose Gonzalez, a ghostly white apparition drifted on to the stage. The previously quiet crowd roared in rapture and expectation at the entrance of Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes.

Album: Rasputina

Oh Perilous World (Filthy Bonnet Co)

Pop tops list at Brit nominations

Take That, Mika and Leona Lewis lead the field at this year's Brit Awards in a nominations list that puts the emphasis on pop.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?