Arts and Entertainment

Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Very Moorish: Hôtel Heure Bleue Palais

The Hedonist: Wining and dining in Essaouira

What to see and where to be seen

Hastings Pier to be resurrected

Hastings Pier, the seaside attraction that became an unlikely musical mecca in the 1960s by hosting performers from the Rolling Stones to The Who, is to be restored following an £11m Lottery grant.

Hell's angels: Hellebores add some cold-season cheer

Winter bedding is not the most glamorous of ideas. Especially when it comes to those acres of monocolour pansies. It's sort of an amazing achievement to ruin the pansy – they are this great, characterful little flower, in bright colours, with spirited little markings on their faces, which they hold up high to the sun. But ruin them people consistently do: stroll into your local DIY shop in the next few weeks and there will be polystyrene trays of them by the hundred, stacked and ready for non-gardeners to progressively kill over the coming months.

My Fantasy Band: Beth Jeans Houghton

'Rodriguez is pretty much sex on vocal chords'

Purple patch: For a burst of colour next year, get thinking about bulb-planting now

Bad news. It is at this time of year, when we've finally seen some sunshine, that we must forget about tans and start turning our thoughts to wrapping up warm (ugh), going outside in the cold (yikes) and digging several hundred holes in stony frozen soil (blerg). Yep, it's bulb-order time again.

Beat that: gnaoua musicians perform in Essaouira

Trail of the unexpected: Essaouira, Morocco

This relaxed port city is full of rhythm. Linda Cookson heard it ... all along the watchtower

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.

Graham Coxon

Fantasy Band: Graham Coxon, Blur

'Mitch Mitchell wasn't the most accurate drummer ever, but he had that swing...'

'Fender was too clean...': Marshall with his amps in 1999

Jim Marshall: Guitar amp pioneer who earned the epithet 'Father of Loud'

In the mid-1960s, the emergence of the powerful Marshall amplifiers enabled musicians to turn up the volume – and effectively transformed pop music into rock.

Festival Guide 2012: Q&A: Band of Skulls

For Matt Hayward from the Southampton rockers, festival season means tequila, Biffy Clyro – and a cup of tea with mum

Tulisa Contostavlos startled the gossip community by making a film of explanation, saying she was devastated

Trending: Sex, replies and videotape

Caught on camera while on the job? As Tulisa's proved, it doesn't matter what you're getting up to – it's how you conduct yourself afterwards that counts

Bailey and Shrimpton are played on TV by Karen Gillan and Aneurin Barnard

Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name: The Swinging Sixties' great get-togethers

As the BBC recreates the pairing of Bailey and The Shrimp, Mike Higgins recalls meetings that defined the decade

South Korean psychedelic rock star Shin Joong Hyun

Shin Joong Hyun: A rock'n'roll revolutionary

An obscure outpost of psychedelia is about to get some exposure. Light in the Attic's latest discovery is South Korean visionary Shin Joong Hyun.

Russell Marsden

My Fantasy Band: Russell Marsden, Band of Skulls

Drums - John Bonham
For the fact that he was such a musical badass, inventive, intense and our drummer, Matt, will have a real problem with me if I pick another drummer that's not Bonham.

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Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
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Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
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footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
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peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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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
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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