Voices

How much better could it really be than regular Glühwein?

Hark the herald alt-popsters sing: Christmas albums from the most unexpected angles

Watch the exclusive Erasure video for 'Make it Wonderful' above

Andy Burrows tested his songs on his daughter, Chloe

Backstage: Snowman pair get a kid’s view from Chloe’s criticism

Between them, they have recorded number one albums and have won awards for scoring soundtracks for Hollywood films. But when it came to looking for a sounding board for their recent Christmas collaboration, Andy Burrows and Ilan Eshkeri turned to a five-year-old girl.

Album: Johnny Borrell, Borrell 1 (Virgin)

Rarely has a rock singer been as badly wrong as Johnny Borrell when, on his debut solo album, he informs the listener that "I am a masochist, you are a narcissist".

Bowman says: 'I loved Now Is Good - I couldn't speak when I came out'

Cultural Life: Edith Bowman, presenter

Television: I just started watching the second series of The Killing. It's a commitment. The first series was 20 episodes. I almost felt like I was having an affair with it. I'd wake up in the middle of the night, sneak downstairs and watch an episode. I've also been watching re-runs of Arrested Development. It just sums up my sense of humour exactly. Also I've got a slight obsession with Jason Bateman.

Get Loaded in the Park, Clapham Common, London

Beneath a grey sky, a sea of umbrellas bopped up and down on Clapham Common as a crowd wearing anoraks and Wellington boots braved the rain to listen to some great British talent.

The best young bands come to Wychwood

This year, for the second time, I've judged the bands who will be performing on the BBC Introducing stage at this weekend's Wychwood Festival. To sum up, this requires listening to 70 new bands originating from the seven regions surrounding the festival and narrowing them down to 10. This is much the same process as when I extract all CDs by new acts from my daily pile of post and take them home for a weekly session that I call "spin it or bin it". The session typically involves a bottle of wine, and a music-loving friend for that important second opinion. Any act that makes it to the second song goes on one pile, any that doesn't meets its less happy fate on the second. You must understand that the pile of new music is always large.

Camden Crawl, Various venues, London

Beer and roaming in north London

Jagger: Keith's new book is 'a bit bitchy'

Keith Richards' war of words with Mick Jagger continued yesterday, when he admitted that his Rolling Stones bandmate had described his autobiography as "a bit bitchy".

White Lies, Shoreditch Town Hall, London

If we're to believe what the music industry tells us, that 2011 is going to be the year we see the resurgence of guitar bands, tonight's Now Playing event hosted by Three and Spotify is ahead of the game.

Diary: Johnny expands his mind

In what may come as something of a surprise to those familiar with Johnny Borrell's interview history, the not-universally-beloved Razorlight frontman has some useful advice – particularly for potential undergraduates put off by the rising cost of higher education.

Florence and the Machine, Academy, Birmingham

Too many toffs on this magic roundabout

Pandora: Wanted: a trio of people to replace Lord Cashpoint

Now that Labour's silver-quiffed fund-raiser Lord Levy has all but burned his bridges with the party, the hunt is on to find his successor. Party bosses are currently advertising for two "high-value" fund-raising officers, as well as an assistant, who might be able to entice any big hitters willing to part with their cash and help it out of its latest financial woes.

Album: The Kooks, Konk (Virgin)

Kookin' on gas? Just konked out, more like

Are these Britain's worst-dressed men?

So says 'GQ' magazine. Carola Long, deputy fashion editor, decides if they are being wronged
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Independent Travel
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee