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.

Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
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Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
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Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
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Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
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The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss