Last night: Reading Festival, Berkshire

This year’s Reading bill looks over-familiar from top to bottom, faithfully reflecting a rock scene desperately waiting for new heroes.

V Festival, Hylands Park, Chelmsford

If you are expecting a deep and meaningful experience from a music festival like glastonbury or Green Man, you’re not going to find it at V.

Album: Bloc Party, Four (Frenchkiss)

As ever, Kele Okereke’s energies are divided between the political and the personal on Four, with agit-punk assertions like “ Coliseum” and “Kettling” and the contemptuous pillorying of political duplicity in “So He Begins to Lie” punctuated with more tenderly rendered emotional wrestling on tracks such as “Truth” and “Real Talk”.

Noel Gallagher 'told to mime at Olympic show'

Noel Gallagher has claimed he turned down an invitation to perform at the Olympics closing ceremony after being asked to mime.

Blur in 2012 and 1991

Blur - It looks like we might have made it to the end

Blur are marking 21 years, and possibly their final days, by re-releasing almost everything they have ever recorded. Andy Gill discovers a host of unheard gems

Macy Gray, Jazz Café, London

Soul survivor's got it covered with her sexed-up show

Album: Heiner Goebbels, Stifters Dinge )ECM New Series)

This soundtrack to Heiner Goebbels' installation piece Stifters Dinge is one of the most gripping musical experiences I've had in ages.

Bombay Bicycle Club

It's time for Britpop's Bright Young Things to take centre stage

New bands should take top billing at the big festivals, says Emily Mackay

Tunbridge Wells' Forum scores NME top music venue award

Royal Tunbridge Wells may be the traditional voice of Middle England’s morality but the busybodies are in danger of being drowned out after one of its nightspots was named the best small music venue in the UK.

Brand: QualitySolicitors
Song: Hard Road To
Travel by Jimmy Cliff
Artist: Rachel K Collier

Singing with the brand

Cutesy covers of classic songs are marketing gold, says Rhodri Marsden

Telling Stories, By Tim Burgess

There are several eye-watering anecdotes in this memoir by Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, though one in particular stands out. It involves a straw, a paper cone, a Rizla paper and two willing participants, and offers the seasoned cocaine user a novel method of ingesting their drug of choice. Suffice to say that this chapter is called "Cocainus".

Cast, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

When a band reforms after a long hiatus, their comeback album can be seen as an afterthought amid the ensuing cash-in, so credit is due to Cast. After a 10-year break, the Scouse four-piece choose to perform three-quarters of their latest release rather than rely on back-catalogue safety.

One Minute With: Tim Lott, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

Britpop revivalists Viva Brother quietly announce their demise

They were the “future of music”, the band with a quote for every occasion who would revive Britpop’s stadium-filling glory days.

British booming pop band One Direction

One Direction – but where next? Writers join battle to create boy band's next hits

The search is on for composers to help the X Factor-created act to follow up US success

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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own