Arts and Entertainment

A music documentary that oozes irritating smugness

All the world's a stage

Live; WOMAD RIVERMEAD CENTRE READING

Pop: Songs of love and fish

SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL: ELIZA CARTHY, PADDY CASEY, PAINTING BOX RONNIE SCOTT'S BIRMINGHAM

Festival: womad

The World of Music Arts and Dance festival celebrates its 10th year at the Reading site with yet another strong line-up over the three days.

Comedy: Stand up for ken

After recent criticisms from luvvies, Tony Blair may be thinking of distancing himself from celeb endorsements, but Ken Livingstone has no such problems. Famous people appear to be queuing up to back his campaign to be allowed to stand for the post of Mayor of London. He certainly has the comedy glitteratti turning out in force for a benefit - entitled "Stand Up For Ken" - this week. A most impressive bill, comprising Jo Brand, Phill Jupitus (right), Arthur Smith, Kevin Day and Gina Yashere, is complemented by a special treat, a performance by the original agit-prop troubadour himself, Billy Bragg.

`Support me' campaign by Livingstone

KEN LIVINGSTONE seized the initiative in his bid to become Mayor of London yesterday when he launched a high-profile public campaign to persuade Tony Blair to allow him to stand as Labour candidate.

Pop: billy bragg

It made sense for the daughter of socialist folkie Woody Guthrie to ask our own political troubadour Billy Bragg to set a bunch of her late father's lyrics to music. The resulting Mermaid Avenue album was a gem. On tour, he'll be combining Guthrie numbers with some of his own, as well as championing "the cause", this time the GMB campaign to include young people in the minimum wage set-up. Support comes from quirky popsters and fellow Essex boys Hefner.

Pop: I put you on a pedestal, you revive my career

BILLY BRAGG & THE BLOKES RIVERSIDE

Interview: Billy Bragg - Changing the world and getting a life

As Nineties stars finally embrace politics (see left), a mellow, 40-year-old Billy Bragg is happy to let a new generation do the tub-thumping, writes Karen O'Brien

Revelations; The army made a man of me; Billy Bragg, Acton, 1981

EVERY MORNING on my way to a casual job, Artexing a ceiling for a mate, I had to walk past the Army Recruiting Centre in Acton and it seemed to beckon me in. I knew my destiny lay through those doors. I was 23 years old, punk had been and gone and come to nothing. It was a great disappointment because I thought we were going to change the world: the Clash by playing songs and me by going to Clash gigs.

Arts: Down the A13 via Route 66

It could be a recipe for disaster: Essex man sets US folk icon's lyrics to music. But has Woody Guthrie found a soul mate in Billy Bragg?

Pop: Win tickets for Mean Fiddler 15th Birthday gigs

Over the last 15 years, the Mean Fiddler has grown from one small venue in Harlesden to an organisation encompassing nine live music venues, including the Forum, the Garage, and the Jazz Cafe; three clubs, and festivals including Phoenix , Reading and Tribal Gathering.

Star `dies', is revived and then has to face Chris Evans

The sentiments expressed by the "TF" in Chris Evans' TFI Friday show last night had never been more appropriate.

The Shane of it all

Shane MacGowan's influence on Irish music cannot be overestimated according to a documentary on BBC2 tonight. Not bad, says James Rampton, for the singer, right, once described as 'sordid, rowdy and vulgar'

Lord Booker and his prize: the plot thickens

Yesterday I brought you an extract from Arnold Feeney's new novel, Battle for the Booker, which is better than a Booker hopeful - it is actually about the Booker Prize itself! Such has been the enormous welcome that I am bringing you a second extract today.

The raving youngsters' groovy parties

Clubs are standing candidates to get the youth vote, says Alister Morgan
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

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George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

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Michael Calvin's Last Word

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