Kele Okereke of Bloc Party at Xfm's Winter Wonderland concert at the O2 Apollo Manchester

Bloc Party, Maximo Park, Everything Everything, Delphic, Spector and Findlay, Xfm Winter Wonderland, Apollo, Manchester

Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke is in fittingly combative mood, given how he has bulked up during his band’s three-year hiatus.

Claire Beale on Advertising: Fizz is forced out of Soda Stream ads

We're used to TV ads using colour and noise so you might have noticed a new ad for Soda Stream for precisely the opposite reason.

Luke Blackall: It's the return of wood panelling, but wood panelling with a sense of fun

I had been planning to eat healthily. You see, I am getting married in two weeks and while I am not concerned that I'll block the aisle with my girth, I also think it's a good day to try to look one's best.

Comic-book rockers strip away the music

Superheroes and cartoon characters have always featured in pop. Today the genres are merging in new ways, says Nick Hasted

Judy Chicago (with works by Tracey Emin, Helen Chadwick & Louise Bourgeois), Ben Uri: The London Jewish Museum of Art, London

“You are here to serve your masters.” This is a line from the S&M classic Story of O (1954), a tale about a career woman who succumbs to sexual slavery in a secluded château at the behest of her lover, René.

Philip Roth said Nemesis will be his last novel

There's another Bridget Jones in the diary, but no more Philip Roth

Roth captures Jewish experience in a way few others can manage, and the world is a poorer place without another novel of his to anticipate

M83, Brixton Academy, London

The word “epic” doesn't pack as much punch as it used to, what with everything being termed an epic fail or an epic win… which is possibly why M83's Anthony Gonzalez described their last record as “very, very, very epic”.

Battle of the brands: Britain's biggest retailers launch their Christmas campaigns

The festive battle to tug at the nation’s heartstrings – and loosen shoppers’ purse-strings – has begun after Britain’s biggest retailers unveiled rival blockbuster television advertising campaigns designed to induce a collective “aaah”.

Uncle Vanya, Noel Coward Theatre, London

The coincidence looks as if it might have been contrived by some ironic wag. A mere three days after the opening of Lindsay Posner's revival of Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville, the West End now plays host to this wildly alternative approach to the same play by Rimas Tuminas and the Moscow-based Vakhtangov company.

Beard to Tail, 77 Curtain Road, London EC2

Shoreditch was the original home of London's theatreland and, in mid-Victorian times, it positively vibrated with 'penny gaffs' – pop-up, makeshift theatres staged in converted warehouses for audiences of rowdy young people. Sound familiar? You can find the same phenomenon in EC2 today, except the pop-ups are now bars and restaurants. Wherever you look, once-alarming or darkly unpromising side-street gaffs have been re-made as trendy eating houses.

Alt-J won the Mercury Prize for their debut album An Awesome Wave

Awesome! Alt-J win as Mercury Prize seeks lost youth

Three years ago they were playing gigs in the upstairs rooms of student pubs in Leeds. Today they wake up as the next big thing in British pop. Such are the whims of the Mercury Prize.

Claude Pinoteau grew up around film sets

Claude Pinoteau: Director of popular French cinema

The film director Claude Pinoteau helped launch the careers of two of France's most successful screen actresses: Isabelle Adjani and Sophie Marceau. In La Gifle (The Slap, 1974), he cast the young Adjani as a headstrong medical student determined to move in with her boyfriend, to the dismay of her father, played by Lino Ventura.

Lyrikal Fearta. Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, London

For his first solo theatre work in 17 years, hip hop dance leader Jonzi D looks at being offered an MBE in the New Year Honours list. As subjects go, it’s hardly hip, but he’s well aware of that. “Of course it won’t harm your image,” a colleague tells him. “You’re already mainstream. That’s why you’re here.”

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