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 ...

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
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peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
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Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
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Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

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Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
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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