Arts and Entertainment Jake Bugg burst onto the scene aged 18

The success of Jake Bugg and Ben Howard has given rise to a new wave of male singer-songwriters who are queueing up to show off their sensitive sides

Album: Various Artists, The Liszt Legacy (Deutsche Grammophon)

Rather than featuring interpretations of Liszt pieces, this oddest of Liszt bicentennial tributes attempts to illustrate across 10CDs his influence not just as composer, but as instigator of a performance tradition of flamboyant virtuosity.

Jessica Duchen: Il Volo may be many things, but opera they are not

It makes a pleasant change from gangsta rap, I suppose. Three singing Italian boys in leather jackets looking suave. Teenage girls the world over screaming and fainting. Turning teenagers on to opera, they say. Whatever will those clever marketing people think of next?

Anna Calvi says of Wild Beasts: 'Their album Smother is great. It's full of subtleties; chords are implied rather than over-emphasised, and the drums are integral to the melodic interest of each song.'

The sounds and songs the stars fell in love with in 2011

Anna Calvi, Ghostpoet and Leslie Feist all made great albums this year. Here, they and others pick the music that rocked their year

Album: The Puppini Sisters, Hollywood (Verve)

Sadly, The Puppini Sisters have abandoned the more modern repertoire - '40s-style versions of pop hits like "Wuthering Heights" and "I Will Survive" - that gave them their original quirky appeal.

Madonna deal to last beyond 60

Madonna has signed a new record deal with Universal that could see her releasing albums past the age of 60.

Melanie C, Scala, London (3/5)

Four years after she got back together with the Spice Girls, Melanie Chisholm is stalking much smaller venues.

Album: Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler, This is Christmas (Infectious)

In which indie singer-songwriter Emma-Lee Moss and Ash frontman Tim Wheeler, a couple in real life, join musical forces and attempt, valiantly and with not inconsiderable success, to breathe new life into that stalest of stale old genres: the Christmas song.

Montserrat Figueras: Soprano celebrated for her mastery of pre-Baroque music

One evening in 1988 my girlfriend and I were driving home from work when one of the most exquisite sounds I had heard emerged from the car radio.

Album: Tunng, This Is Tunng... Live from the BBC (Full Time Hobby) (3/5)

Collating Tunng's various radio sessions for shows helmed by such as Rob Da Bank, Lauren Laverne and Marc Riley, This Is Tunng... presents their nu-folk-rock at something close to optimum, in performances which sparkle with spontaneity.

Mull Historical Society, Bush Hall, London (4/5)

When Colin MacIntyre was a young man on Mull, he’d look out at the Atlantic dark and feel he was on the edge of the world.

Bon Iver

Caught in the Net: One year, one label, worlds of sound

Like an Olympic marathon runner finally entering the stadium, we're slowly getting to the end of a momentous year.

Barbara Orbison: Widow of Roy Orbison

Barbara Orbison, who died on 6 December aged 60 of pancreatic cancer, was the widow of Roy Orbison, and since his death in 1988 she had devoted her time to managing his estate and keeping his legacy alive. With her son, Roy Kelton Orbison Jr, she co-produced a four-CD box set of her husband's 107 recordings. The package marked the first all-inclusive body of Roy Orbison's work from his earliest recordings to the Traveling Wilburys' debut album, his final studio album Mystery Girl and his last live performance.

Parliamentary inquiry into lobbying to call Bell Pottinger executives as witnesses

Nearly two-thirds of MPs want lobbyists registered, though support is lower among Conservatives

Sinead O'Connor, St John-at-Hackney, London
Skrillex, Academy, Bristol

The often controversial singer packs an emotional punch as she lets her powerful voice rip in an east London church

At their peak, the total Wombles earnings were reputed to be around £17m a year

Womblepedia! They're back... and set to challenge 'X Factor' for festive No 1 slot

David Randall and Sophie Zeldin-O'Neill, in true Womble style, gather the facts for an A to Z of the Wimbledon litter pickers

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Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
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Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital