Arts and Entertainment

Avi Avital "Between Worlds" (Deutsche Grammophon)

Album: Buddy Guy, Rhythm & Blues (RCA-Silvertone)

Buddy Guy is now 76 and can lay claim to special status as a near-sole survivor of Chicago's era of eminence in the 1950s and 1960s.

Food bank recipient 'Brenda' and her one-year-old daughter Mercedes are pictured in the Tower Hamlets food bank Poplar branch

Case study: 'I'm in a lot of debt, and I've been so worried about food'

For those who use them, food banks are a lifeline. Emily Dugan talks to some of those on the breadline in Tower Hamlets

Album review: Chris Thile, Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1 (Nonesuch)

Once again, the protean malleability of J.S. Bach's genius is demonstrated by the unusual transcription of his work - in this case, the Violin Sonatas and Partitas - to another instrument, the mandolin. The Punch Brothers' mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile was first drawn to Bach by the rhythmic “groove” of Glenn Gould's 1981 re-recording of The Goldberg Variations. Thile's country and improv roots lend more rubato accents than some might prefer, but he liberates the pieces from their conservatoire corsets. The dazzling deftness of his fingering in the Presto and Double Presto sections evokes a kind of giddy delirium and his feathery technique wrests the tenderest of emotions from the second Sonata's Andante.

Audio: Green Man Festival 2013

Listen to the tracks below to hear some of the bands and acts that will be playing at this year's Green Man Festival.

Music review: Night Works - An 80s-obsessed guitar-pop band with electronic tendencies

Pity the poor bassist who leaves a band for a solo venture on the eve of his former group’s big breakthrough. For such is the fate of Gabriel Stebbing, frontman of Night Works and former bass/keys man in thoughtful, wonky electropop merchants Metronomy.

Mr Fallon's comments came as exploratory drilling began at a site in Balcombe, West Sussex, despite anti-fracking protests by local people and activists from across the UK.

Government minister Michael Fallon in alleged fracking 'shakes' jokes

A government minister with responsibility for fracking suggested in a private meeting that the innovative gas drilling process could cause houses' walls to shake, it is reported.

Album: Katmen, The Katmen Cometh (Decca)

Katmen are Slim Jim Phantom, the snare-beating Stray Cat, and Darrel Higham, who twangs a fat Gretsch behind his wife, Imelda May, plus bassist Al Gare.

Album: Guy Clark, My Favourite Picture of You (Dualtone)

The voice is scrunched a little tighter now, and frayed, and the tunes seem worn to the bone, but… Well, you can't keep a good man down.

I Love My Country: Frank Skinner, Gabby Logan, Jamelia, Micky Flanagan

I Love My Country: Is the BBC's 'patriotic' celebrity quiz show television's most inane achievement yet?

When ITV1 launched its celebrity diving show Splash!, the critical derision it prompted only succeeded in driving masochistic viewers to the belly-flopping entertainment on offer.

High street cosmetics chain Lush emerges as the main financial backer of Frack Off after donating £20,000 to anti-fracking campaign

“It's a threat to our water. It's a threat to our air. The oil and gas industry wants to frack the UK and only we can stop them,” begins Lush, the handmade cosmetic company, in its online campaign against the controversial method of fracking.

Police monitor protesters standing near to the entrance of the drill site in Balcombe

Balcombe Fracking: Two arrested as Caudrilla begins test drilling despite nine days of protests

Drilling began at 11.15am at the West Sussex site as demonstrations entered their ninth day

Police monitor protesters standing near to the entrance of the drill site in Balcombe

I meant to say frack North-west, says Tory peer Lord Howell

George Osborne's father-in-law continues to court controversy with new remarks

Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, emerge from St Mary's with their newborn son

For Americans, there's magic in our monarchy

Compared to the grind of US politics, our Royal family offers a burst of romance

Less is more with JJ Cale's accessible and unassuming music

The problem with Cale's tunes is they are such easy listening that you might think that is all they are

About 80 British soldiers travelled to Sangin to fight Taliban insurgents with the Afghan National Army (ANA), just months before it takes full control of security in the country.

British troops return to Sangin after request from Afghan army

The mission required special permission from Defence Secretary Philip Hammond

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there