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

The Hold Steady, Roundhouse, London

As any self-respecting rock'n' roller knows, the press love a good myth.

Ray Lowry: Cartoonist best known for his work in the rock music press

Although best known for his distinctive and often rather surreal cartoons for Punch, Private Eye and many other publications – especially in the rockmusic industry – over the past four decades, Ray Lowry also worked as a journalist, illustrator, designer and oil painter.

Music & Me: Mick Jones

The first record I bought was...

There were two records I bought with my own money when I was 12 year's old. Jimi Hendrix Experience Smash Hits and Cream Disraeli Gears.

The birth of The Clash

An epiphany at a Sex Pistols gig led to the formation of the most enduring of punk bands. Here, in an extract from a new book, The Clash reveal how they started in a London squat

My Secret Life: Mark Strong, Actor, age 45

The home I grew up in... was a flat in Middleton Square in London's Islington, a beautiful Georgian square with a huge church in the middle. We moved around a lot when I was a kid. I remember flats in Walthamstow, Clapton, Stoke Newington and Edmonton, as well.

Snapshots of fame: The Sunshine Bores the Daylights Out of Me

A treasure trove of photographs of rock royalty lay hidden for years. Now, fans can rediscover them at a new show, says Charlotte Cripps

Womad Festival, Charlton Park, Wiltshire

Rachid Taha's wildness restates festival's mission of connection

Top ten tape tips

Honest Jon's - the world in the mix

Honest Jon's record label is putting on a cross-cultural spectacular at London's Barbican. Tim Cumming reports

The City Sings, Barbican, London

When it's lit up at night, the office block facing the entrance to the Barbican looks like the embodiment of capitalism. The rows of cubbyholes stretching heavenwards are all identical, each with the same standard-issue desk, lamp and shelves of black folders. On the first floor, where the big bosses presumably reside, the lighting is softer, and there's some serious art on the walls: culture clearly makes a suitable background accompaniment to the agreeable business of amassing millions.

The great Rock Against Racism show plays it again

Thirty years after a mega-gig changed Britain's cultural landscape, its veterans are back for an encore. Jonathan Owen reports

Rock against racism: Remembering that gig that started it all

This weekend, Rock Against Racism and the Anti Nazi League's historic 1978 Carnival is celebrated in an anniversary gig. Here, some of those who organised or played at the original concert – and members of the audience – remember the event

Janet Street-Porter: So what chance did Karen ever have?

The trial by media of Karen Matthews, mother of Shannon, the little girl who was missing for 24 days, continues. Yesterday it was announced that the date for her trial on charges of child neglect and perverting the course of justice has been set for November. Some sections of the press seem intent on trashing the clearly inadequate Ms Matthews just as they did Fiona MacKeown, mother of murdered teenager Scarlett Keeling – unearthing endless examples of her "unsuitability" as a mother.

The 5-minute interview: Rachid Taha, Singer

'The way political structures are built doesn't allow for honesty'

How We Met: John Niven & James Dean Bradfield

'We lived a Welsh Valleys lifestyle, but in London. We were good, hard, steady drinkers'
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