Arts and Entertainment

Sometimes, even the most hardened doubters of Gary Barlow’s MOR entertainer schtick have had to concede that he can write ’em. Cynics can relax, though, because no such concessions are required for his first solo album since 1999, which falls below Barlow’s best – “Patience”, “Rule the World” – at just the point when he needed to up his game.

Wave machines: waterproof MP3 players on test

Music to swimmers' ears or a washout? Simon Usborne tests the new aquatic gadgets

Story of the Song: 'Clocks', Coldplay (2002)

Coldplay's second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, was nearing completion when an excited Chris Martin arrived at the studio late one night. At the keyboard, he played the tune running through his head. Lead guitarist Jonny Buckland was impressed. "He picked up his guitar [a sure sign that he likes a song] and played these brilliant chords," Martin recalls. "It was like a chemical reaction process."

Album: Sigur Ros, Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust (EMI)

Once upon a time, you knew exactly what you were getting with Sigur Ros. That is, otherwordly ambience, heavenly choirs, the tinkling of melting icicles and lyrics delivered in an inscrutable made-up elfin/Nordic tongue.

The song they didn't write? Coldplay are accused of plagiarism by American band

It was all going so predictably well. Coldplay's new album went straight to No 1 on Sunday, selling 300,000 copies in three days; concerts sold out; that iTunes ad was everywhere. Even their notoriously sniffy critics in the music press seemed, with the odd exception, unusually muted.

Coldplay, Brixton Academy, London

Singing does power of good for predictable Martin

Chris Martin gives Radio 4 interviewer the cold shoulder

Chris Martin has long been known as a reluctant rock star, a man who prefers a quiet life of yoga practice and vegetarian dinners at home rather than a red carpet lifestyle.

Andy Gill: 'Why I hate Coldplay'

Pompous, mawkish, and unbearably smug, Coldplay have conquered the charts with the sonic equivalent of wilted spinach, argues Andy Gill. And in the process, they've poisoned an entire generation of British rock music

Album: Coldplay, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (Parlophone)

Coming to a supermarket near you

Album: Coldplay, Viva La Vida, or Death and All His Friends (Parlophone)

Coldplay's X&Y, they've since explained, was the final part of a trilogy – a claim some might consider a cunning defence against accusations that they're a one-trick pony mining a stadium-filling formula to death. Whichever way one takes it, it leaves the globe-girdling anthem-mongers with quite a mountain to climb on Viva La Vida.

Diary Of A Primary School Mum: 'We're desperate for the chance to play teacher'

Miss Perry opens the classroom door, brandishing paper and pen. An innocent enough manoeuvre, only you'd think she was Britney Spears being mobbed by the paparazzi for all the fuss that's made. Mothers, nannies, au pairs all bulldoze towards the piece of A4, and I (shamefully) join the pack.

EMI to axe 2000 jobs

Music giant EMI is to axe up to 2,000 jobs as part of a drive to save £200 million a year, its new private equity owner said today.

Record labels: The Domino effect

One small label has given us the fastest-selling debut album ever, as well as Franz Ferdinand. Alastair McKay investigates

The Third Leader: Right to moan

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Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review