Rihanna's BBHMM shows sexualised violence against women. Photo: BBHMM screenshot
Let's talk about Rihanna's video
By Helen Lewis - 03 July 11:18

Spoiler alert: the sexualised torture of a rich white woman is still sexualised violence against women.

A losing game: Amy Winehouse at her Camden Town home in 2004. Photo: Karen Robinson/The Guardian
Mawkish tabloid fare: how the Amy Winehouse film fails
By Kate Mossman - 02 July 15:02

This film laments the way Winehouse's life was intruded upon while relying on the same methods to create drama.

Rule the school: Mobile’s juvenile Mardi Gras king and queen in 2010. Photo: Jeff and Meggan Haller/Keyhole Photo/Corbis
The secret history of Mardi Gras
By Kate Mossman - 02 July 8:50

Segregated Mardi Gras in Alabama tells us a lot about life in the South.

SRSLY #1: Grey Beginnings

In the first episode of the NS's new pop culture podcast, we discuss Grey by E L James, the new Amy Winehouse documentary, and why One Direction is actually the saddest music you will ever hear.

The gospel according to Taylor Swift: how her vulnerability leads to power
By Simon Parkin - 29 June 13:13

Pop's woman of the moment forms a friendship with fans through her honest lyrics and disarming stage presence.

Harry Potter in his cupboard under the stairs.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: what can we expect from JK Rowling's new play?
By Anna Leszkiewicz - 26 June 11:10

J K Rowling announced on Twitter this morning that she will co-write a new Harry Potter stage play. 

A bandmember at the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
"The singing war": how the American Civil War created a whole new style of music
By Antonia Quirke - 25 June 14:46

It was not just a huge body of songs that emerged but a whole musical style that was markedly non-European.

What's your poison? John Doran describes 24 years of drunkenness. Photo: Al Overdrive
Life after addiction: John Doran on music and other drugs
By Colm McAuliffe - 25 June 10:37

“Alcoholism is a self-inflicted leisure injury. . . I refuse to portray myself as this helpless victim. I sound like some anxiety-ridden heroine in an Oscar Wilde play but I couldn’t deal with life.”

James Horner won both his Oscars for his work on “Titanic”.
James Horner, Oscar-winning composer of the Titanic soundtrack, dies in a plane crash
By Caroline Crampton - 23 June 12:02

Best known for co-writing “My Heart Will Go On”, Horner wrote innovative and popular scores for a whole host of Hollywood films.

A still from "Bad Blood", Swift's most recent music video.
Taylor Swift may have won her battle with Apple Music, but the streaming wars aren’t over
By Barbara Speed - 22 June 14:36

The artist sent an open letter to Apple Music, arguing that artists should be paid during the service's trial period. 

Alistair McGowan as Jimmy Savile. Photo: Helen Maybanks
A terrifying, sweaty memory: Alistair McGowan's dark turn as Jimmy Savile
By Mark Lawson - 19 June 12:02

McGowan's performance demonstrates the combination of eccentricity and intimidation that allowed Savile first to lure his victims and then to disguise his abuse of them.

The Jam play the Manchester Apollo, 1980. Photo: Harry Potts/Flickr
Slaves to the rhythm: what the non-frontmen have to say
By James Medd - 18 June 12:42

Accounts of The Jam, the Grateful Dead, Alice Cooper and Belle and Sebastian come from the back.

James Rhodes performs at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Photo: Amy T. Zielinski/Getty Images
In pianist James Rhodes' self-hatred, there is a compelling case for empathy
By Caroline Crampton - 18 June 12:06

In his memoir Instrumental, it feels at times as though Rhodes is daring you to dismiss him, to find his story trivial or inferior.

David McVicar’s new production of Mozart’s first successful opera is a vision innocent of its own Orientalism
By Alexandra Coghlan - 15 June 16:53

Die Entführung aus dem Serail, or The Abduction from the Seraglio, hits the spot when staged at Glyndebourne.

The problem with hotels is they're trying too hard to be cool. Photo: Space Hotels via Flickr
Me, my boutique hotel room – and a really annoying bar of soap
By Tracey Thorn - 11 June 10:41

It sounds spoilt to complain about room service, or fret about your dressing-room rider. But still, I can see why it happens.

Sound investment: the history of the record industry is a tale of technology, stars and shady deals. Photo Montage by Dan Murrell
Music is free now – and the industry only has itself to blame
By Bob Stanley - 11 June 8:35

Bob Stanley unpicks the recording industry’s tangled history of takeovers, piracy and changing technology.

Ragevan Vasan and Paige Round in Avaes Mohammad’s plays. Photo: Mark Douet
The absurd hunt for “Muslim toddler terrorists” exposes the extent of anti-Muslim prejudice
By Myriam Francois-Cerrah - 10 June 10:35

As the perception of a tacit complicity by the Muslim community in terrorist activity has gained traction, art has become a major outlet for protest and dissent.

to get into clubs, Rodgers used to have to explain to bouncers that he’d written the songs the DJ was playing inside. Photo: PAL HANSEN/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
The man with two brains: inside the strange mind of Nile Rodgers
By Kate Mossman - 04 June 9:56

Nile Rodgers is responsible for $2bn worth of hits – with Chic, Madonna, David Bowie – but he can’t switch off the noise in his head.

The art of rapprochement: what the Havana Biennale reveals about thawing Cuba-US relations
By Rick Jones - 01 June 16:39

How symbolism and happiness are captured in joint American-Cuban cultural endeavours.

David Byrne, who is curating the Southbank Centre's Meltdown festival. Photo: CHALKIE DAVIES/GETTY IMAGES
David Byrne: a great curator beats any big company's algorithm
By David Byrne - 01 June 11:49

The Talking Heads member on curating the Southbank Centre's Meltdown festival, the unfairness of book awards, and why the best line-ups surprise.

Stevie Nicks performing in New York on New Year's Eve 2014. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty
Whither we mature ladies, once our rock-chick years are over?
By Tracey Thorn - 29 May 9:44

If I look to the generations above me, the still successful men form a long list – Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Robert Plant, Paul McCartney, Springsteen, the Stones et al.

Conchita Wurst hands over the trophy to 2015 Eurovision winner Mans Zelmerloew of Sweden. Photo: Nigel Treblin/Getty
This was the year Eurovision became more about the politics than the songs
By Eleanor Margolis - 26 May 17:34

What with Russia’s homophobia and Britain’s EU tensions, it’s not really about the music anymore.

A giant head formed the set for the Royal Opera House's Król Roger. Photo: Bill Cooper/ROH
Król Roger’s music is beautiful – but overwhelmed by constant symbolism
By Caroline Crampton - 21 May 13:59

The production makes it very clear what we are supposed to think, which sadly detracts from the variety and ambiguity the composer worked into his score. 

Edmund Kean as Richard III (1814). To see him act was to “read Shakespeare by flashes of lightning”. Picture: VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM/BRIDGEMAN IMAGES
How to be a great actor
By Benedict Nightingale - 21 May 11:02

From Kean to Dench, the best performers radiate an electricity that transcends the stage.

The set for The Vote. Photo: Channel 4 Screengrab
Channel 4's The Vote was dull - especially compared to the real drama of election night
By Rachel Cooke - 14 May 16:03

For thrills, I would take that exit poll over Judi Dench and Jude Law any day.

Golden girl: Conchita performing at the Eurovision Song Contest, May 2014. Photo: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
"I'd love to see Angela Merkel dressing a bit more cosy": the passion of Conchita Wurst
By Sophie McBain - 14 May 13:42

The 2014 Eurovision winner already counts Cher and Lagerfeld among her fans. Now, her message of tolerance is going global.

Larger than life: “Cave is creating a disguise which, ironically, makes him instantly recognisable – and then hiding inside it”. Photo: Brian Rasic / Rex
Tracey Thorn on Nick Cave: man and bogeyman
By Tracey Thorn - 06 May 8:49

Rock's gothic - or comic - bogeyman gives a masterclass in transformation at the Royal Albert Hall.

“A hell of a start for Rufus Norris”: Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in Everyman at the National Theatre. Photo: Geraint Lewis / Rex
Carol Ann Duffy’s Everyman is mordantly funny – yet poignant
By Mark Lawson - 05 May 10:49

With screen actors taking the lead, Everyman and American Buffalo sparkle with cinematic swagger.

Perfect wavelengths: the new Blur album is a smooth blend of separate interests. Photo: LINDA BROWNLEE (BLUR), REX
Big audio bounceback: new albums by Blur and The Prodigy reviewed
By Kate Mossman - 01 May 8:28

The Albarn-Coxon concoction sounds surprisingly robust.