Arts and Entertainment Strum as you are: Kurt Cobain

What is the best gig you've been to at Brixton Academy? Perhaps it's Public Enemy, or The Smiths' final show in 1986? Simon Parkes bought the seminal venue for £1 in 1982 and what stories he has to tell in his new memoir Live at the Brixton Academy: a Riotous Life in the Music Business.

Paul O’Grady, is best known for his drag queen comedic alter ego, Lily Savage

Michael McIntyre? Can’t we give a chat show to Paul O’Grady instead?

He took on bigots dressed in drag  as Lily Savage in the 1980s. Now the comedian is speaking up for the plight of people on benefits

'Robot dragonfly' is the smallest and lightest self-navigating drone

The miniature robot weighs just 20g and can fly without human guidance; it could map abandoned buildings or masquerade as a fairy at a theme park

Comedy books for Christmas

Sometimes it can be empowering to know you have nothing left to lose – that, at least, is the theory behind the birth of “my nemesis and my deliverer”, as Michael Pennington describes his alter ego in Becoming Johnny Vegas (HarperCollins, £20). In a thoroughly entertaining memoir, Pennington is also acute in his psychological evisceration of his own drunken shambles of an act.

High spirits: comedian Pippa Evans, co-founder of the Sunday Assembly

The Week in Comedy: All smiles on Sunday with a radical take on religion

It wasn't your average Advent Sunday service. It started with a rousing chorus of Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' and ended with Abba's 'Waterloo'. In between there was a poem dedicated to Tony Wilson, a mini rave and a Danish clapping game. This was Sunday Assembly, a "godless church" which has one aim - to celebrate life. It has all the trappings of a traditional Sunday service – a sermon, songs, readings, community notices, a collection, tea and cakes – but none of the religion. Its only creed is live better, help often, wonder more.

Rescuers lift the police helicopter wreckage from the roof of the The Clutha Pub in Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow helicopter crash: death toll rises to nine

The wreckage of the helicopter was removed from the site this morning as investigators said the pilot put out no mayday calls before the crash

Cate Le Bon, gig review: 'distinctive yet charming'

Bush Hall, London

An aerial shot of the newly-opened ice rink at Somerset House in central London

In pictures: Somerset House opens a new illuminating ice rink ahead of Christmas

The eighteenth-century courtyard at Somerset House presents 900-metre-square ice rink with one of the most remarkable skating scenery in London.

The Bonus Track: Bronski Beat, Zoë Kravitz and Jake Bugg

A sideways look at the world of music

'I've been catching up on Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black. I'm glued, long into the night': The novelist Fay Weldon

Cultural life: Fay Weldon, novelist

'I've been catching up on Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black. I'm glued, long into the night'

Ozzy Osbourne - Birmingham's ideal Rock Tsar?

Should Ozzy Osbourne become Birmingham's first official Rock Tsar?

A Government-backed report certainly suggests so, as it's revealed that music tourism boosted the British economy by £2.2bn last year

Russell Brand is on his Messiah Complex tour

Comedy review: Russell Brand, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

The comedian is on his Messiah Complex world tour

Gig review: Gravenhurst, Bishopsgate Institute, London

Gravenhurst is the musical project of Nick Talbot - a Bristol-based singer-songwriter who coaxes gorgeous tones out of his guitars, but whose gentle tunes wrap up an often dark and melancholy lyrical heart. He's got the satisfying well-balanced melodies, the ever-so-pretty fingerpicking and the lush harmonising to rival many a modern folk act - Gravenhurst call to mind Kings of Convenience or early Iron and Wine, and have been compared to Simon and Garfunkel even - yet mysteriously Talbot's star has never risen so high.

It's not rock'n'roll for bands to blame the crowd

Arctic Monkeys and Plan B both turned on their fans. Bad move, says Elisa Bray

Sebastian Faulks: 'I've hated all this Scando-porn serial killer stuff'

Cultural life: Sebastian Faulks, novelist

'I've hated all this Scando-porn serial killer stuff'

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
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Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
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Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
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Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
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'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn