“Whereas we have legally enshrined the right of people not to be judged on race, gender, sexuality, faith, age and disability, can we really legislate against what is known as ‘lookism’ – the last great ‘ism’ of our times?”

Studies show physical appearance has a lot to do with our financial and societal value

When a fan turned music journalist goes on tour with The Rolling Stones, access all areas fuels a forensically observed insider (...)

President Michael D Higgins’s wife Sabina said on Wednesday it was an “outrage” against women that in the case of “foetal abnormality” a person should be “made carry” the baby. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

It is purely convention that President’s spouse does not speak publicly on politics

Nicholas Bowens (9) and Graham Bowens (12) from Kildare: this year’s Happy Heart public appeal is on Thursday, May 5th, and Friday, May 6th

The Irish Heart Foundation’s Happy Heart appeal needs you – please help make genetic heart disease less traumatic for kids

When the late singer was heading for Ireland in 2011 he agreed to talk to Brian Boyd. It wasn’t a run-of-the-mill encounter

Latest superinjunction in the UK highlights double standards when it comes to keeping private lives private

Kesha’s legal plight has become an issue of how the legal system in general views and treats allegations of rape of physical and verbal harassment against women

The singer-songwriter is in a legal battle over her contract with Sony Music’s Kemosabe label

Cody Mitschelin (14) gained viral fame after mowing lawns in order to take his girlfriend out for a pizza.

He just wanted to buy his girlfriend a pizza. Then the internet had to go and spoil it all

Maria Sharapova: Admitted failing a drugs test. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

The failure to make the sport transparently clean has done near irreparable damage

Madonna performs in concert at the Rod Laver Arena  in Melbourne, Australia. Photograph: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Outrage over Madonna gig is latest example of the egotism of the professionally offended

Donald Trump is topping polls, even though he repels many people. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty

Just when you thought Old White Men had had their day, they are heading for the top

Missing home? Not feeling your Irishness? Here come Luke Kelly, Christy Moore and The Blades to the rescue

Maria Sharapova promoting Tag Heuer watches: Of the estimated $30 million that Sharapova earns each year, about $23 million comes from sponsorship and endorsement deals

She is a bigger hitter for her sponsorship deals than for her tennis. After her drug-test failure and apology, what next for the h(...)

Neil Young, who sent Donald Trump a cease and desist letter after the Trump campaign used Rockin’ in the Free World at its rallies. Photograph:  David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

A recent Rolling Stone poll called out the US presidential candidates on their favourite music – who knew Hillary Clinton was into(...)

 Beyonce performs during hafl time at  Super Bowl 50: Her performance was an unprecedented moment in popular music culture. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

She has become a weather vane for our times - complete with all the miserable stupidity which that entails

Alan and Gerry Keery run the Cereal Killer Cafe in Shoreditch. Anti-gentrification protesters told them to get out.

Whether Dublin rises up in protest against the presence of a Cereal Cafe among its streets broad and narrow remains to be seen. (...)

Ancient grains, whether from Tutankhamun’s tomb or Noah’s Ark, have transfixed US consumers

Final bow: Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc at the end of the final Friends, in 2004

Monica, Joey, Phoebe, Rachel, Ross and Chandler starred in sitcom that never grew up

Which classic Bowie song from his unique and glittering catalogue was your favourite?

David Bowie  died on Januray 10th surrounded by family according to his social media accounts.  Photograph: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

As Johnny Marr once said: ‘There are musicians who are influenced by him that don’t realise it’

US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. What ‘Serial’ have is extensive and recent long-form, open-ended interviews with Bergdahl which go into the very specific reasons why he deserted his post. Photograph: US Army/Reuters

What gets lost amid ceaseless chatter about Serial and its peers is fact that families will be visiting graveyards this Christmas (...)

Marc Carroll: “I actually did wonder if it was worth making another record – would anyone care or listen to it?”

The Dubliner counts Bob Dylan and Neil Young among his fans and gets rave reviews for his music, but you’ll never hear him on ra(...)

Adele with presenter Nick Grimshaw at BBC Radio 1 where she was promoting her new single Hello from the album, 25. photograph: @R1breakfast/BBC/PA Wire

Multitudes on social media confess to having contacted their old flames after hearing power ballad

Bono performing in U2’s “iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE” tour, September 2015. Photograph: Paul Bergen/AFP/Getty Images

In a fast car in Italy, the U2 singer takes a ride through the band’s Dublin roots

 U2 in concert at Turin’s Pala Alpitour Arena, Italy, as the band kicks off the European leg of their Innocence and Experience tour,  Saturday, September 5th, 2015. Photograph: Danny North/U2/PA Wire

Band to perform two gigs in Belfast’s SSE Arena and four in Dublin’s 3Arena

A centrepiece of the performance is the band calling on the British governement to make public the files on the Dublin/Monaghan bombings of 1974. Photograph: Alessandro Di Marco

‘We are coming home ... we just had to make it happen,’ Bono tells Brian Boyd in Turin

U2 open their European tour at Turin Pala Alpitour on Friday. Photograph: Danny North

Management unable to confirm end-of-year dates or venue as European leg of tour begins

Come scream with me: Harry Styles of One Direction. Photograph: Mat Hayward/Getty

Five years into their stratospheric career Harry Styles and the rest of the band are a money-minting jukebox. Their coming ‘hiatus(...)

Yuccies – cherish ‘craft’ beer and ‘artisanal’ food, like ‘authentic’ holiday destinations – are hipster versions of yuppies: th(...)

Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a forehand during his Men’s Singles match against Alejandro Falla of Colombia on day one of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros. Photograph:  Julian Finney/Getty Images

A British 30-something has written a ‘bewildering’ account of his 10-year-plus obsession with tennis giant Roger Federer

 Brian Boyd in hospital after his heart attack.

You’d think someone who plays tennis, cycles, swims and is in the same shape as his 17-year-old self would be the last person to b(...)

U2 frontman Bono flings water at the crowd during the band’s first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver. Photograph: Jonathan Hayward/AP

The 360 shows were the highest-grossing tour of all time. The Irish band’s new one, Innocence + Experience, is a series of intimat(...)

“Something about typing leads to mindless processing. And something about ink and paper prompts students to go beyond recording new information, to process and reframe it.”

Laptop-use in classrooms should be viewed with a healthy dose of caution, and they may be doing more harm than good

Terse: Taylor Swift criticised the Princeton Review, a firm that helps US students prepare for exams, for misquoting one of her lyrics in a test paper. Photograph: Kevin Mazur/Wireimage/Getty

Celebrities Taylor Swift and Kelsey Grammer have become champions of good English. But even being a ‘cool grammarian’ has its ru(...)

Connected: ‘I’ve been living in Moscow most of my adult life. I work in the shopping centre retail business and co-own the Nobu restaurant here. When I’m not in a suit I’m performing live or recording’
Not Eminem. Just Emin

Billionaire Azerbaijani pop star Emin, already big in Russia, has set his sights on Ireland

‘Dramatically taut and Pinteresque in intent, Hostages has no Scandi-grey skies, no crumpled men staring into lakes and no beautiful lamps. But it is in Hebrew so has subtitles. Triple Chardonnays all round. L’Chaim!Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer stars in the TV show Hostages.’  Photograph:  VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

'Hostages' occupies the BBC4 Saturday 9pm slot and is dramatically taut and Pinteresque in intent

Presenter Laura Whitmore at the IFTA Awards in 2014. Whitmore had to contend with a number of technical glitches during the ceremony, including viewers being unable to hear her. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

National Lottery not the only organisation to be let down by technology

 ‘Kim Kardashian, who once took 1,200 selfies in the space of a two-week holiday, is now the subject of academic research into the meaning and evolution of the selfie shot.’ Photograph:  Cindy Ord/Getty Images

‘Kim Kardashian, who once took 1,200 selfies in the space of a two week holiday, is now the subject of academic research into the (...)

At 21, this Irish comedian already has a triple lock on old-school triple entendres

‘That “Serial” has spilled all over social media is at one and at the same time a testament to the show’s journalistic brilliance and a salutary reminder of the bizarre nature of fandom.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘Such has been the cultural ubiquity of the weekly murder mystery podcast that the show has crossed over into the weird world of (...)

Actor/director Steven Berkoff: ‘If there’s anything that the establishment can’t bear, it’s someone who stands out. You could say the same thing about any radical person, starting from Jesus Christ.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A selection of the best, oddest and most memorable musings by some of the world’s artistic greats, as told to Irish Times writers (...)

Convicted: Adnan Syed. Photograph: serialpodcast.org

Listeners have been gripped by Sarah Koenig’s investigation of the conviction of Adnan Syed for the killing of his ex-girlfriend H(...)

One more time: Midge Ure and Bob Geldof. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA Wire

‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ will probably top the charts next month, with proceeds going to help fight Ebola. But what are the (...)

Photograph: Danny E Martindale/Getty

The controversial website is moving to Dublin. Asking it to go elsewhere wouldn’t stop online abuse

The Spotted Pig in New York’s West Village. The restaurant  has a strict no-bookings policy and has many celebrity fans such as Sarah Jessica Parker, U2 and Matt Damon

This starry joint may be a celeb favourite but they’ll find no special favour...

Editor: Soila Sindiyo

There are specialist magazines for just about everything. This online one helps couples in crisis

Which would you prefer: Russell Brand banging on about drugs or Roy Keane banging on about headbutting his former team-mate Peter Schmeichel? Photograph: John Giles/PA WIre

We love the gossipy delights of a well-written autobiography, as Roy Keane’s new one, ‘The Second Half’, has shown this week

He’s mad and bad and it’s dangerous at his shows. Eric Davis tells Brian Boyd the secrets of Red Bastard’s success

Walter O’Brien, the son of a Wexford farmer, says he has an IQ of 196. The Irishman’s life is now the subject of Scorpion, a prime-time TV drama in the US.  Photograph:  Lisette M. Azar/CBS via Getty Images

The high-tech escapades in the TV version of his life can sound run of the mill when you hear Walter O’Brien talk about his work, (...)

U2’s lead singer Bono U2 gestures to the audience after performing at an Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California, last week. Photograph: Reuters

Band exploring a new digital musical format to help musicians get paid for their work

(left to right) The Edge, Bono, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr of U2.  Fifteen back catalogue U2 albums have re-entered the Irish iTunes albums download charts.  File Photograph:  Yui Mok/PA

The band was paid €100 million by Apple to allow their new much to go out for free

Beach sequence: U2 on Sandymount Strand in 1978. Photograph: Sheila Rock/Rex

When U2 struggled with their new album they sought inspiration in 1970s Dublin, a place of hidden violence, home to a new-wave mus(...)

Billie Holliday singing Strange Fruit: There will never be a protest song as potent and affecting

Let’s take a quick look at the bleak future facing all forms of popular music

Marketa Iglova: Muna

Bookies have tipped Kate Tempest’s Everybody Down album to win this year’s Mercury Prize. Photograph: PA

Kate Tempest and FKA Twiggs favourites as award ceases flirtation with the mainstream

Apple chief executive Tim Cook with Bono during an Apple event in Cupertino, California. Photograph: Getty

‘A Dublin Album, all about teenagers on the Northside,’ says Bono at Apple launch

U2 will be appearing at the 10am (6pm Irish time) launch of Apple’s new iPhone 6 in Cupertino, California, with their new album being available for streaming exclusively on the phone. Photograph: Getty

Band’s new album expected to be streamed exclusively on phone

Thanks for nothing: hackers leaked a nude photograph of the Oscar-winning actor Jennifer Lawrence. Photograph: Kevin Winter/WireImage/Getty

It has been a bad week for Jennifer Lawrence and the other celebrities whose personal photographs were posted online. It’s time we(...)

Adele: will she show up at the iTunes festival?

The month-long iTunes music festival could be a game-changer

Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki celebrates defeating Italy’s Sara Errani to earn a semi-final meeting with China’s Peng Shuai at the US Open in New York. Photograph:  Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Former world number one is regaining her form since the split from Rory McIlroy

Tom Hanks’s passion for typewriters has led him to create an iPad version of a vintage machine, an app called Hanx Writer, that’s (...)

Avicii: ‘massively worried’

There’s more to Wake Me Up than the sound of banjos and cash tills

Comedy genius: Robin Williams. Photograph: Jay Paul/New York Times
The sad clown cliche

People are often quick to see depression as a byproduct of good comedy, but a more throughtful, more helpful conversation has foll(...)

Will Kate Tempest and FKA twigs be slugging it out for the 2014 award?

Robin Williams: In the wake of his death statements such as: ‘If I keep them laughing, they can’t delve any deeper’ will be parsed for meaning and significance.   Photograph: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

He always said he was most liberated when doing stand-up – protected by the force field of genius the way he was not when he was ‘(...)

Coffee and energy drinks are widely available and so we are drinking much more caffeine

Screen time: Scorpion stars Elyes Gabel (seated) as Walter O’Brien

A drama due to air in the US next month, is based on the life of Walter O’Brien, a former hacker who helped catch the Boston bombe(...)

Last time round: U2 when ‘No Line on the Horizon’ was released, in 2009
U2: Stuck in a moment

It has been five years since U2’s last album, and their new one still isn’t quite ready. That hasn’t stopped Bono playing it to pa(...)

Word ’smith: Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Steve Tyler have a mindblowing theory about the colour pink. Photograph: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP

A new poll of the weirdest song lyrics ever includes songs by The Killers, The Beatles and Black Eyed Peas, but read between the l(...)

Maybe O'Connor really has got what she wants

Eddie Vedder: letter man. (Photo: Getty Images)

Eddie Vedder, Rihanna and more enter the war zone

Bazinga: the trio of Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cucoco (centre) want $1 million each per show

The actors in the Big Bang Theory comedy show are about to become the highest paid in TV history, as shooting begins on an eighth (...)

Trevor Noah: a firm believer in the dictum that a comedian’s first and last purpose is to make people laugh and not be a hectoring, socially relevant buzz-kill

Having grown up in South Africa with a black mother and white father, comedian Trevor Noah has a wide perspective on life

US television presenter Adam Richman before and after his weight-loss dieting, which led to him losing more than 27kg before he posted a photo of himself online with the hashtag #thinspiration.

A US television host’s inadvertent use of the controversial hashtag has sparked a heated debate

Philosophers’ Mail: “Rupert Murdoch avoids therapy; world unhappy”. Photograph: AP/Julie Jacobson

The ‘Philosophers’ Mail’, edited by Alain de Botton, re-examines some lowest common denominators

How Thicke can you get? Reports that someone in Ireland bought a copy by mistake remain unconfirmed

After recent live Twitter Q&A, Blurred Lines singer's fall from commercial and critical grace looks complete

Live wire: Bob Marley onstage in London in 1980

Once a crucial part of an artist’s career, these days the live album is all but extinct

USA goalkeeper Tim Howard: The positive aspect of Tourette’s is that a lot of people with the condition have unusually swift reactions. Photograph: EPA/Guillaume Horcajuelo

He has made the most saves in a World Cup match. Having Tourette’s may have helped

Surely it can’t all be down to the fact that he’s nice, bright, white and middle-class . . .

Sound footage: Neymar in Beats’ star-studded The Game Before the Game promo video

Fifa and Sony score own goal in heavy-handed attempt to ban Dre's headphones

The Ramones: Gold standard

Three chords and the youth: Ramones’ simple punk formula changed rock

This big: James Hetfield

Purists hopping mad over Metallica should just grin and bear it

Lily Allen: these days it’s all about showing up at  product launches

As La Allen’s comeback shows, launching a new bottled water is more lucrative than having a hit song

Jack White: Lazaretto

The West/Kardashian road show has more than a wedding to celebrate

Born trippy: Brian Eno and Karl Hyde

Ambient music poineer, superstar-making producer – the godlike genius of Brian Eno is beyond question, but it’s heartening to kno(...)

Gary Barlow:  makes One Direction look like Maoist revolutionaries

‘Pop stars have about as much respect for tax laws as they have for their fans’

Review: 'Tears on the tracks, and a broken heart on its sleeve'

Spit on me, Bob: ‘No other performer f---s with his fans like Dylan’

Devoted Dylanologists enflame the fan in fanatic

Peaches Geldof. Photograph: Ian West/PA Wire

The image of the addict may be of a ravaged, destitute person on a street corner, but film stars, musicians and supermodels are no(...)

Why, Gwyneth, why? Chris Martin’s next Coldplay album may not be the break-up screed we’re hoping for
Hurts so good

Divorce and break-ups are just the tickets for a hit album

By the letter: Neil Young’s covers album is only available on vinyl, and it’s  a stunner. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Neil Young’s surprise covers album of 1960s standards, ‘A Letter Home’, is a reminder that there’s an art to interpreting other p(...)

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