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”...

A Natural Woman, By Carole King

Independence and hard work are the threads of this life's rich tapestry

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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine