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'
Career Services

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
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz