Arts and Entertainment Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol whose supergroup Tired Pony trails behind according to our critic

“It’s called... ‘The New One’!” announces Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, promoting his indie supergroup Tired Pony’s second album The Ghost Of The Mountain with a suitably schmindie level of marketing skill.

Not so shiny or happy now: REM

REM Earls Court, London Hole Brixton Academy, London

First Night: Cultural icons no longer on the up

REM Earls Court London

Books: Days of rolling Rizlas

Powder by Kevin Sampson Cape pounds 10

Cable and Satillite: Pick of the Day

RICHARD E GRANT'S screen persona was defined by his first major role - the wonderfully dissolute outsider in Withnail and I. There are touches of that in Keep the Aspidistra Flying (8.30pm Sky Premier), Robert Bierman's moderately successful evocation of the novel by George Orwell, which receives its first showing on satellite tonight. Grant (right) plays Gordon Gomstock, a disillusioned copywriter who packs it in to try out a more Bohemian lifestyle as a poet in grimy 1930s Lambeth. Helena Bonham Carter chips in lively support as his frigid girlfriend.

Pop: This Week's Album Releases - Cry Cry Cry Cry Cry Cry (Razor & Tie)

"OUR RECORDING is but a cubic yard of dirt with 12 bright flowers and a lot of timothy grass growing out the top," writes Dar Williams in the liner-notes to this, her collaboration with Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell. I've no idea about the timothy grass, but the 12 songs here do indeed bloom with an enigmatic lustre, largely thanks to the trio's harmonies, which can be tender one moment and carry the astringency of traditional British folk singing the next. The writing, which ranges from popular material by REM and Ron Sexsmith to lesser-known but equally incisive pieces by James Keelaghan and Nerissa Nields, is superb throughout, a series of tales and tableaux working poignantly through themes of morality, mercy, memory and loss.

How we met: Michael Stipe and natalie Merchant

Michael Stipe, 33, is the lead singer with the multi-million-selling rock band REM, which formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1980. He is also executive producer of Todd Haynes' glam-rock film, Velvet Goldmine. REM's new album, Up, was released last month and is at number two in the album charts. Natalie Merchant, 35, is the former vocalist of the New York-based band 10,000 Maniacs. Her erudite debut solo album, Tigerlily, sold more than four million copies in America alone. Her newly released second album, Ophelia, is accompanied by a short film in which she plays seven of the characters from the songs. To "stay connected", she continues to do regular voluntary work with the homeless.

The Critics: Rock: The one I love

REM 'Up' Beck 'Mutations' Alanis Morissette 'Supposed Former Infatuatio n Junkie' Robbie Williams 'I've Been Expecting You'

Shiny happy few get close to REM

THE BAND that has some claim to the title Most Successful in the World will be performing live in Britain tonight. But not at Wembley.

The perfect rock band

Unlike other groups, REM have never sold out, or self-destructed, or made a bad record. How do they do it? By Nicholas Barber

Pop review: Devlin disguise

The Devlins

Behind the song: Why Stipe wrote 'Losing My Religion'

First released: 1991 Highest UK chart position: 7

Pop: Wandering star

From the early days of his former band American Music Club right through to his present third solo album, Mark Eitzel has been an eternal songwriting misfit. His achey tunes and impassioned and complex lyrics rarely fit pop conventions and, as well as inspiring devotion from followers, sometimes songs stir up uncomfortable times for Eitzel. Take the story behind the title of the new album: Caught In A Trap And I Can't Back Out Cause I Love You Too Much Baby. On the surface, it is just a snatch from Presley's "Suspicious Minds", but there's more to it than that. "What happened was I had just stopped doing these incredibly long tours with a couple of major-label bands in America and every night I was confronted by completely indifferent audiences and I had no time to myself," he explains. "I almost had a nervous breakdown after that. So that record is to do with every specific thing. Every night I got onstage and thought, `I'm caught in a trap'."


Each week a London based artist/designer interprets the space SPACE #8: Sarah Partridge

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

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British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

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The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

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Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
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Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
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Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

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My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

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Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

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