Arts and Entertainment

Less than two years ago, the Manic Street Preachers played the 20,000-capacity O2 Arena. Now, they play to a tenth of that audience size, the intimacy of this west London venue - and others on this tour - ideal for their new, 11th studio album, Rewind the Film, which revolves around gentle acoustic modes. It seems that in their middle age the Welsh band are embracing subtlety (musically, at least).

Album: Various Artists, Sacred Songs for Worrying Times (Righteous)

A striking anthology of modern faith-based ruminations, some custom-built to fit the compilation's prescient brief, others sourced with impeccable taste from the likes of The Handsome Family ("Grandmother Waits for You") and Slint singer/guitarist Ryan Driver ("When Were You in Mexico").

Album: Various artists, Moondust, (Heavenly)

The best ideas are usually the simplest, and Andrew Smith's quest to interview all the men who've walked on the Moon turned into an award-winning bestseller.

The cultural events scene is booming - now it even has its own degrees

Think festival and most people conjure up a muddy field, a beer tent, some loud music and, depending on their taste, either one of the best or worst experiences of their life. Yet this limited scenario does the modern festival sector a disservice. There is a festival to suit every taste, be it the mega-crowds and headline bands of Glastonbury, the anarchic acts of the Edinburgh Fringe or the more rarefied atmosphere of the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

Mercury barometer: the stars on what the award did for them

Talvin Singh ('Ok' - Winner 1999)
People got to know my music that had never heard it before, so that is a positive point, and the Mercury Prize can stretch your career in that way, but I've never really taken much advantage of that because I've been on a bit of sabbatical from recording for the past few years. When I won you couldn't get my records for four months because the record company had never thought of me winning so they didn't stock up. So, for record sales, that didn't really help.
Tip to win: Burial

Guillemots aim to show they're no fly-by-nights

Elisa Bray speaks to the Mercury nominated band

Album: Elbow, The Seldom Seen Kid (Fiction)

"I'm asking you to back a horse that's good for glue," sings Guy Garvey on "Starlings", the opening track of Elbow's fourth album – though on the evidence here, this band is far from ready for the knacker's yard.

You Write The Reviews: Vincent Vincent and the Villains, De Montfort Hall, Leicester

I went to this Richard Hawley gig with the intention of reviewing the celebrated Sheffield crooner, and I can safely say that it would have been a good review. For the first time in years, though, I was excited and overwhelmed by the brilliance of the support act, Vincent Vincent and the Villains. Most people feel a twinge of annoyance when they have to stand through several support acts, but as an avid music fan, I'm always keen to see what bands lower down on the bill have to offer. Anyone who makes a point of just turning up for the main act would have missed out here.

You write the reviews: Richard Hawley, De Monfort Hall, Leicester

After the usual greetings, Richard Hawley issued the battle cry: "Let's ballad!" Heartfelt and serious in its baritone delivery, last Monday's show featured all that is good about Hawley. Lady's Bridge, released in late 2007, dominated the set while the Mercury-nominated Cole's Corner featured heavily too.

Inside Story: The 42nd edition of Midem

Midem used to be a bit of a jolly for the music business, especially for staff at the major labels. Networking, wheeling and dealing at Cannes, on the French Riviera, in January? What’s not to like?

Music: Turn on the DIY charm

Gomez Empire, Shepherd's Bush, London Super Furry Animals Academy, Brixton, London Longpigs Heaven, London

Theatre The Philadelphia Story Upper Campfield Market, Manchester

The Manchester story behind The Philadelphia Story is how a company stood in the street and watched the IRA's attack on the city bring the roof down on their theatre. If, infused with American spirit, they did not at that moment exactly say "let's do the show right here", the whole company has, in fact, damn near done that by opening, on time, just down the road in the engaging space of Castlefield's Upper Campfield Market.

Survivors of the business Ice Age

RECESSIONS for companies are rather like ice ages for the world of nature. The weak go out of business or become extinct; the strong remain to dominate the industry or their part of the planet. Huge profits can be made from identifying such companies and buying them early in the recovery phase when they can enjoy startling profits growth and make cheap acquisitions of struggling rivals.

The things these actors get up to

...well, I mean, says Julian Clary, it's just not polite is it? The comedian describes some sticky moments in rehearsal for his straight role in Jean Genet's 'Splendid's'

THEATRE / Otis interruptus: The odd word, an odder space. Marianne Brace watches rehearsals for one of the more claustrophobic shows in the London International Mime Festival

A small-time Mafia killer takes the lift to the 18th floor of a hotel. He makes his hit, returns to the lift and is stabbed by a moll. His past life begins to play out before his eyes. Been here before? Almost certainly. At least that's what Insomniac Productions director, Pete Brooks, hopes. L'Ascensore (The Lift) 'is about as incoherent a piece of work as I've ever made in terms of what you actually see,' Brooks says. 'But the audience finds it really easy to construct the gaps between the scenes because they feel they've seen it before.'
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Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
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View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel