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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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
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell