i

Many of us will have booked our holidays by now and bought the sun-cream too. But what to read under the palm tree or on the beach or the staycation sofa?

Harriet Walker: Relax, pop's always been about sex

It's a long time since Frankie said "Relax" but, according to the music producer Mike Stock, modern-day "soft porn" pop is "sexualising" our youngsters, and he wouldn't feel comfortable watching one of Lady Gaga's videos with his mum. Splutter. Who would? Having sat through all nine minutes of her "Telephone" video with my own mother, I can aver that these are not designed to be watched with your folks. Her reactions ranged from genuine interest at Gaga's sunglasses (made from lit cigarettes) to eye-rolling at her scantily clad prison escapades and finally boredom. I don't like watching visceral wildlife documentaries with mum either, but that's not to say there's anything wrong with them.

Sara Pascoe vs Her Ego, Pleasance Courtyard

With such an edgy persona as Sara Pascoe's, it could go either way, as with the Marmite test that she references in her show.

Album: Stars, The Five Ghosts (Soft Revolution/Vagrant)

An offshoot of Montreal-based indie collective Broken Social Scene, Stars' lush indie-pop is here employed for a theme of ghosts, perhaps inspired by the antique double-exposure sleeve photo, whose sullen subject is surrounded by five indistinct faces.

Oh no! Sawhney's off talking about physics again...

From 'Goodness Gracious Me' to Sadler's Wells, via science and Hindu thought, Nitin Sawhney is a musician who defies classification

Album: M.I.A., Maya (XL)

With Maya, M.I.A. brings to her music the same provocative facility she demonstrated recently with the "truffle kerfuffle" dispute with New York Times's Lynn Hirschberg, and the YouTube-banned video for "Born Free", featuring graphic ethnic cleansing of gingers.

The business on: Theo Fennell

Album: Semi Precious Weapons, You Love You (Geffen)

Semi Precious Weapons are an outrageously flamboyant glam-rock quartet from the same NYC scene that spawned Lady Gaga: she used to support them, now they're opening her Monster's Ball jaunt and blowing teeny minds.

Alicia Keys, 02 Arena, London

Alicia Keys has never struggled to draw in the arena crowds thanks to her jaw-dropping talent, beauty and stirring songs.

Digital Digest: 17/05/2010

The best of the web

Lady Gaga and the case of the lost underwear

When up-market lingerie retailers Rigby and Peller heard that the pop star Lady Gaga wanted to use its knickers in her latest pop video it was only too happy to oblige, sending the star seven sets of handmade frillies.

Album: Lady Antebellum, Need You Now (Parlophone)

The UK may still be infatuated with Lady Gaga, but America has gone gaga over Lady Antebellum – and it's easy to see why, given the way the trio's politely rockin' country-pop fits the same musical demographic which made Garth Brooks the most bankable singer on the planet.

Spotify: 1 million plays, £108 return

That's what Lady Gaga earned last year from fans listening to 'Poker Face'. Jonathan Brown on the latest row over who's making money from the net

No feud in Girls Aloud, Nicola Roberts insists

Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle has not spoken to the rest of the band for months, Nicola Roberts said in a magazine interview.

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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones