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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Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing