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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The Doctor and the Dalek meet
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Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
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Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
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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
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Chosen to lead the women's wing of the ruling Zanu-PF, the wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding the 90-year old
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model of a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution