Arts and Entertainment Nick Allbrook, of Pond: 'Most of the music I love is made by awful musicians'

'Most of the music I love is made by awful musicians'

Latitude 2013 video: Rachel Zeffira - Here On In

Rachel Zeffira is playing the i Arena at this year's Latitude festival at Henham Park, Suffolk

Friendly Fires to host charity gig after the death of their friend

Mercury Prize-nominated band Friendly Fires are staging a star-studded charity gig after the death of their friend Adam Connolly last week.

Tame Impala, O2 Brixton Academy, London

To the casual observer, it might seem that Australia’s new psychedelic heroes Tame Impala have plonked into the big time out of nowhere; in fact this headline slot at Brixton crowns a steady build of three years among the UK’s more paisley-minded types.

Rachel Zeffira, St Andrews, Holborn, London

There could be no more arresting an opening to a gig. As the audience faced the orchestra, awaiting the arrival of the Canadian soprano and multi-instrumentalist composer Rachel Zeffira, a beautiful sound erupted from behind, sending heads turning in the opposite direction.

Florence Welch took the Best Solo Artist award

Florence Welch beats Adele in double NME award triumph

Adele’s run of award-winning success has finally been brought to an end after Florence + The Machine triumphed with a double win at the NME awards.

Toy, The Shacklewell Arms, London

There's a dark and backcombed shadow that looms over innocent young art-rock hopes Toy, shake their shiny manes as they may on this tiny stage.

Guernica was commissioned by the Republican government, after the Basque city was bombed in the civil war

Robot research aims to assess damage to Picasso masterpiece

Every night, after the last visitor to Madrid's Reina Sofia Museum has left, the prestigious art gallery's newest curator flickers into life. The expert is a robot, which has begun the most exhaustive research ever performed on Picasso's renowned masterpiece, Guernica. The mission: to establish the extent of the damage the 75-year-old painting has sustained during its turbulent life.

Guernica was commissioned by the Republican government, after the Basque city was bombed in the civil war

The Picasso that's been in the wars

He painted Guernica to expose General Franco's tyranny, and refused to let it return home until the dictator was dead. Now it's showing the scars of its global tour, say Alasdair Fotheringham and Enjoli Liston

The Horrors, Academy, Oxford
Lianne La Havas, The Social, London

This band is now so good that our critic is prepared to put its background of privilege to one side; plus, a new soulstress

Album: The Maccabees, Given to the Wild (Fiction)

It's a challenge for even the mildest-mannered Class Warrior to remember to review The Maccabees' music, not their names: Orlando, Hugo, Felix, Rupert (and Sam), but our privately schooled heroes' third album is their best yet.

<p>High spirits: 'Conviviality at Bob Sawyer's: Three Men Enjoying a Drink' (c1836) by Phiz from 'The Pickwick Papers' </p>

Dickens: Nightmare before Christmas

Charles Dickens was driven by demons when he wrote his much-loved yuletide tales. Award-winning author Justin Cartwright feels the pain

Adele's mega-sales may elude Fleet Foxes and but they are the choice of the cognoscenti

Music critics snub the public's taste in Poll of Polls

This year's best-selling singer, Adele, is absent from HMV album of the year list

Seven Houses in France, By Bernardo Atxaga, trans. Margaret Jull Costa

Until now, Bernardo Atxaga's novels and stories, from Obabakoak in 1989 to The Accordionist's Son in 2003, have all dealt with the contemporary history of the Basque Country: its emigration and conflicts. The best-known Basque writer, Atxaga has often expressed frustration at being typecast. Here, in his latest novel, he breaks radically with this subject-matter, though it was written in the Basque language, Euskera, Atxaga's native tongue spoken by no more than a million people. Seven houses in France is set in the Congo in 1903-1904. Atxaga takes it for granted that Belgian imperialism was criminally responsible for this Heart of Darkness. Against this background, his main interest is to explore the feelings and behaviour of the group of white officers confined in the Yangambi garrison.

Season of Light, By Katharine McMahon

It takes a brave writer to tackle the epic subject of the French Revolution. But historical novelist Katharine McMahon, author of a bestselling novel set during the Crimean War, The Rose of Sebastopol, takes no prisoners. It's the summer of 1788 and Paris is ablaze with revolutionary ideas. Swept along in the excitement is Asa Ardleigh, a 19-year-old Englishwoman visiting the city with her newly-married sister, Philippa.

Signed rally photo: Signed by the Hitler Youth leader Arthur Axmann. $150-200

Boom in demand for relics from the Third Reich

US auction house expects bids in excess of $300,00 as memorabilia attracts new wave of buyers

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there