It’s A Wonderful Life at Liverpool Philharmonic, 24th December

FILM What better way to enjoy Christmas Eve than by watching this solid-gold classic (yes, it’s on next week, but we thought we’d give you advance notice). The Phil is screening the restored version of this timeless tale. And it’s the best place to experience it. Sometimes an ODEON megaplex just doesn’t feel right. More information

John Barry – License To Thrill, BBC4, 17th December

PROGRAMME This week’s repeat of the superb John Barry documentary (BBC 4, Monday 2:55am) is well worth catching or iPlayering. Watching the great man annotating melodies plucked out of thin air, watching his creative process unfold, is spellbinding stuff. Then, suitably impressed, do yourself a favour and buy his ‘Beyondness of Things’ CD: ‘a film score without a film,’ he called it. No one arranged horns like Barry. Not even Earth, Wind and Fire. More information

Chas & Dave – Last Orders

IPLAYER Another BBC4 gem: this considered, fascinating documentary on Cockney pop legends Chas & Dave. Unfairly considered by many to be a novelty act, this documentary goes some way – via interviews, archive footage, and a slew of celebrity fans – to show they’re actually part of our country’s great folk heritage, and fantastic songwriters. Watch on iPlayer

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

BOOK We love Ang Li, but if you’ve not read Life of Pi yet, do it now before the nuts and bolts narrative of film crushes it. We’ve not seen the film, but the fact that it exists is worrying enough, especially as the only place this poetic and fantastical book can, truly, exist, is in one’s head. A deft meditation on faith, fate and love, it’s a real winter warmer. More information

Monthly Review at the Shipping Forecast, 21st December

BAR It’s what’s commonly known as ‘Black Friday’ this week, where people who don’t go out go out. It’s Christmas party hell. The Shipping Forecast’s likely to be a safe space (and that’s partly due to their door policy): drink comfortably as DJs James Binary and Andrew Ellis round up the year’s best music in the bar, and avoid Carol from accounts vomiting Blue WKD on her own shoes down in Concert Square. Facebook event

Ólöf Arnalds – A Little Grim

MUSIC Almost too Icelandic, Ólöf Arnalds’ ‘A Little Grim’ is winsome, quirky and crystalline. Yes, it could only have been made in Reykjavík. Ólöf’s glowing brand of Arctic indie isn’t likely to get the party started – but this ethereal, wisp-like tune works like a salve on stressed seasonal heads. It’s the lead-off single from her Sudden Elevation album, due February on One Little Indian. Of course.

Random Comic Generator

WEBSITE Three panel comics are a classic artform, and this random comic generator – bringing three separate panels together – creates surreal, hilarious results that’ll have you screencapping furiously. More information

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