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
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?