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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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss