News

Most brothers of the groom use their best man’s speech as an excuse for some mild teasing and emotional childhood tales.

X Factor judge Gary Barlow in Glasgow.

Gary Barlow offers to light up Blackpool after Danny O'Donoghue pulls out

X Factor judge Gary Barlow has offered to step in and perform at the turning on of the Blackpool Illuminations after The Voice star Danny O'Donoghue and his band pulled out.

GTA 5: Soundtrack and radio stations leaked online

Tracks ranging from classic rock to contemporary rap listed after digital pre-order download analysed by fans

Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant turned down a role as a judge on American Idol

Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant asked to replace Simon Cowell as a judge on American Idol

Tennant believes producers want a 'bitchy gay Englishman' to fill Cowell's shoes

Night Engine, a four-piece from London fronted by Phil McDonnell

Music review: The Great Escape, Various venues, Brighton

It’s hard to shake the feeling that The Great Escape, the annual three-day gigathon for new bands and Brighton’s answer to Texas’s South-By-South-West, has grown too unwieldy for its own good. Certainly, the queues outside venues that snake all the way to Eastbourne offer little hope to the majority of seeing the year’s buzz bands such as The Strypes, Swim Deep or Parquet Courts.

Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisolm, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Victoria Beckham at St Pancras yesterday

Spice Girls 'set for Olympics closing ceremony'

Rumours that the Spice Girls will be reuniting to perform at the Olympic Games closing ceremony look to be true after the band were pictured apparently rehearsing for Sunday's extravaganza.

The Olympic Torch at Wembley

Spectators' experience at London 2012 Olympics to be improved with music and special lighting

Olympics organisers have revealed how they intend to enhance the spectator experience at London 2012 with music and other visual presentations.

Simon Kelner: Unplugged, unenlightened and just un-British

It's possibly easier to come across a rock god than a black cab in London at the moment. First up was Bruce Springsteen, who found out what unplugged really means when his concert at Hyde Park was summarily curtailed after over-running his allotted time.

David Bailey: The photographer has taken inspiration from nature. 'It's the happiest flower I could think of,' he says of the striking picture he has donated to the exhibition. The image is one of Bailey's own photographs, which he shot in 2008. Every year, he captures the same flowers in April and May

Charting emotion: What makes me happy

Researchers have tried to quantify how happy people are by charting the emotion on an index. From Tuesday, it is the turn of the arts to explain happiness, with a new exhibition aiming to express the emotion through objects.

Fortnum and Mason Christmas window display

West End girls give festive touch to Fortnum and Mason display

Department store Fortnum and Mason has unveiled its Christmas window decorations, with not a bauble in sight.

Metropole Orkest vs Basement Jaxx, Barbican, London

Basement Jaxx's creative resource has let them survive the 1990s' dance-pop heyday with hardly a scratch.

High Court legal bid to block library closures

Library closures across the country are challenged for the first time at the High Court today.

First Night: The Most Incredible Thing, Sadler's Wells, London

Ballet extravaganza is a step too far for the Pet Shop Boys

Javier de Frutos: 'Destroying art? It's like slapping a nun...'

After boos, death threats and a breakdown, the enfant terrible of dance returns – this time with a three-act ballet scored by the Pet Shop Boys
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor