News Christmas Day 2013 was all about the battle for the other most worthy yuletide delivery: the alternative Christmas message.

While Channel 4 located the alabaster NSA whistleblower, several other household names came out of the tinsel

Lone parent for a week – how hard can it be?

Because my wife is off in Austria having her colon cleansed, I have been Mr Mum for the week. To my amazement, I realised that this is the first time I have looked after both my kids without Stacey for more than a day. This was quite shocking to me, but it was my kids who pointed it out. They were clearly concerned about the week ahead and how I would fare as sole carer. How hard could it be, I wondered? Wake up, make breakfast, drop them off at school, mess about all day, pick them up from school, make supper, and send them to bed. If only I'd known.

Album: Luke Haines, Rock and Roll Animals (Cherry Red)

After alternate English histories and wrestlers' inner monologues, the insanely prolific and prolifically insane Auteur turns to children's fables.

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.

'Recluse' Bowie stuns fans by releasing single

When the email arrived, announcing the surprise return of the master of musical reinvention, it was titled, appropriately "where is David Bowie?"

Ray Davies, Royal Albert Hall, London; Tori Amos, Royal Albert Hall, London

The fans' enthusiasm shows no sign of flagging, but despite his 'unforced genius', The Kinks' lead singer should pay closer attention to his footwear

Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, wants to write a prequel

Before Downton? Not so abbey ever after

Julian Fellowes wants to write a Downton prequel. Why not march forward to the septic Seventies? John Walsh offers his plot suggestions

“Under the Westway” single was first played by Damon Albarn (pictured) and guitarist Graham Coxon in February

First Listen: Blur take to Twittersphere with debut of new songs

Blur last night debuted two new tracks in a live performance from a balcony at a secret London location.

The Great Escape, Various Venues, Brighton

The Great Escape, Brighton’s answer to Texas’s South-by-Southwest festival, has grown at an alarming rate in its six-year existence.

Album: Mark Stewart, The Politics of Envy (Future Noise)

Mark Stewart has been cross-pollinating sounds since his time with The Pop Group, always freighted with an abrasive political attitude, and the splendid The Politics of Envy simply ratchets that process up a few notches.

Trending: Jeepers creepers, how'd you do those peepers?

Cheering news for fans of elaborate eye makeup who are shaky of hand or just butter-fingered.

The Black Keys

The Black Keys - The two keys to the big time

The gritty blues-rock duo have sold out their British tour. Andy Gill meets them at their studio in Nashville

Entertainment

Spirit Music buys Pete Townshend's song catalogue

Mosaic marks birthday of pensioner Davie Bowie

David Bowie officially becomes a pensioner today as he turns 65, and one of Britain's leading mosaic artists has created a piece to mark the musician and actor's milestone.

Daivd Bowie sang 'I've rocked my roll. There will be
no more rock 'n' roll tours from me' when he was only 28

When I'm 65! Pop goes the pensioner

Some of music's biggest rebels eat their words and graduate as OAPs this year

Video: Suggs reveals underwear to Bowie

Backstage at Reading festival, Madness frontman shares a tale of an awkward moment with David Bowie.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
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Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea