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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Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

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people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
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Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

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Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker