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President Obama surfed to power on a hip-hop wave. Should British politics try the same thing to engage the youth vote?

First Night: Speech Debelle, Scala, London

Worthy winner comes home with bubbles with joy

Tinchy Stryder, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Tinchy's not yet into his stride

My Secret Life: VV Brown, singer, 25

My parents were ... business savvy, passionate, eccentric and loving. For 26 years they've owned and run a private school in Northamptonshire.

Album: Dizzee Rascal, Tongue N’ Cheek, (Dirtee Stank)

Those two No 1 singles didn’t happenby accident. They’re evidence of one of the most enjoyable renaissances in recent pop history. After building a fearsome early-decade reputation as an insanely fast and incredibly exciting freestyler on the London underground, then blowing everyone’s minds in 2003 with the blockbusting beats of Boyin Da Corner, Dizzee Rascal took a bit of a dip, the creative nadir coming when he sampled Captain Sensible’s “Happy Talk” on a particularly poor single from his second album, Showtime.

Streets ahead: Dizzee Rascal

The former bad boy from the East End has turned into a national treasure, going further than any British hip-hop star before him

Album: Dizzee Rascal, Tongue n' Cheek (Dirtee Stank)

It's taken Dizzee Rascal four albums to develop from cult exponent of a marginal London-based scene to fully fledged pop star bordering on youthful national treasure, a process that speaks volumes about the sustained commitment and support required to establish fledgling acts.

Oasis in running for top music gong despite split

They may be gone but they are not forgotten - recently-split Oasis are in the running for the title of world's best act at a top music awards bash.

Brian Viner: 'The band's audience comprised neighbours and a local chicken farmer'

Two years ago we hosted a concert in our living-room, which is not exactly the Hollywood Bowl, but it's amazing how many chairs, hired from the village hall, you can squeeze in with the sofas pushed back. Top of the bill, indeed alone on the bill, were the husband-and-wife singer-songwriters Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish. I booked them because I like their lyrical melancholia, the plaintive echoes in their music of Hank Williams and Patsy Kline, and also because Mike and I were at school together.

Summer Sundae Weekender, De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Some pretty sharp flavours

Calvin Harris, Picture House, Edinburgh

Is nostalgia catching up with us already, or is time marching on quicker than we realise?

Album: Tinchy Stryder, Catch 22 (Island)

Tinchy Stryder may be the second-biggest name in grime, but Catch 22 suggests he's more in the mould of Akon than Dizzee Rascal: there's little of Dizzee's bonkers charm about these tracks, and plenty of Akon's reliance on auto-tuned hooks and romantic themes.

Calvin Harris: How the non-dancing, foul-mouthed, anti-social Scot became the 'Caledonian Justin Timberlake'

He's a dour teetotaller, seems to have a running battle with half the music industry and couldn't care less about his image. So how has Calvin Harris become the toast of the dance-music world? Craig McLean finds out...

Poetry's life of grime: Why young rappers are the natural successors to Tennyson

As it celebrates its centenary, the Poetry Society is reliving its youth. Katy Guest went to spit a rhyme with a real slam poet, and saw the experts in action

Tips & Deals for Travellers

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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