Arts and Entertainment

A sideways look at the world of music

Leading article: Ziggy played the stock market

The Fender Stratocaster: those words alone are enough to send shivers down the spine of anyone with an ounce of rock'n'roll in them. But the grandiloquent nomenclature is one thing – the musical instrument itself quite another.

Paul Simon fetes Graceland with London extravaganza

Singer-songwriter Paul Simon celebrated the 25th anniversary of his classic album "Graceland" with an African musical extravaganza in London on Sunday night, any lingering memories of the controversy over its creation in apartheid-era South Africa swept away.

Album: Angus Stone Broken Brights (Desert Harvest)

Flying solo again following several recordings with his sister Julia, Angus Stone delivers what may be his masterpiece in Broken Brights, an album that seamlessly inhabits the resurgent Laurel Canyon sound.

'My songs come out of a mature viewpoint on my life' - Elizabeth McGovern

Lady Cora turns to rock'n'roll – but don't expect youthful rage and heartbreak

The Downton Abbey actress came late to music but says it is her passion

Aerosmith's Steven Tyler votes himself off 'American Idol'

Rocker Steven Tyler on has bowed out of his job as a judge on top-rated television singing contest "American Idol" - the US equivalent of the X Factor -, saying he wants to dedicate himself to his band, Aerosmith.

The Stone Roses: War and Peace, By Simon Spence

Yet to fulfil their youthful promise

Album: Chris Robinson BrotherhoodBig Moon Ritual (Silver Arrow/ Megaforce)

Former Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson's heart has always been spiritually in the early Seventies, and with his new Brotherhood, he's finally found the ideal vehicle to indulge his taste for "Cosmic California Music".

Album: Hot Chip, In Our Heads (Domino)

There's a shameless populism about Hot Chip on this Domino debut, bluntly conceded in the sentiment "I like Zapp, not Zappa", and the Scissor Sister-ish falsetto-disco of the track from which it derives, "Night And Day".

Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Americana (Reprise)

"Americana" is everywhere, of course.

Rumer performing at Latitude Festival last year

Album: Rumer, Boys Don't Cry (Atlantic)

Rumer's risky follow-up hasn't quite got it covered

Rumer, St James' Church, London

“I’m tremendously proud of this album,” Rumer demurely claims about her impending new record, Boys Don’t Cry.

Album: John Mayer, Born and Raised (Columbia)

John Mayer continues mining the California singer-songwriter vein of 2009's Battle Studies.

Van Halen's David Lee Roth (right) and Eddie Van Halen perform

Van Halen reunion tour hits the rocks amid feud rumours

Van Halen's fractious past and frequent bust-ups have won a reputation as one of rock's greatest feuds.

Johnny Depp plays 200-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins
in Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows, Tim Burton, 113 mins (12A)

Tim Burton's stalwart star gives good fang, but this gothic comedy feels about as fresh as stale garlic

Brittany Howard fronts Alabama Shakes in Brixton, London, last week

Alabama Shakes, Brixton Electric, London
Rizzle Kicks, The Dome, Brighton

Is it a problem that the Alabama Shakes' 'raw' and 'natural' soul-rock is nothing of the sort? Only until they start playing ...

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Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
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Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
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Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game