News Christmas Day 2013 was all about the battle for the other most worthy yuletide delivery: the alternative Christmas message.

While Channel 4 located the alabaster NSA whistleblower, several other household names came out of the tinsel

Gorillaz: Monkey business

What's it like living on a desert island? And, does Snoop Dogg party harder than you? On the eve of their new album, The Independent quizzes Gorillaz bass player Murdoc

NME Godlike Genius award for Modfather Paul Weller

Chart veteran Paul Weller is to receive a top honorary prize at this year's NME Awards, the annual Godlike Genius title, it was announced today.

Jamie T, Rock City, Nottingham<br/>DMC, Jazz Café, London

While the word on the street shows signs of growing up, Old Skool never dies

First Night: Jamie T, Rock City, Nottingham

Faithful followers rewarded with a rousing return to the stage

Vampire Weekend, Somerset House, London

London's pavements have just stopped resembling the ice-rink on which children spin, largely oblivious to New York's hippest band playing on the balcony above them.

Royal Mail unveil classic album cover stamps

Led Zeppelin guitar legend, Jimmy Page, today launched the Royal Mail’s much awaited New Year stamp collection featuring ten of the most iconic album covers of the last 40 years.

Chile: In the Atacama, the world holds its breath

Chile's desert is so still, so quiet, a traveller might feel they had entered a vast sensory deprivation chamber. It looks, and sounds, like no place on earth

Rankin: When two-faced is a good thing

They are some of the world's most recognisable faces: defaced. A series of revealing photographs show pop stars rejecting their polished images in order to create original artworks to sell at a charity auction.

The end of a real page-turner

It was the information superhighway of its day &ndash; but thanks to the internet, Teletext's days are numbered

'I forgive you': The Clash's drummer Topper Headon makes peace with the man who sacked him

In the late 1970s, a drummer called Topper Headon joined The Clash, the most exciting rock'n'roll band in the world. There followed five years of non-stop playing, partying and drug-taking...but by 1982, Headon's heroin addiction was out of control, and Clash leader Joe Strummer was forced to sack him. Then things got really bad. Today, reflective and sober, he tells Mark Lucas his remarkable story

London calling for Jones' Clash show

Mick Jones, guitarist from The Clash, is standing in his lock-up in north Acton. He is sifting through and boxing up his collection of rock paraphernalia, including stained Clash clothing, and the famous pink Clash flight-cases, to be exhibited in Chelsea in March. It is his alternative to the upcoming "British Music Experience" opening at the O2 next month, and the feeling couldn't be less corporate.

The last chord at the Astoria

London's iconic rock venue is closing next week. To mark its passing, Sam Duckworth of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly shares his memories before giving it the send-off it deserves
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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
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?