Echo and the Bunnymen, Royal Albert Hall, London

At the same venue three nights previously, concert-goers had revelled in the reassurance offered by the Last Night of the Proms. And a not dissimilar process was at work when post-punk veterans Echo and the Bunnymen took over the Royal Albert Hall and bathed it in a sound as rich and warm and sweeping – not to mention as English – as anything written by Sir Edward Elgar.

Hercules and Love Affair, Koko, London

Too much a slave to the disco rhythm

Story of the Song: Bingo Master's Breakout, The Fall (1978)

Formed in 1976 by Mark E Smith , The Fall sounded as discordant as a cutlery drawer sliding downstairs. The teenage Smith was a fan of Captain Beefheart and the garage sound of early-Sixties America.

Introducing... Tim Burgess

The Independent Music Magazine's new guest columnist

Joy Division, (15)

After Anton Corbijn's fictional treatment in Control, here are the source notes: the story of Ian Curtis and Joy Division told through interviews with the surviving members of the band and assorted associates.

Album: Various artists, In The Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2 (Wrasse)

Not as bad as you'd expect. For one thing, much as I admire U2's songcraft, anything's preferable to Bono's mannered croon.

Album: The Fall, Imperial Wax Solvent (Sanctuary)

"I'm a 50-year-old man!" snarls Mark E Smith on this latest Fall album, adding chippily, "What you gonna do about it?" It's not so much a question as a challenge, and a rhetorical one, at that.

Album: Does It Offend You, Yeah?, You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into (Virgin)

The surf-punk of "Attack of the 60ft Lesbian Octopus" is dance-guitar music, while the cowbell and the vocal yelps of ex-DFA 1979 member Sebastian Grainger on "Let's Make Out" mean it holds its own against the best of LCD Soundsystem's indie-electro. But the rest of the first album by the Reading-based new ravers DIOY,Y? is split into roughly equal parts scuzzy electro stompers and poppy guitar songs, and doesn't fuse the two inclinations successfully. Still, whichever end of the synth-guitar spectrum your preferences lie, there's at least half a good album here.

First Night: The Long Blondes, Amersham Arms, London

Not yet great, but proof that many Long Blondes can still have fun

Album: The Kills, Midnight Boom (Domino)

The game's up for this kind of who-you-know-not-what-you-know Shoreditch smack-rock. Alison "VV" Mosshart and Jamie "Hotel" Hince have been peddling designer dangerousness for the best part of a decade. ("I want you to be crazy cos you're boring baby when you're straight/You're stupid when you're safe" is a typical trying-too-hard-to-sound-sleazy line from 'Midnight Boom'.) "Last Day of Magic" is mildly reminiscent of Robert Palmer's "Looking for Clues", and that's as close as I can get to a positive. "M.E.X.I.C.O.C.U." is so offensively stylised and fake it makes you want to punch something.

Album: Chumbawamba, The Boy Bands Have Won (No Masters)

Now a quintet, the Yorkshire subversives once renowned for dousing the Deputy PM have recast themselves as inheritors of the activist folk tradition of Leon Rosselson.

Album: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (Mute)

Nick Cave's recent albums with the Bad Seeds appeared to find him in the grip of a mid-life crisis, during which he made the kind of music that was fitting for a man of 50 (namely, contemplative piano meditations).

Album: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (Mute)

Although not wielding quite the compelling blend of erotomania, humour and tragedy that characterised last year's Grinderman project, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! nonetheless packs a punch of similarly idiosyncratic power.

US troops to target Iranian insurgents

President Bush has stepped up pressure against Teheran by authorizing US troops in Iraq to kill or capture Iranian operatives in the country deemed a threat, the White House said yesterday.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
music
News
i100
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
news
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'