The Phil Spector Christmas album is the aural equivalent of being inside a snowglobe. Photo: Getty
Tracey Thorn: Not for me the party songs. Come, listen to the clanging chimes of doom!
By Tracey Thorn - 19 December 16:48

Is there a darker Christmas lyric than Band Aid’s “Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you”?

Time’s arrow: an image by Chloe Dewe Mathews
Turning budget cuts into drama, and photography after the blast
By Mark Lawson - 12 December 12:54

Mark Lawson weighs up the hard choices facing the arts.

The Beatles arrive home from Stockholm in 1964, where they shared a bill with Swedish group the Mascots. Photo: Larry Ellis/Express/Getty Images
The Mascots, the Shanes, and the undiscovered gems of Swedish Sixties pop
By Bob Stanley - 09 December 15:17

Even for the most dedicated listeners, there is still fresh material out there to encounter.

Other Mary: a statue of Mary Magdelene in San Salvador. Photo: Getty
Magdalene sisters: John Adam’s The Gospel According to the Other Mary
By Caroline Crampton - 05 December 16:18

The piece is an attempt to see the Passion through the eyes of the women who surrounded Jesus, with particular emphasis on Mary Magdalene.

Stewart Lee likes to play with the character of “Stewart Lee”, who says things he wouldn’t personally. Photo: MJ Kim/Getty
Stewart Lee: “I don’t mind causing offence when I intend to, but I don’t like causing it accidentally”
By Rob Pollard - 28 November 17:05

He doesn’t do panel shows or tour massive venues, but Stewart Lee has still become one of the UK’s most popular comedians in the last five years. Rob Pollard talks to him about work, politics and “the Ukips”.

Soul survivor: Robert Wyatt in 2009
Rock bottom and back: the rough-edged career of Robert Wyatt
By Ian Thomson - 28 November 16:57

Over the half-century of his career as a musician, Wyatt has belonged to no musical coterie; at his home in the market town of Louth in Lincolnshire, he has simply ploughed his own furrow.

Bob Dylan in London in 1966. Photo: Express Newspapers/Getty
The quest for completion: on Bob Dylan and the Basement Tapes
By Bob Stanley - 26 November 17:57

Bob Stanley explores two six-disc sets: Bob Dyland’s the Basement Tapes, released at long last, and a super-deluxe issue of The Velvet Underground’s eponymous third album.

Ready Freddie? Mercury wows Madison Square Gardens in a blaze of light, 1977
Who wants to live forever? The new frontiers of posthumous rock
By Kate Mossman - 14 November 10:23

In the next two decades there’ll be a mass departure of the people who brought us the best of rock’n’roll, but some bands are finding new ways to give their tunes eternal life.

Inspiring: Malala Yousafzai speaks at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia on 21 October. Photo: Getty
Hear their voices: a choral celebration of Malala Yousafzai
By Caroline Crampton - 13 November 10:00

Young British composer James McCarthy and Pakistani writer Bina Shah have collaborated to produce Malala, a dramatic work for choir and orchestra that attempts to capture the spirit of her story.

West-side story: Fleetwood Mac
Excess all areas: the pageantry and farce of the Fleetwood Mac story
By Mark Ellen - 13 November 10:00

If you ever thought the laid-back vocals of “Dreams” sounded as if they had been recorded by a naked woman lying between satin sheets, then it’s entirely possible you were right.

Jazz hand: the historian Eric Hobsbawm in 1976. Photo: Getty
Music of time: A night with Eric Hobsbawm’s record collection
By Philip Maughan - 13 November 10:00

I had heard that a new pop-up space, Spiritland in Shoreditch, would be playing records from Hobsbawm’s personal collection, so I went along to listen.

Amanda Palmer at Glastonbury. Photo: Getty Images
Standing naked in front of an audience: Amanda Palmer and a new way to make art
By Cory Doctorow - 11 November 16:17

Cory Doctorow on the singer and performer Amanda Palmer's first book, "a manifesto and a confessional of an artist uniquely suited to her time and place".

Beat girls and beautiful basslines: Japanese pop of the 1960s
By Bob Stanley - 07 November 13:46

A new box set, Nippon Girls 2, brings us the best of a good decade for Japanese pop. From the artwork to the vocals to the super-sharp stereo productions, this is something quite special.

Malin Byström as Elettra, Sophie Bevan as IIia, Franco Fagioli as Idamante and Matthew Polenzani as Idomeneo. Photo: ROH/Catherine Ashmore
Martin Kušej’s Idomeneo at the Royal Opera House is baffling and troubling
By Alexandra Coghlan - 06 November 12:23

The production is alienating, and not a in a sexy, Brecht kind of a way.

Tim Clare says that the stage is the only place where he's felt normal.
“I can have a panic attack eating a piece of toast”: Standup poet Tim Clare on living with anxiety
By Aoife Moriarty - 28 October 14:25

What should you do when anxiety takes control of your life? Tim Clare’s new show tells us how to be kind to ourselves.

Stuart Murdoch performing with Belle & Sebastian in 2006. Photo: Getty
“It Could Have Been A Brilliant Career”: why Belle & Sebastian’s back catalogue is worth a revisit
By Bob Stanley - 22 October 17:14

With a new album coming out in January, the indie band have reissued their back catalogue on vinyl.

A tyre washed up on the beach at Prestwick, Scotland. Photo: Getty
Meet the women sailing across oceans to understand what toxins are really doing to our bodies
By Caroline Criado-Perez - 22 October 16:21

The aim of the voyage, and the play inspired by it, is to make “the unseen seen” and enhance understanding of what the chemicals we put into the sea and our own bodies are actually doing.

Curious and curiouser: Fela Kuti on stage at Glastonbury in 1984. Photo: master_xpo/Flickr
For years, I wondered what Fela Kuti had really done to that man on stage
By Suzanne Moore - 17 October 15:39

Suzanne Moore’s weekly column, Telling Tales. 

Rebecca Grant as the student Izzy in “Seminar”. Photo: Alastair Muir
Mark Lawson: the problem with writing about writing
By Mark Lawson - 16 October 17:20

Egotism and self-flagellation.

Rainbow nation: Gnarr at the Reykjavik Gay Pride march in 2011. Photo: Helgi Haldorsson
Gnarr! How to fake it as a politician
By Kate Mossman - 16 October 15:51

In 2010, Jón Gnarr became mayor of Reykjavik by accident. Four years later, he’s relieved it’s over.

Mistress of image: Debbie Harry, photographed on a trip to Britain by Chris Stein, c.1982
Picture this: the love affair between rockers and the lens
By James Medd - 16 October 10:00

From Deborah Harry to Ed Sheeran, four visual journeys through the lives of pop stars. 

Woman and fiction: A portrait of Virginia Woolf, c. 1927. Photo: Getty
Women writers after Woolf: Still fighting for a room of one’s own
By Caroline Crampton - 16 October 10:00

Superficially, women who write fiction today seem to get equal billing with their male counterparts. Yet their work will never get the kind of avid coverage given to men. 

Bright stars: LiLo and Schiff in Speed-the-Plow
When Lindsay Lohan came out from behind the screen
By Mark Lawson - 14 October 10:00

Lindsay Lohan, in her music career, has little hope of earning the review “better than Madonna” but, in theatre, she empirically is.

God's own composer: John Tavener in 2007
Sound and vision: John Tavener's Flood of Beauty
By Caroline Crampton - 09 October 10:00

Lasting 100 minutes and requiring an orchestra, dozens of singers, cello and vocal soloists, the piece assaults the senses, deliberately seeking to encompass the listener within the scope of its sound.

Emma Thompson attends a photocall for BAFTA's Screenwriter Lecture series at BFI Southbank, 20 September. Photo: Getty
Emma Thompson’s leap into the dark
By Caroline Crampton - 09 October 10:00

Thompson is best known for playing complicated intellectual women, often in period dramas. But at the outset, sketch comedy was where she saw herself.

Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj performing together. Photo: Getty
The modishness of female body parts is cyclical – when will ears get their turn?
By Eleanor Margolis - 29 September 11:18

Beginning with last year’s twerking extravaganza, and climaxing in Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea’s recent hit single “Booty”, we’re increasingly arse-focused.

Opening Night Performance of 'King Lear' at Delacorte Theater on August 5, 2014 in New York City
Why is there still a gender imbalance in theatre?
By Alexander Woolley - 26 September 16:27

Most audience members are female, but actresses and female writers are having a tough time.

Mummy’s mucky boy: Maxine Peake as Hamlet. Photo: Jonathan Keenan
Mark Lawson: Maxine Peake’s Hamlet – when theatre goes gender-blind
By Mark Lawson - 25 September 17:01

Maxine Peake talks on the Prince of Denmark in a new production at the Manchester Royal Exchange.

Henrik Ibsen. Photo: Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images
Mind out of time: what Ibsen can tell us about today
By Erica Wagner - 25 September 10:00

On the eve of a major season of adaptations at the Barbican, Erica Wagner goes to Norway to discover how the playwright captured the beginning of the modern world.

Bonnie McFarlane performing on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Why are people still talking about whether women are funny?
By Andrew Hankinson - 22 September 15:35

Bonnie McFarlane on why her new film, Women Aren’t Funny, is tackling some very serious subjects.

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