Arts and Entertainment

Sheryl Crow "Feels Like Home" (Warner Bros)

Pappy's: Last Show Ever, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

After some muted outings, the sketch group Pappy's are back to their lovable best, on the kind of form that saw them shortlisted for Edinburgh's comedy award in 2007 and will probably get them a place on this year's list, too.

Album: Bill Fay, Life Is People (Dead Oceans)

Success in songwriting is as much a lottery as a measure of true quality.

Album: Karima Francis, The Remedy (Vertigo)

In 2008 that arbiter of popular culture the Daily Mail called Francis "the next big thing". What followed was a debut album that didn't quite deliver and nine months in a hospital bed with anorexia.

Anna Calvi

Here strum the girls

A new wave of women aren't content to use the guitar to simply accompany songs. They have forged brave new ways to play the instrument, argues Chris Mugan

Paul Heaton Presents The 8th, Barbican, London


“You looked confused at some points,” amiably admits Paul Heaton after overseeing his confusing and long-winded soul opera, The 8th.

Jim McCrary: Photographer who shot over 300 album covers

The US photographer Jim McCrary created over 300 album covers, including Reach Out by Burt Bacharah, Mad Dogs and Englishmen by Joe Cocker, Now & Then by The Carpenters, Nuthin' Fancy by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Two Sides of the Moon by Keith Moon and Remote Control by The Tubes.

Amy Macdonald

Amy Macdonald: Songs in the key of life – from Glasgow

Amy Macdonald isn't your average pop star. She writes positive songs, refuses to relocate to London, and has a footballer boyfriend yet hasn't sold her privacy to the tabloids. David Sinclair meets her

John Mayer fights back over Taylor Swift's 'Dear John' track

Taylor Swift has never revealed her target in the scathing song "Dear John," but John Mayer is pretty sure it was about him — and he doesn't think that's cool.

Bob Dylan's a hit at the White House

Bob Dylan, who once wrote that "even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked", has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.

Album: Joel Frederiksen, Requiem for a Pink Moon (Harmonia Mundi

There's been increasing traffic between the folk and classical fields of late, though it's rare for a contemporary songwriter to be the focus, as in this "Elizabethan Tribute to Nick Drake".

Album: Delaney Davidson, Bad Luck Man (Voodoo Rhythm)

This New Zealander's second album is a rattling, twanging, guitar-thumping celebration of the inebriated underdog as tragicomic hero.

Ke$ha's name, and her clothes, speak volumes - whereas acts such as Sonia seem more subtle than today's stars

'Sluttish stars harm youngsters,' says Mike Stock

Hit Eighties' songwriter blames today's singers for taking the easy option

Jodie Marie - The shy singer who became a folk-pop sensation

But for a chance encounter in a B&B in west Wales, Jodie Marie might never have got a record deal. She still can't quite believe it's all happening, she tells Elisa Bray

Album: Carole King, The Legendary Demos (Decca)

You might remember King from such pop classics as “You've Got A Friend”, “Natural Woman”, “It's Too Late”...

Album: BBB (Balkan Beat Box), Give (Crammed Discs)

This New York-based trio's name has always irritated because it fails to convey how musically eclectic they are.

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Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
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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
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment