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

Album: Vetiver, Things of the Past (Fat Cat)

The problem with covers albums is that you can't help comparing the new versions to the originals. Happily, that's not going to trouble too many people with Vetiver's third record, which resurrects little-known gems by little-known artists from the 1960s and 1970s (Garland Jeffreys, anyone?).

The Sonics/The Horrors, The Forum, London

Rock's demonic upstarts are given a lesson in the dark arts

Arthur Lee and Love, Royal Festival Hall, London

Love changes everything

Arts: Pop: Bowie keeps swinging

DAVID BOWIE ASTORIA LONDON

Bowie drags his fans back to the golden years

First Night David Bowie Astoria London

Music: Ol' red eyes is back

Iggy Pop always did it his way. Now 50, he has produced an intensely personal album. Deep in Sinatra territory.

pop: john cale trio

Welshman John Cale (right), a co-founder of the Velvet Underground, begins a short UK tour tonight which marks his most extensive outing in this country for 15 years. Since leaving the Velvets in 1968, he's made 20 solo albums, produced the likes of Jonathan Richman, Nico and Patti Smith, and collaborated with other avant-gardists including Brian Eno and Terry Riley. These performances see him play grand piano and acoustic guitar accompanied by multi-instrumentalists Lance Doss and Mark Deffenbaugh. A busy month for Cale has also seen a major compilation of work from across his career released on Island, and the publication of his autobiography, What's Welsh For Zen?

Music: There's something about Jonathan

Jonathan Richman introduced us to the abominable snowman in the supermarket. Now, like wow, he's a film star.

Witness rock'n'roll suicide

Having conquered distinctions of gender and class, Ziggy Stardust is set to defy death itself when he struts his stuff on the ICA stage this week, 25 years after he met his maker.

Media: Good Ad Bad Ad-Leagus Delaney BBC

In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. This week Dave Buonoguidi, joint creative director, St Luke's, on television commercials high and low
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?