Arts and Entertainment

It was the weekend when it was announced that women were responsible for each of the UK's top five albums that finally pushed me over the edge. Let me be more specific. It wasn't the fact that Amy Winehouse, Adele and Beyoncé were occupying those top spots that I took issue with – it was the predictable flurry of media reporting, proclaiming that women in music were having some sort of moment.

Troubled soul singer Amy Winehouse dies at 27

The soul and R&B star, whose drink and drug problems often made the headlines, was found in her London home yesterday

Pop newbies Encore get to the point with QR codes

The new British boy band Encore, who have just supported Jesse J and N-Dubz on their UK tours, are to release their single "Tit for Tat" next month.

Camden Crawl, Various venues, London

Beer and roaming in north London

Wretch 32, XOYO, London

It's no secret that the success of MCs like Dizzee Rascal, Tinchy Stryder, Tinie Tempah et al has inspired record labels to frantically snatch up as many of these underground stars as possible, with Wretch 32 being the latest kid on the block to be tipped for the big time. Back in January, he landed a No 5 single with "Traktor", a pounding tune so wickedly addictive, Diddy insisted on performing it with the 26-year-old at his Last Train to Paris party earlier this year. Then, Ian Brown gave him his blessing by allowing him to use a sample of The Stone Roses' "Fools Gold" for his most recent single, "Unorthodox". Exciting times, then, for Jermaine Sinclair, especially for a guy who grew up on a Tottenham estate but can now stamp "wooer of rap moguls and rock legends" on his CV, and has shown he's got a lot more going for him than being another mix-tape rapper with a ghetto backstory. Musically, he infuses soul and a real sense of poetry into his observational lyrics, and on stage he's fun, energetic and chatty, leading the chant: "forget about violence, I rather be cool!"

Minor British Institutions: Innit

Innit's a good thing, innit? There we were, bumbling along in our self-effacing, John Le Mesurier kind of way, finishing our sentences on a limp and dying fall, when along came innit, innit?

Young, gifted and black – and ignored

Why is the record industry failing to nurture more urban female singing talent? Matilda Egere-Cooper blames stereotyping

Courtney Pine - 'I became one of the most hated saxophonists of all time'

Despite his billing as one of Britain's most celebrated and influential jazz artists, Courtney Pine tells Ian Burrell that it hasn't been an easy ride to the top table

Bashy - The bus driver who found a ticket to hip-hop fame

When fans mobbed Bashy in his cab, the rapper knew it was time to get off the 183 to Golders Green and plan a route to stardom. Charlotte Cripps goes a few stops with him

Album: Tinchy Stryder, Third Strike (Island)

The cover shot, of tiny Tinchy's image expanded to the size of a tower block, surely reflects the rapper's ambition, which is substantial: "Me, I'm having meetings with the President," he claims unfeasibly in "Gangsta".

Cultural Life: Tinchy Stryder, musician

Music: Right now I'm listening to a lot of things, but mostly Clipse. When it comes to rapping they're really good, they're inspirational and they give me motivation. I feel like I want to write lyrics when I hear them. There's a song on Rick Ross's album 'Teflon Don' called "B.M.F" and every time I go out it comes on and it just puts me in a different mood. The whole album is good – it's consistent. I also like Jme's album 'Blam!' because he has really kept to his own sound.

Trevor Nelson: 'I don't want to be a celebrity'

Despite winning radio's equivalent of an Oscar, DJ Trevor Nelson doesn't care about fame. He tells Ian Burrell why for him it's all about the music

Rhodri Marsden: The lost art of boredom

Children are fed up. Their parents are too. We're uninspired at work, and listless at home. Perhaps it's time to embrace being bored – and learn to love it

School's out: The summer's cultural treats for children

It's August, school's out – but the sun might not be. There's a lot to see and do, but arts for children needn't be childish. Alice Jones and Miranda Kiek pick the best fare for the younger culture vulture
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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

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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
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Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

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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'

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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
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A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

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