Arts and Entertainment

If Xfm’s festive knees-up truly reflects the station’s character, its male-dominated line-up chafes against most other annual charts and round-ups.

The good life – the future of rock'n'roll

Touring was supposed to be the music industry's financial saviour, but now even gigs are losing their allure. So can packing fans on to a cruise liner pay dividends? Gillian Orr finds out

First Night: Cornbury Festival, Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire

'Poshstock' – the festival offering spa treatments, songbirds and Status Quo

Album: Ruarri Joseph, Shoulder to the Wheel (PIP/ACP)

These are tough enough times for earnest young men with guitars. Ruarri Joseph appears to have it all: decent looks, a worldly backstory, a warm tenor and songs that seem to tick the required boxes.

Matthew and the Atlas, Borderline, London

Make way for the sons of Mumford

First Night: Cornbury Festival, Oxfordshire

The rock festival of Pimms and picnics marks a seventh year

Album: Teitur, All My Mistakes (A&G)

Faroe Islander Teitur Lassen's UK debut The Singer is one of this year's more arresting releases, its mischievous, emotionally revealing songs employing a thrilling mix of memorable images, inventive chamber-pop arrangements, and deceptive lyrical strategies – most notably the unreliable narrator whose observations suddenly turn in upon themselves to illuminate the singer's own situation.

Album: David Gray, Draw the Line, (Polydor)

Old wobbly-head is back with his songwriting as strong in places as it was circa White Ladder, the album that brought him to the attention of those living outside Ireland (where WL is still the biggest selling record of all time).

Album: David Gray, Draw the Line (Polydor)

It's taken David Gray four years to follow up Life in Slow Motion, and frankly, you have to wonder what's been holding him up, as these 11 pleasant, predictable songs represent no great development or deviation from the course of his previous work.

My Secret Life: David Gray, musician, 41

My parents ... moved from Manchester to Solva, a fishing village in Pembrokeshire, where they started a company called Cottage Clothes. It was the 1970s, so everything was a quilted Liberty fabric.

It's not a crime to download, say musicians

Musicians including Robbie Williams, Annie Lennox, Billy Bragg, Blur's David Rowntree and Radiohead's Ed O'Brien said last night that the public should not be prosecuted for downloading illegal music from the internet.

Snow Patrol, Bloomsbury Theatre, London

The army of sensitive, multi-million-selling souls who Snow Patrol are lumped in with show no signs of slowing down.

The Big Chill, Eastnor Castle, Deer Park, Malvern

Grown-up ravers feel the sunshine in Malvern Hills

The new exhibition that's bound to be a hit



Visitors to Ben Turnbull's new exhibition should prepare themselves for not only a visual assault but an aural one too.

Duffy, The Pigalle Club, London

You could call it the herd instinct. Following the success of David Gray and Dido, the British music industry sucked up singer-songwriters of both sexes and we ended up with James Blunt and Katie Melua. The Lily Allen phenomenon then gave rise to Kate Nash and her ilk. And with Amy Winehouse's confessional soul selling millions, everyone has been scouring the British Isles for young women of the blue-eyed soul persuasion.

Review of the year: Pop

A year of vocal tics and indie licks from Gorillaz and Hal to Kaiser Chiefs and Ry Cooder
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform