Arts and Entertainment

It's not happening.

The Big Society emerges at last – as a musical

Phill Jupitus to star in theatrical send-up of the Prime Minister's grand concept

Stand Up and Rock, Hammersmith Apollo, London

Comedy and rock n' roll persistently get paired for the comparative superlative “comedy is the new rock n' roll” and tonight they were again bedfellows.

Taylor Momsen 'dating Paul Weller's son'

Taylor Momsen is reportedly dating Paul Weller's son.

Missing you already: What happens when the football season ends?

A period of mourning and weeks of sub-standard summer sport, argues Stan Hey

How We Met: Bernard Butler & Nerina Pallot

'He came round with an Arsenal playsuit. We're both aware of just how tragic we are'

Paul Weller finishes new album

Paul Weller has finished his next album.

Japan Disaster Benefit, Brixton Academy, London

Boasting a line-up more suited to the Glastonbury main stage than the Brixton Academy, Liam Gallagher, Paul Weller and Primal Scream were among the cream of British rock acts who performed a one-off gig in aid of relief efforts for victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

First Night: Japan Disaster Benefit, Brixton Academy, London

Liam shines with his A-list friends at Japan aid gig

Albums of the year: Rock, pop and dance

From an electro Scandipop queen to grizzled old-timers

Paul Weller, Wembley Arena, London

Boasting a rich career that started with mod-punkers The Jam more than 30 years ago, Paul Weller struck gold again this year. Delirious reviews welcomed the Modfather back to the UK charts in April with his 10th solo album, Wake Up the Nation, a short, sharp and striking work of fresh experimental hits nominated for the Mercury Prize. It's this new material that dominates Weller's set on the last night of his UK tour at Wembley yet, surprisingly, his performance massively misses the mark.

My Fantasy Band: Jools Holland

Lead vocals - Bessie Smith & Solomon Burke

I could listen to Bessie Smith all day. Solomon Burke sadly died last month but I toured with him; he was amazing. His vocals inspired people like Van Morrison and Otis Redding.

The Bees, Bush Hall, London

The Bees are back and the world is suddenly a better place. It's three years since the blessed Isle of Wight sextet came up with a new album, which might be the blink of an eye compared with the timescale on which a Blue Nile or a Kate Bush operates, but for fans of these free-spirited embracers of soul, jazz, and psychedelia it's been an anxious wait.

The Eighties: Another country

From the Falklands and the miners' strike to Diana and Live Aid, it was a decade that changed our world. And the legacy of the Eighties lives on, argues Andy McSmith

Diary: Paul Hewson for PM

While Blair was long convinced that Brown would be a poor prime minister, he seems to have no such compunction about recommending Bono for a similar role. The U2 frontman, Blair writes (on page 555), "could have been a president or prime minister standing on his head. He had an absolutely natural gift for politicking, was great with people, very smart and an inspirational speaker... motivated by an abundant desire to keep on improving, never really content or relaxed. I knew he would work with George [W Bush] well, and with none of the prissy disdain of most of his ilk". Bono's nationality (not to say his tax arrangements) would preclude him from leading a British political party. One assumes he would also have to revert to his real name, Paul Hewson, to be taken seriously in high office. But familiarity with the world of finance would surely qualify him for leadership in Ireland: his investment fund, Elevation Partners, has been described as "arguably the worst run institutional fund of any size in the United States".

Mysteries of the Mercury Music Prize

This year's nominees on what the controversial album award means to them
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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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there