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Celebrity news & gossip from the world’s showbiz and glamour magazines (OK!, Hello, National Enquirer and more). We read them so you don’t have to, picking the best bits from the showbiz world’s maw and spitting it back at them. Expect lots of sarcasm.

Dread Beat and Blood: Lynton Kwesi Johnson, the Brixton Riots and The Spectator’s ‘Immigrant Swamp’

People had been getting angry. Forty years ago they’d had enough of heavy-handed police tactics and unchecked racism. On April 11, 1981, 13 young black people were killed in a fire at a house party in New Cross, London – an act of suspected arson for which no-one has been arrested. The Metropolitan Police were too busy looking for crime elsewhere to seek justice for the victims. The Met was busy sussing out suspected criminals using a system based on skin colour. Operation Swamp “resulted in a significant number of black youths being stopped and searched”. In 1978 Margaret Thatcher asserted that Britain “might be rather swamped by people of a different culture”.

Brixton in south London, exploded in rage. At around eight o’clock on the Saturday evening of 14 April 1981, someone threw a Molotov cocktail through a window of The George Hotel on the corner of Effra Parade and Railton Road. This was night two of what came to be known as the Brixton riots. In the 1970s The George had been the subject of several local marches. The South London Press wrote that the arson was “undoubtedly an act of revenge for years of racial discrimination”.

The music of Lynton Kwesi Johnson took on a prescience. In 1982, The Spectator noted that Johnson’s poetry written in Jamican patois “wreaked havoc in schools and helped to create a generation of rioters and illiterates”. Slum music for slum people. In 2012, Johnson’s dub poetry won the Golden PEN award for his “distinguished service to literature”. This was music and poetry as forces for understanding and liberation.

“In terms of our country, it would be foolish to say that we haven’t made some progress. Because we have,” he said in 2018. The poet who arrived in the UK from Jamaica when he was 11, went on: “But, right now, we are living through a time of reaction; the rise of Conservative populism. And some things simply won’t go away. I’m sure I’ll be crucified for saying this, but I believe that racism is very much part of the cultural DNA of this country, and most probably has been so from imperial times. And, in spite of the progress that we have made, it’s there. It is something we have to contend with in our everyday lives.”

Posted: 14th, April 2021 | In: Music, News | Comment


Rocky Horror Picture Show plays to empty house for 54 weeks

You can watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday night at Clinton Street Theater in Portland, Oregon. But for the past 54 weeks, the cinema’s Covid-enforced closure has meant no-one besides staff has been there to see it Nathan Williams, host of the venue’s weekly Rocky Horror nights, has been hitting the ‘play’ on the VT. The Oregonian:

“I watched it alone. I watched it during the snowstorm,” said Williams, who serves as emcee for the theater’s “Rocky” nights. “I was in a position to keep a flame burning, to keep a torch lit.

“I’m just a guy holding a torch for the city of Portland, for all the weirdos, for all the people who don’t have a safe place to call home, we’re home […]

Since 1987, members of the Clinton Street Cabaret have acted out “Rocky” on a stage below the screen at the Clinton Street Theater, mimicking the film in what’s called a shadow cast.

“‘Rocky’ has always been a place for the weird, quiet kid and the loud extrovert and the person who’s just looking for something fun to do and the theater kids and LGBTQ kids,” said Loren Thompson, the current president of the cabaret. “It’s where all the misfits come to find family.”

The Clinton Street Theater has re-opened.

Posted: 12th, April 2021 | In: Film, News, Strange But True | Comment


Musical Knives from the Renaissance

If you didn’t know the tune at a Renaissance dinner party sing-along, you could read the lyrics and music score etched on your fish knife. Maya Corry, of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, says these musical knives (notation knives) offer “insight into that harmonious, audible aspect of family devotions”. That’s the kind of well-educated guess future generations with access to digital files won’t have to make when they eye a post-prandial karaoke machine. “The sharp, wide steel would have been ideal for cutting and serving meat,” writes Eliza Grace Martin at WQXR, “and the accentuated tip would have made for a perfect skewer.” Knives for cutting and stabbing..? Well, if you say so.

As Josh Jones notes, Kristen Kalber, curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, says “diners in very grand feasts didn’t cut their own meat.” That right? No, “we are not entirely sure” what the knives were used for, she adds.

But we do know that each knife had a different piece of music on each side, and that a set of them together contained different harmony parts in order to turn a roomful of diners into a chorus. One set of blades had the grace on one side, with the inscription, “the blessing of the table. May the three-in-one bless that which we are about to eat.” The other side holds the benediction, to be sung after the dinner: “The saying of grace. We give thanks to you God for your generosity.”

Chopsticks wasn’t written until the late 19th Century, and spoons didn’t get going until the 1950s. But pass the tuning fork, and we’ll sing for our supper.

Spotter: Open CultureWQXR/@tedgioia

Posted: 6th, April 2021 | In: Music, Strange But True | Comment


Portable Radio – ‘Portable Radio’ (Crimson Crow Records, 2011)

Portable Radio have been chugging along nicely with a handful of releases, kicking off with the baroque pop double-header ‘Seven Hills’/’Parades’ and a pair of releases in the form of a smart Christmas Selection Box and a self-titled EP, filled with rich harmonies and killer pop sensibilities.

Now, with the release of the debut album – again eponymous – Portable Radio signalled the end of winter with lead track ‘Hot Toddy’, a slice of perfect pop that has echoes of The Zombies and current West Coast darlings, Drugdealer.

In the digital age, bands have been allowed to let their songs meander and sprawl, with LPs running as long as they please in a bid to fudge the streaming system with length rather than precision – but there’s none of that with this analogue gem – 11 tracks, totalling just over 30 minutes, with each song treated like its own single to hover around the 3-minute mark. The Lovin’ Spoonful always treated their album cuts with the same due care and attention as the hits, and its clear Portable Radio are carrying that same torch.

There are flashes of the Electric Light Orchestra, Hall & Oates, Carole King, post Beatles McCartney, and the pure pop of ABBA, The Carpenters, and a host of bubblegum psychedelia and West Coast magic.

Tracks like ‘Rise Above’ find the band in more reflective mode, but it still gallops along, with aching brass and the kind of fond observation you might find in say, Gilbert O’Sullivan or Weyes Blood. ‘Darling, Hold On’ and ‘Colour Me Impressed’ are kitchen sink dramas, loaded up to high heaven with layers of angelic vocals and bruised instrumentation, while ‘Should’ve Bounced’, ‘The Switch’ and ‘Worse Case Scenario’ and power pop bops that’ll have you out of your seat.

The band themselves swap lead vocal duties and swap instruments, dragging their friends along for the ride, with an LP that’s free of much of the naval gazing that understandably crept its way into many releases during these dark, weird times. While the sound is steeped in the perfect pop of the past, this isn’t some tedious facsimile of years gone by – it’s sounding fresh and pointing to a more hopeful period when we’re all able to mess around outside and get a cuddle and let the hysterical politicians and talking heads wither on the vine.

It’s an assured LP that sounds like Portable Radio have been around forever. If you’re in the market for fantastic 3-minute pocket symphonies, the Portable Radio’s debut album is the one for you.

Buy the album

Posted: 22nd, March 2021 | In: Music | Comment


Jimmy Savile all over an underage Coleen Nolan in 1979

Former Nolan Sister singer Coleen Nolan says paedophile BBC DJ and TV ‘personality’ Jimmy Savile invited her to his hotel when she was 14. The Nolans had been on BBC TV’s Top of The Pops in 1979 when the man who died innocent and blameless before being outed as a prolific child rapist promised to “look after her”. Nolan thought Savile a “dirty old man” and declined. “I’ve got four sisters on the stage that would have beaten the crap out of him.”

Here’s the footage of Savile hiding in full view – at the 4-minute mark:

Posted: 18th, March 2021 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Music, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Aphex Twin sells Virtual art for virtual fortune

Electronic musician Aphex Twin, aka Richard James, has sold an NFT (non-fungible token) for $127,000 in Ether. The genuine digital artwork called “/Afx/weirdcore,” features an animated version of the artist’s face with sound. Fans will recognise it as harking back to the cover of Aphex Twin’s I Care Because You Do studio album released in 1995.

Says Aphex Twin: “We will spend a portion of the money on planting trees* and either donating to permaculture projects or setting them up ourselves, depending on how much we get.”

*Real trees?

Posted: 16th, March 2021 | In: Money, Music, News, The Consumer | Comment


Musician identifies the classical music played in famous cartoons

Vincent Alexander (@NonsenseIsland on Twitter) writes that many of us were introduced to classical music from watching old cartoons. “I’m going to identify the pieces that frequently popped up,” he writes:

One of the most recognizable is Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2,” performed by those great piano virtuosos Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry.

Posted: 11th, March 2021 | In: Key Posts, Music, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Meghan and Harry want a messy divorce

By now you’ll be wondering what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been getting up to since leaving the UK. Well, after the separation, they’ve being going gung-ho to secure the rights to the the narrative in the divorce. As Helen Lewis put it in an excellent take on the mess, the two sides – Meghan and Harry v The Royals – have a set of fighting rules:

But who is to blame? Meghan’s version goes like this: The Queen was lovely, but the wider institution of the monarchy – known colloquially as “The Firm” or “The Palace”—failed to help her as she was ripped apart by the British press. Worse, she sometimes felt that courtiers were actively working against her. An incident in which Meghan was accused of making her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, cry over a bridesmaid’s dress was, she said, reported in the press the wrong way around. Kate made her cry, but then apologized, and all was forgiven. But the Palace wouldn’t go on the record with a correction. “They were willing to lie to protect other members of the family,” Meghan said, “but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.” The Palace refused to give her son, Archie, a title and a security detail—and there were some “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be.” The mix of racism, isolation, and intrusion she endured drove Meghan to suicidal thoughts.

The royal narrative is that the Windsors receive millions from British taxpayers, and fulfill a public role. They can’t limit access to their lives to sympathetic listeners like Oprah. They must be accountable. Playing by those rules, you’d be mad to contest every false rumor printed about you, and declaring war on the press is counterproductive. Far better to keep your head down and let your work speak for itself. Can you see the difference in the two views? Members of the Royal Family accept a level of scrutiny and partisan attack usually directed at politicians. Meghan and Harry want to be treated like celebrities.

meghan harry tabloids

One day on from that Oprah interview and the couple keep their media stock high by issuing a newly released photo. She looks radiant and so California. Harry looks like he avoiding the sun. Does she need him as a person to carve out a new career as an influence, lifestyle force, or just the title?

But this is love. We all get it that the money and maybe even the fame are attractions when you marry Harry. But who’d want that level focus on their life that comes with tying yourself to the Firm? Meghan has this covered. “The most important title I will ever have is Mom,” she told Oprah. But Duchess, without the title, would we tune in? How many of tuned in to Suits hoping to learn your opinions on global warming and rescue chickens? “I went into it naively,” the 30-something divorcee with experience of Hollywood casting calls and family rifts told Oprah. “I didn’t do any research about what that would mean. I’ve never looked up my husband online.”

On 6 September 1997, Diana’s brother told everyone watching her funeral how his sister’s “particular brand of magic” needed no royal title to legitimise it. But without it, she’d have been a nice Sloane Ranger, an unlikely president of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, patron of the Natural History Museum, Nelson Mandela’s teatime companion, president of the Royal Academy of Music and patron of Turning Point, a health and social care organisation – Diana famously visited its project in London for people with HIV/AIDS in 1992. She later established and led fundraising campaigns for AIDS research. Doors open when you’re a Royal. Diana was possessed of skill and grace, she had charm and charisma. Had Harry been more graceful, he’d have stood a better chance of keeping his ties to the British military, something he is said to have wanted. Now he just looks a bit drippy; a tad whiney; more than a bit dull. “His skill set (flying helicopters, shaking hands with mayors) seems oddly redundant in their new life of podcasts and Netflix deals,” quips Lewis.

Maybe Harry should have briefed “naive” Meghan better? Must be hard to namecheck Princess Diana, as they did within five minutes of the interview’s start, and not be aware that for her it wasn’t all celebrity mates, yachts and Paris?

The scrutiny on Diana was intense. A tabloid editor’s job was to press f9 on the keyboard and deliver a Diana shocker.

Shocks keep coming:

Hard stuff for Harry to read that and then worry how such scrutiny could affect his wife. And he was already unhappy before he met Meghan. Now woke but once lambasted for laking about in Nazi fancy dress and calling a soldier  “our little Paki friend“, Harry is married to a professional LA habitué. Oprah and Meghan share the same cultural values: self-promotion is good; making it all about me is good; new money is great; and the past really is another country. For Harry, it’s where he was born and bred.

Posted: 9th, March 2021 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


Guide to the Cults – 1979

Guide to the cults 1979

Youth tribes featured in the Daily Mirror’s ‘Guide to Cults’ in 1979. There were Skinheads, who loved reggae and “enjoy fighting”. One of those parts is correct. Skinheads embraced Caribbean music and style (see Rude Boys) and rejected the airy-fairy tosh of middle-class Hippies, who are, let’s face it, irritating, entitled and often eschew capitalism and consumerism because mum and dad have private means. These Skinheads not be confused with the later Dickheads, who are into racism. The rest: Mods, Bowies, Punks, Rude Boys (the best of the best) and Roots Boys are all highly loveable characters who share a love for good music and embracing the day. Hippies smell of mould and old money.

Posted: 5th, March 2021 | In: Fashion, Music, Tabloids | Comment


The Radiohead Public Library is open and free to use

Radiohead are giving away free music. They stole the hackers’ thunder when demos for the band’s 1997’s smash hit album OK Computer were stolen by releasing 18 hours of the material free to stream or buy for a limited time. All proceeds went to charity. Then more. The band’s archive is available in a free “public library” – go there to claim your click and print library card.

Spotter: Rolling Stone.

Posted: 26th, February 2021 | In: Key Posts, Music | Comment


Covid-19: The NHS is scared of Gwyneth Paltrow

Reading of a senior NHS leader’s response to Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow’s Covid-19 routine minded me of a joke told by the abrasive Glaswegian comic Jerry Sadowitz. “Prince Diane put her hair in a bun,” he begins, “and her **** in a toaster.” How much information do we need and what does it have to do with us? The BBC reports that Paltrow has a “duty of responsibility” when talking about Covid treatments. Paltrow is not a doctor, not medically trained and the last time I looked made a living pretending to be other people to deadline. Jane Seymour’s views on Covid-19 are unknown, but when Dr Quinn Medicine Woman breaks her silence the NHS will surely be all ears.

Paltrow says he had Covid-19. It left her with “some long-tail fatigue and brain fog”. She took her foggy brain to see a “functional medicine practitioner”, who had advised “intuitive fasting”. She takes “ketop and plant-based diet”, never eats before 11am and partakes in “infrared saunas” (aka: sitting too close to patio heaters).

NHS England’s Prof Stephen Powis says such methods are “really not the solutions we’d recommend”. Well, hard cheese. Paltrow never consulted you. But Prof Powis never studied for years to support such stuff and says that he is more into “serious science”. “Like the virus, misinformation carries across borders and it mutates and it evolves,” he says. “So I think YouTube and other social media platforms have a real responsibility and opportunity here… We need to take long Covid seriously and apply serious science. All influencers who use social media have a duty of responsibility and a duty of care around that.”

The message is clear: listen to us; don’t listen to them. I’m want to be an influencer. And you’re all thick.

Posted: 25th, February 2021 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


‘Julia Roberts finds her holes get better with age’ – newspaper regrets the typo

typo Julia Robert holes

Hollywood mega-star Julia Roberts ‘finds that her holes get better with age’. The Post-Journal regrets the error.

As do these throbbing organs:

Posted: 22nd, February 2021 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment


How to make a great movie poster

James Verdeso designed the poster for Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. In this video he shares a few tips on what goes into making a captivating movie poster.

Buy prints of movie posters here.

Posted: 18th, February 2021 | In: Film | Comment


Tom Waits & Cookie Monster mashup – sing God’s Away On Business

YouTuber cookiewaits has created this terrific mashup of Tom Waits and Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster singing God’s Away On Business. The singer and cookie enthusiast do sound remarkably alike.

Posted: 12th, February 2021 | In: Music, TV & Radio | Comment


Watch The Princess Bride Home Movie

The Princess Bride (redux), directed by Jason Reitman, broadcast on Quibi (the now dead streaming service you never heard of), starring Fred Savage, Cary Elwes, Adam Sandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Hamm (Westley), Zoe Saldana (Buttercup), Penelope Cruz (Prince Humperdinck), Pedro Pascal (Inigo Montoya), Shaquille O’Neal (Fezzik), Charlize Theron (Fezzik) and Andy Serkis (Count Rugen).

Why was it made? for charity. Money raised went to José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen.

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 2nd, February 2021 | In: Celebrities, Film, Key Posts | Comment


When F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway compared penis size

Just as men took up painting to spend time with naked men and women, many famous writers were also preoccupied with sex. In A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway notes the time he and fellow novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, compared penis size:

In the time after Zelda had what was then called her first nervous breakdown and we happened to be in Paris at the same time, Scott asked me to have lunch with him at Michaud’s restaurant on the corner of the rue Jacob and the rue des Saints-Pères. He said he had something very important to ask me that meant more than anything in the world to him and that I must answer absolutely truly.

[…]

I kept waiting for it to come, the thing that I had to tell the absolute truth about; but he would not bring it up until the end of the meal, as though we were having a business lunch.

Finally when we were eating the cherry tart and had a last carafe of wine he said, “You know I never slept with anyone except Zelda.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“I thought I had told you.”

“No. You told me a lot of things but not that.”

“That is what I have to ask you about.”

“Good. Go on.”

“Zelda said that the way I was built I could never make any woman happy and that was what upset her originally. She said it was a matter of measurements. I have never felt the same since she said that and I have to know truly.”

“Come out to the office,” I said.

“Where is the office?”

Le water,” I said.

We came back into the room and sat down at the table.

“You’re perfectly fine,” I said. “You are O.K. There’s nothing wrong with you. You look at yourself from above and you look foreshortened. Go over to the Louvre and look at the people in the statues and then go home and look at yourself in the mirror in profile.”

“Those statues may not be accurate.”

“They are pretty good. Most people would settle for them.”

“But why would she say it?”

“To put you out of business. That’s the oldest way in the world of putting people out of business. Scott, you asked me to tell you the truth and I can tell you a lot more but this is the absolute truth and all you need. You could have gone to see a doctor.”

“I didn’t want to. I wanted you to tell me truly.”

“Now do you believe me?”

“I don’t know,” he said.

“Come on over to the Louvre,” I said. “It’s just down the street and across the river.”

We went over to the Louvre and he looked at the statues but still he was doubtful about himself.

“It is not basically a question of the size in repose,” I said. “It is the size that it becomes. It is also a question of angle.” I explained to him about using a pillow and a few other things that might be useful for him to know.

A pillow to rest our head upon when you lie down, pick up a good book and forget about it.

Spotter: BB; Flashbak

Posted: 15th, January 2021 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment


Hear James Baldwin’s great record collection on a Spotify playlist

Allan warren - Own work
James Baldwin taken Hyde Park, London Spotify

You can hear American writer James Baldwin’s record collection as Spotify playlist. In his hymned work Another Country, Baldwin hailed the creative power of music:

The beat: hands, feet, tambourines, drums, pianos, laughter, curses, razor blades: the man stiffening with a laugh and a growl and a purr and the woman moistening and softening with a whisper and a sigh and a cry. The beat – in Harlem in the summertime one could almost see it, shaking above the pavements and the roof.

Ikechúkwú Onyewuenyi, a curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, has gone further, creating a playlist of Baldwin’s listening. “I latched onto his records, their sonic ambience,” says Onyewuenyi. “In addition to reading the books and essays, listening to the records was something that could transport me there.”

Image: CC – Allan Warren – James Baldwin taken Hyde Park, London

Spotter: FlashbakHyperallergic

Posted: 31st, December 2020 | In: Key Posts, Music | Comment


Hilaria Baldwin and Phoebe – life mirrors 30 Rock?

Hilaria Baldwin 30 Rock

Hilaria Baldwin, née Hillary Hayward-Thomas, is a celebrity, yoga instructor and the current Mrs Alec Baldwin, star of TV’s 30 Rock. She is accused of creating a fake Spanish heritage.

She was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and appears to have attended school in the state. But, as reported widely, a now deleted bio on her management’s website said that she was born on the Spanish island of Mallorca. As the BBC notes: “She also previously claimed in an interview that she did not move to the United States until she was 19 to attend university in New York.” Page Six adds: “Her 2016 interview with Hola! magazine also stated: ‘Hilaria, who was born in Spain, has made certain to raise her children with her native language, Spanish.'”

In this video, Hilaria Baldwin seems to forget the English word for cucumber, something many of us (vegetarians included) have done.

Hilaria goes on the record. In a long video on Instagram, Hilaria Baldwin says she was born in Boston, but was partly raised in Spain.

“I’ve seen chatter online questioning my identity and culture. This is something I take very seriously, and for those who are asking – I’ll reiterate my story, as I’ve done many times before. I was born in Boston and grew up spending time with my family between Massachusetts and Spain. My parents and sibling live in Spain and I chose to live here, in the USA. We celebrate both cultures in our home – Alec and I are raising our children bilingual, just as I was raised.”

Both her parents appear to be American with pretty deep roots – Dr. Kathryn Hayword and David Thomas moved to Mallorca in 2011. Vanity Fair adds: The obituary for Hilaria’s paternal grandfather, David Thomas Sr., also states that his “family presence in that part of Vermont pre-dated the American Revolution.”

Creative Commons – ‘Hilaria Thomas at the Tony Bennet Birthday Gala 2011 – by Joella Marano’

And the name Hilaria? She says she was called Hillary in the US and Hilaria in Spain. She opted for “consolidating” under Hilaria – but will answer to both, adding:

“I care because my thing is about being authentic and then if people say I’m not being authentic, it hurts my feelings…I don’t really understand why it’s turning into such a big thing…I’m getting attacked for being who I am…people wanting to label me Spanish or America, can’t it be both? It’s frustrating that is my story.”

It’s all more than a bit ridiculous. She can call herself whatever she pleases and talk however she likes. More’s the pity Hilaria didn’t respond to accusations of cultural appropriation’ by wearing a Fez and speaking in a rich Scouse accent.

And it might be nothing like a scene in 30 Rock when Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) falls for Phoebe (Emily Mortimer). In one scene, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) confronts Phoebe:

Phoebe : You know how John Lennon was better than the rest of the Beatles, but didn’t realize it until he met Yoko Ono? Well, I’m Jack’s Yoko.

Liz Lemon : You want to be Yoko?

Phoebe : This is none of your business, anyway. I’m marrying Jack. He’s everything I ever wanted.

Liz Lemon : Oh, I bet he is.

Phoebe : [in American accent] You don’t know anything about me, so back off!

Liz Lemon : What happened to your accent?

Phoebe : [back to British accent] Um, I don’t know what you’re on about. You daft wanker!

Image: Creative Commons / Wikipedia by Joella Marano

Posted: 29th, December 2020 | In: Celebrities, Hello!, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Lux Interior of The Cramps Christmas mix tape download

Lux Interior of The Cramps Christmas mix tape download

Kristian Hoffman received a mix tapes of Christmas songs from Lux Interior of The Cramps. Called ‘Jeezus Fuck, It’s Christmas!!!’, you can download it. Says Hoffman on his Facebook page:

Lux Interior used to make holiday cassettes for me, and so many of his friends. As odd as it seems, he was all about sharing. Listening to this one right now.

 You can get more files at WFMU Ichiban.

Spotter: flashbak

Posted: 24th, December 2020 | In: Music | Comment


Ye Motherf*cker : listen to a medley of Medieval hip hop covers

Helping us know what hip hop sounds like on Medieval instruments is Beedle the Bardcore . Listen out for twinkling, instrumental version of songs by Wu-Tang ClanEminemCoolio & L.V2Pac and The Fugees.

Would be interesting to hear what rappers make of Medieval texts, like Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales:

“This Absolon gan wype his mouth ful drie./ Dirk was the nyght as pich or as the cole,/ And at the wyndow out she pitte hir hole./ And Absolon hym fil no bet ne wers,/ But with his mouth he kiste hir naked ers/ Ful savourly er he was war of this./ Abak he stirte and thoughte it was amys,/ For wel he wiste a woman hath no berd./ He felte a thyng al rough and longe yherd/ And seyde, “Fy! Allas! What have I do?”/ “Tehee,” quod she and clapte the wyndow to.”

Endeth.

Spotter: Laughing Squid

Posted: 21st, December 2020 | In: Music | Comment


Dame Barbara Windsor : Carry On and a night with George Best

Actress Dame Barbara Windsor was 83 when she succumbed to Alzheimer’s at a London care home. Dame Barbara is best remembered as the star of nine of the 31 Carry On films, The Rag Trade, Sparrows Can’t Sing and EastEnders. But it was on stage where her talent and effervescence marked her out for stardom.

After a stint at the Aida Foster School in Golders Green, Windsor joined Joan Littlewood’s company at the Theatre Royal in Stratford, east London, appearing in productions of Oh! What A Lovely War and Fings Ain’t Wot They Used To Be.

At four foot ten and half inches tall with a bawdy laugh and impressive cleavage, ‘Babs’, a native of London’s East End, was a terrific and apparently fearless performer – although as she once cautioned: “I am not like my image,. Everyone thinks I just bounce in, but I study and everything has to be just right.”

Take the memorable bra scene in Carry on Camping (1969), filmed in chilly February and March. Windsor stands in a field with other women. She is dressed in a bikini. Twang! The straps cannot stand the strain. The bra jets off and lands on Kenneth Williams’ face, in his role as the gym instructor. The bra was attached to a fishing rod. On take one the props man pulled. The bra did not come loose and Babs was dragged over and through the mud. “Get her up and mop her down. Let’s go for another take”, Windsor heard as she struggled to her feet.

She married three times, including to small-time criminal Ronnie Knight, and she also dated hymned villains Charlie Kray and his brother Reggie, her Carry On co-star Sid James, Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees and the footballer George Best, of whom she said: “There was this vision, this absolute vision. He was so beautiful. He came over to me in the bar and I said, ‘Look, don’t waste your time with me, darling. You’ve got all these lovely ladies after you’. And he said, ‘Well, when do I ever get to talk to somebody like you?’ Well, that did it. That was it. A magic moment.”

Dame Barbara Windsor (nee Barbara Ann Deeks): August 6, 1937 (Shoreditch, London) – December 10, 2020.

Posted: 11th, December 2020 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


Roald Dahl was a hardcore anti-Semite – but hating Jews is ok

Roald Dahl is dead. He’s been dead since 1990. He was a brilliant writer for children. Buried on his official website run by his estate is an apology for his brazen and unalloyed anti-Semitism. “The Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company deeply apologise for the lasting and understandable hurt caused by some of Roald Dahl’s statements,” goes the comment.

Jews, eh, those folk devils for Christian culture. Lots of talented people are and have been Jew haters. It goes with the territory of being a Jew living amongst non-Jews to experience the slights and slurs. It’s part of the culture.

The New Statesman printed this gem from Dahl in 1983, part of an interview with the writer: “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews… Even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.”

That in the New Statesman, which much later came up with this explainer for everything wrong with the world and your life:

anti-Semitic new statesman kosher conspiracy
The Labour Party supporting New Statesman had a question that might have been rhetorical.

The Dahl family apology adds: “Those prejudiced remarks are incomprehensible to us and stand in marked contrast to the man we knew and to the values at the heart of Roald Dahl’s stories, which have positively impacted young people for generations. We hope that, just as he did at his best, at his absolute worst, Roald Dahl can help remind us of the lasting impact of words.”

But why apologise now, thirty years after Dahl’s death? Is it all about money? They’ve done rather well flogging his stuff, despite of what Dahl said about Jewish power:

“It’s the same old thing: we all know about Jews and the rest of it. There aren’t any non-Jewish publishers anywhere, they control the media – jolly clever thing to do – that’s why the president of the United States has to sell all this stuff to Israel.”

Hating Jews is ok, say the anti-Semites. It is systemic, of course, because it tells Jews that they are the problem. Sure Hitler was a mass murdering anti-Semite but it wasn’t his fault, see. It was theirs. It is not punching down to hate Jews. It is punching up. It is their differences from the norm, their faces, culture and very being that need correcting. That’s how systemic racism works. It pitches the minority as an ugly otherness in need of fixing.

When two Jewish children wrote to Dahl, his reply was, well, take a look:

Dear Mr Dahl, We love your books, but we have a problem … we are Jews!! We love your books but you don’t like us because we are Jews. That offends us! Can you please change your mind about what you said about Jews. Love, Aliza and Tamar.

Dahl replied that he against not Jews but “injustice”. Jews are fair game. Attacking Jews does not make you racist say the liberal idealists in their Islington town houses and Suffolk parlours. It makes you just and righteous.

But it won’t matter. Shakespeare and Dickens are rife with anti-semitism. Shylock and Fagin are characters that reinforce and pander to the readers’ prejudices. They’re on every classroom reading lists.

“If a person has ugly thoughts,” Dahl writes in The Twits, “it begins to show on the face.” Do we could dig him up, give him the once over and beat him with sticks? No need. No point. Hating Jews is the oldest story in Christendom. And everyone loves a story…

Posted: 7th, December 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


Prince William needs a German or Greek passport

Prince William Brexit

A new biopic starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana needs a Prince William – and only actors with British-European passport holders can apply. If you’ve only got a post-Brexit British passport, you cannot audition for the tole. Apparently it’s something to do with the film’s financing.

But it doe make me wonder: does the future King William qualify for a German passport?

Posted: 26th, November 2020 | In: Film, Money, News, Politicians, Royal Family, Strange But True | Comment


You scumbags, you faggots: BBC censors The Pogues Fairytale of New York

‘You scumbag, you maggot /

You cheap lousy faggot /

Happy Christmas your arse /

I pray God it’s our last.’

Prudes at the achingly stiff BBC Radio 1 have censored The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York. Words deemed too strong for the Beeb’s youth audience have been purged. This is of course marvellous news for The Pogues because there is no surer way to blunt the once edgy and hip than to have it endorsed by the BBC. Ban it. And ban it good. The kids will seek it out.

Listeners to Radio 1 will not hear Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan sing “faggot” and “slut”. Instead it’s “haggard’ and “slut” gets beeped out. Oddly, BBC Radio 2 will air the full version and in a sop to further management cowardice 6 Music will allow its DJs to choose the version they wish to play. So if you want to hear the uncensored version, kids, tune into the station once reserved for middle-aged roadkill.

The BBC says: “We know the song is considered a Christmas classic and we will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience.”

So there it is. The young must be protected from hearing bad words and so remain on the ‘right side of history’. Meanwhile… here’s on Radio 1 is a song about Cardi B’s vagina:

Posted: 19th, November 2020 | In: Music, News | Comment


Watch Noel Edmonds being Alan Partridge as Keith Chegwin glimpses the oblivion

Noel Edmonds being more Alan Partridge than Alan Partridge is remarkable TV. Stay tuned for the closing shot as Keith ‘Cheggers’ Chegwin’s soul departs.

Posted: 19th, October 2020 | In: Celebrities, TV & Radio | Comment