News Lanier, far right, with Blue Öyster Cult, the thinking person's heavy metal band

The keyboard-player, guitarist and songwriter Allen Lanier was a founder-member of Blue Öyster Cult, the thinking man's heavy metal band best known for the spectral anthem "(Don't Fear) The Reaper''. Included in the John Carpenter horror film Halloween in 1978, two years after its original release on the group's fourth studio album Agents Of Fortune, and referenced in The Simpsons, "Reaper'' tends to overshadow the rest of BÖC's mercurial oeuvre.

Pussy Riot member, Maria Alekhina, denied parole

A court has denied parole to a member of the Pussy Riot punk group.

Emeny to take the helm at Fuller, Smith & Turner

Fuller’s, brewer of London Pride, was set up 160 years ago and has over 400 pubs

Yoko Ono is curating this year's Meltdown Festival

Yoko Ono's Meltdown Festival tribute to John Lennon

The last album released by John Lennon before he was murdered will be played in full live for the first time when his widow, Yoko Ono, takes over this year's Meltdown Festival.

Can
2:54

Caught in the Net: Sister act from the dark side

London-based sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow, who trade under the name 2:54, released their debut album last week.

The Independent to launch Independent Radar

From Saturday, The Independent will include an indispensable new guide to arts and culture, Independent Radar.

How We Met: Patrick Wolf & Patti Smith

'People might think it's a maternal connection, but I see her in a more romantic way'

Album: R.E.M. Collapse Into Now (Warner)

R.E.M's 15th album could trade places with almost any of the previous 14.

Just Kids, By Patti Smith

Art, artists, and the early years of the 'Godmother of Punk'

Ed Harcourt - 'I always make music, I write all the time. I can't do anything else'

Singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt breaks a six-year silence to tell Elisa Bray about a new album that draws on unusual instruments purchased on the internet and the contrasting lessons of failure and new fatherhood

Sex sells: The girl band that changed pop forever

Under-age, under-dressed, and over-the-top, The Runaways were the first girl rock group to make a global impact. Now their story is a movie. Chris Salewicz recalls his times with Joan Jett, Cherie Currie and their band

Ornette Coleman, Meltdown Festival, Southbank Centre, London

Ambling onstage in sparkly silver suit and lime-green shirt, Ornette Coleman displays the disregard for prevailing tastes and fashions that has shocked jazz fans for half a century and more. Okay, inventing Free Jazz was one thing – but lime green and silver? What kind of way is this for a man on the cusp of 80 to dress?

Album: The Flowers of Hell, Come Hell or High Water, (Benbecula)

Composed and recorded in London, Toronto, Prague and Abilene (Texas), with the involvement of a small host of worthy musos, most of whom have form with Spacemen 3, Spiritualized, British Sea Power and Patti Smith.

Sons of York, Finborough Theatre, London

Not only do the cast and setting of James Graham's play seem familiar; the characters, too, know they've been around a while. When a guitar-playing student baulks at entering his Northern family's trucking business, his dad quips, "It's all very DH Lawrence, innit?"

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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
'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
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran