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the guardian G2 - Friday, 18 May 2012

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the guardian G2 - Friday, 18 May 2012
Friday 18.05.12
Kristen Stewart talks to
Kira Cochrane Lost in showbiz
Marina Hyde
Donna Summer
A pop lifeforce Willie Nelson
On Sinatra and smoking The Raid ����� Peter Bradshaw �Emo woah-hoah’
Temper Trap reviewed
2 The Guardian 18.05.12
ou know how some of the stars we can see now actually died gazillions of years ago, but their light is only just reaching us? Please bear that in mind as we discuss this week’s announcement that the world’s most powerful star is Jennifer Lopez . Scientists are believed to be working round the clock to repair the tear in the fabric of space-time that has taken us back to 2001 – the prime of Miss Jennifer Lopez – but in the meantime Lost in Showbiz is urging you to be careful out there. If you hold any Enron stock, you might care to sell it, while the Nepalese royal family is advised to dine in bullet-proof vests until June is out.
We may return to the quantum-
physical implications of the news later. For now, you should know that “ respected business bible” Forbes has just anointed J-Lo the most powerful celebrity on the planet. Like the actual Bible, of course, Forbes carries its fair share of total and utter cobblers, and you have to think Jennifer’s supremacy is the sort of thing only silly or frightened people could possibly believe.
Not that madam isn’t hugely success-
ful. She’s a judge on American Idol, a L’Oréal brand ambassador , and she’s in those annoying Fiat adverts . Further-
more, she has distilled her ineff able essence into an 18-strong fragrance range inspired by such things as “where I am right now”, “the way a woman feels when she discovers herself”, and “a special glow that women get when they’re pregnant and falling in love with their babies”.
Yet even accounting for this olfactory blitzkrieg, there will be those wondering if Jennifer has quite the full-spectrum dominance Forbes asserts. In fact, there will be those questioning the very nature of celebrity “power”. Even now, you might be turning the concept over in Lost in Showbiz
Meet the planet’s most powerful stars. And who’s No 1? It’s none other than Jenny from the block. Yes, really
Forbes’s list will leave many questioning the nature of celebrity �power’
By Marina Hyde
So perhaps mindful of the right-
eous derision that has been heaped on such ranking enterprises, Forbes has decided to let daylight in on magic, and reveal the deeply scientifi c methodology that caused it to arrive at its conclusions. “The Celebrity 100 is based on entertainment-related earnings plus media visibility,” the magazine explains, defi ning media visibility as exposure in print, television, radio and online. It claims to speak to industry insiders to estimate earnings, measure online exposure using “Googleblogs”, various tools to search print archives and determine how many times a star has made magazine covers, before totting up Twitter and Facebook fans. And then what? Well, then something rather woolly happens: “All of the data is The powers that be: Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian rank higher than Steven Spielberg your mind and repeating : “Jennifer Lopez? JENNIFER LOPEZ? She couldn’t make me do NUTTIN’ – not even if a gun was involved.” (Which it wouldn’t be. In 2001, Jennifer’s gentleman caller Puff Daddy/Puff y/P-Diddy/Diddy/Sean Combs [delete as appropriate to ensure period authenticity] has just been cleared of four charges of illegal fi rearm possess ion and one count of bribery following a shooting in a Manhattan nightclub.)
Of course, as previously discussed in this space, we don’t go to power lists to be enlightened. LiS has yet to read Details magazine’s retraction of its former insistence that Britney Spears’s unemployed ex-husband Kevin Feder-
line was a full 14 places more powerful than Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
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18.05.12 The Guardian 3
Let’s see that in action again: �Touch me, I’m human’
To Los Angeles, next, where Simon Cowell has formally unveiled Britney Spears as a judge on the US version of The X Factor .
Enchantingly, the singer’s appoint-
ment had to be sanctioned by a judge, as she is still under conservatorship following her excruciatingly public breakdown a few years ago. But then, Simon is well aware of all that. Consider the passage in Tom Bower’s biography of Cowell , which details Britney’s guest appearance on the UK version of the show in 2008, all too soon after said meltdown.
Described as “on medication” to the degree that “the studio must be in lockdown”, Britney does not appear to be in the best frame of mind to be making a high-profi le TV appearance. Or, as Cowell refl ects: “She’s frosty and I haven’t got a clue why and I don’t care. I love all this.”
Eventually, he enters her dressing room. “She was just staring at me,” Cowell recalls to Bower. “I said: �Have you ever watched the show?’ �No,’ she said. And I said: �Touch me, I’m human’, and I think that broke the ice.”
And Simon said unto Britney: touch me so that ye may be healed
Britney and Cowell: we take it the therapy worked, then
On the web
Participate in these important debates
And in that moment, students of advances in psychiatric care will have spotted the birth of a controversial treatment that would come to be known as Simon Says Feel Better. Though clearly not a scaleable solution to all mental health problems in early 21st-century society, this pioneering therapy would see the diminutive mogul heal the sick of pop with the sublimely inviting words: “Touch me, I’m human.”
Let’s see that in action again. “Touch me, I’m human.” “Touch me, I’m human.” “Touch me, I’m human.”
Racking our brains for the only earlier notable use of the technique, we may alight in 1st-century Judea, where a local man became so legendary for his restorative powers that the sick would merely reach for the hem of his robe in the belief that it would cure them. The gospels diff er in their accounts of the practice – Mark has Jesus feeling the power drain from him and demanding “Who touched my clothes?”, while certain lost texts are believed to have him calling for the hand sanitiser.
Wherever you stand, though, you have to doff your hat to our own latterday Messiah, whose selfl ess gift of healing is too often misrepresented as exploitative ratings- grabbing. We can only wish Britney the best of luck with her return to the spotlight, safe in the knowledge that if it all starts to feel too much, the hem of Simon’s grey marl T-shirt will be at her televised disposal.
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processed through an algorithm that creates our power ranking.”
Aha, “an algorithm”. Needless to say, Forbes does not divulge details of the “algorithm” that has resulted in a celebrity no one really cares obsessively about being ruled the most obsessively cared-about celebrity in the world. But LiS has been able to model an approxi-
mation using a glitter crayon and a series of mathematically rendered computations such as “A = nice arse?” and “B > Britney’s fragrance?”, ending in a decision box reading “GOTO some-
one like J-Lo on account of Oprah can’t win it every year”.
As for the rest of the list, Oprah Winfrey does indeed remain at No 2, thanks to that most crucial function of the Forbes’s algorithm. Last year she was kept off the top spot by Lady Gaga, who slumps to fi ve, while Justin Bieber sticks at No 3.
Arguably the starkest refl ection of the way we live now, though, is the fact that celebutante powerhouse Kim Kardashian sits a full three places above Steven Spielberg. Perhaps power means having the confi dence not to keep putting out ever-diminishing iterations of one’s back cata-
logue. Kim’s sex tape has not been blighted by sequels, Mr Spielberg – yet still you announce Jurassic Park 4 and Indiana Jones 5 like they’re the classiest things in the world. If Kim puts out another wedding, maybe she’ll lose a bit of her moral high ground. But until we reach the Kardashian equivalent of Indiana Jones and the Stoopid Crystal Aliens, then the indignity of losing out to the auteur behind Fit In Your Jeans By Friday may yet continue. 4 The Guardian 18.05.12
By Alex Needham
The Take
Donna Summer’s disco was as radical as punk – it changed pop for ever
New band of the week
Two Inch Punch
onna Summer will be remembered as the queen of disco, but in fact her best records transformed not just dancefl oors but the course of pop music. Released in 1977, the year of punk, her single I Feel Love was as radical as any record that has got to No 1. Sparks were a glam rock band until they heard I Feel Love, when they decided to throw their entire musical direction in the dustbin and make pulsing, synthesised disco records with its producer, Giorgio Moroder . Seeking to assert his creden-
tials as a man of impeccable musical taste, Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream used to boast that he had bought both I Feel Love and the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen on the same day. The combination of silvery female soul vocals with state-of-the-art electronic production, which has been responsible for some of pop’s greatest and most groundbreaking singles, from Janet Jackson to Aaliyah to Beyoncé, was pioneered right there by Summer and her two Italian producers - Moroder and Pete Bellotte.
Working from the unlikely location of Munich, the trio managed to fuse soul with the surgical precision of Kraftwerk, creating a record so far ahead of its time that pop took a good 20 years to catch up. Like the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations, I Feel Love is a studio recording so perfect that cover-
ing it – or even playing it live – would be pointless, though many have tried. The sparsest ingredients – lyrics that could be written on the back of a beer-
mat with room to spare, a bassline that, in theory, a three-year-old could play – are turned, in Summer and Moroder’s hands , into an entire world of futuristic wonder. Moroder took a Moog Modu-
lator synthesiser and put a delay on the bassline, creating the “dugga-
dugga-dugga” sound that has galva-
nised dancefl oors ever since. Summer’s vocal is no less wonderful – ethereal and otherworldly . If that was all Summer had ever done, her place in pop would be assured, but she made a number of standout records that have infl uenced musicians right across the spectrum, from rock to R&B. The drum break on her 1979 album track Our Love was fi lched for the beginning of New Order’s Blue Monday , who also put the epic Patrick Cowley mix of I Feel Love on their Back to Mine compilation. Her version of Jon and Vangelis’s State of Independence was covered by Chrissie Hynde. Part of Summer’s strength was her versatility. The high concept of her album I Remember Yesterday was that each track would pastiche the sounds of a diff erent decade, from the magnifi -
cent Love’s Unkind , her take on Phil Spector, to I Feel Love (which repre-
sented The Future) and her voice is at home in any style Moroder and Bellotte can throw at her. Pitted against Barbra Streisand on the scenery-chewing 1982 duet No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) , Summer demonstrates in grand style that she can face down any diva. Every time someone demolishes Summer’s On The Radio on a TV talent show , remembering the original – surely one of the greatest ever songs about that medium – only reaffi rms Summer’s technical and emotional mastery. Even the records she made with Stock Aitken Waterman in the late 80s, a collaboration which seemed sacrilegious at the time, are animated by the power and sincerity of her voice.
And then, of course, there is sex. Summer’s single Love to Love You Baby announced her arrival to the world – 17 minutes of groaning, whimpering and moaning. Get past its use by Mike Leigh in Abigail’s Party – which made it an icon of bad taste thanks to it being played by the awful Beverly – and Love to Love You Baby is charged with feelings of liberation, a pre-Aids world of pansexual freedom and adven-
ture. While Summer renounced her raunchy past, betraying her gay fans in the process, her best records still pulsate with that spirit, the lifeforce of pop itself. Yesterday, at only 63 , that life-
force was extinguished. It’s not clear yet whether Ben Ash, who operates as Two Inch Punch, is going to step forward as a bona fi de solo artist, or retain the anonymity he enjoys as a producer . Maybe he’s nervous, follow-
ing the mixed response to James Blake’s move into the spotlight last year – Blake got plenty of critical plaudits at fi rst, but there was a sense of anti-climax after he failed to deliver commercially . Ash has remixed everyone from Metronomy to Lianne La Havas, but he is most closely allied with the new Brit queen of electronic soul, Jessie Ware . He has provided a sparse and spacious context for her coolly emotional vocals , making those “dubstep Sade” labels pretty apt. He and Ware have a kind of Timbaland/Aaliyah relationship, where she becomes his muse and he uses her to test-drive his latest beats .
TIP himself is no slouch when it comes to melody or pop hooks , it’s just that he tends to couch those melo-
dies in hiss and crackle . And many of the vocals are sped/chopped up and tweaked to the point that they no longer resemble actual humans singing, more like sexually excited machines – we’re thinking in particular of the super-high squeaks on Love You Up, from his debut EP, which takes R&B-girl paroxysms of passion to extremes . The right chord changes are “the most important thing to me ”, says Ash, who was reared on 60s/70s soul, 80s/90s swingbeat and early-00s UK garage. You can hear his attention to the art of heartache on Paint It Red, a track, sung straight by Nashville native Mikky Ekko, from TIP’s forthcoming release, Saturn: The Slow Jams EP. It’s a more than wor-
thy UK addition to the contemporary canon of, well, slow-jam hip-hop and chopped’n’screwed R&B, to the cloud rap brigade , Drake’s dubbed-out lovers rap and the codeine soul of the Weeknd. Maybe now lusciously tuneful, popped-
up dubstep will п¬Ѓ nally have its day.
The buzz: “James Blake, Jamie xx, Rustie ... Two Inch Punch may have topped them all. Astoundingly good” – The truth: Whether as a producer or an artist, TIP is top. Paul Lester
18.05.12 The Guardian 5
By Michael Hann
30 minutes with … Willie Nelson
The veteran musician on God, politics, his favourite singer and why weed should be decriminalised
What were the songs that made you realise you wanted to be a musician?
When I fi rst started out, I sang a lot in church. Amazing Grace was the fi rst song that I can remember ever singing. Gospel was probably the main kind of music I was into. Then I got into Bob Wills (1) and Hank Williams and Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong, all those great singers. Ray Charles came along – I loved him. Ray Price. The greatest singer there is, I think, is Ray Price (2).
Sinatra was a big hero of yours, of course.
Yes, he was. Still is. He is my favourite singer. And I read somewhere that I was his favourite singer, so that really made me happy.
The early 50s seemed like a golden age, with people building popular music brick by brick, didn’t it?
For me it was. It’s where my music came from. I used to work in the cotton fi elds a lot when I was young. There were a lot of African Americans working out there. A lot of Mexicans – the blacks and the whites and the Mexicans, all out there singing, and it was like an opera in the cotton fi elds and I can still hear it in the music that I write and play today.
You have been politically active on the left for a long time, but as a young man you volunteered to be a jet pilot in the Korean war. Did you look at the world very diff erently then?
Well, I’m not necessarily a war monger, but I’m not necessarily someone who would want to sit around while we were getting the shit beat out of us either. I’m a second-degree black belt in taekwondo and also kung fu, so I’m a martial artist and I’m not afraid of trouble. I just don’t like to look for it. You fell out with the church in the 50s – unlike artists such as Elvis and Jerry Lee who kept trying to balance the devil’s music with the love of God. What happened?
I was teaching Sunday school and playing clubs, but there were a lot of members of church who didn’t think that was a good idea. They felt if I was going to teach Sunday school I should quit my job at the club. I was playing music on Saturday night at the Nite Owl to a lot of the people I saw in church on the Sunday morning. I wasn’t the only one going to both places. (3)
Did starting to smoke weed (4) make a diff erence to the way you thought about the world and your political interests?
When I was out in the bars drinking and fi ghting I was a little bit less of a peacemaker than I would be if I’d had a coupla hits of a joint and gone and laid down somewhere. I’d have less bumps on my head, that’s for sure.
Won’t it be too hard for Congress to decriminalise weed?
Well, Connecticut just became the 17th state to legalise or decriminalise marijuana (5). It’s coming. It has to, because economically we need the money – why give it to criminals? Most people realise it’s not a deadly drug like cocaine or cigarettes. Cigarettes killed my mother, my dad, half my family, so don’t tell me about health when you’re talking about legalising marijuana because it’s not dangerous healthwise. I’m the canary in the mine, and I’m still healthy. Had I stayed with alcohol I would have been dead or in prison or somewhere today. (6)
Have you been disappointed with the Obama administration?
When he was running for offi ce and he had a lot of aspirations, I had a few doubts about whether he was going to be able to do it or not. I don’t think the president has as much power as we think he does, and he can say what he wants to while he’s running for offi ce, but once he gets in there, there are four or fi ve guys who take him into a small room, sit him round a small table and say: “Look, cowboy, here’s the way it is.” I don’t believe he can do everything he said he would. Is songwriting a gift or craft?
It’s a gift. It all comes from somewhere. I started out really young, when I was four, fi ve, six, writing poems, before I could play an instrument. I was writing about things when I was eight or 10 years old that I hadn’t lived long enough to experience. That’s why I also believe in reincarnation, that we were put here with ideas to pass around. Somebody sent me here to write Crazy (7) and gave me the talent to do it. I can’t take credit for any of that. Foot notes (1) One of the fi rst great country musicians, as founder of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys in the 30s. (2) One of the other great country singers, nicknamed the Cherokee Cowboy. (3) Willie maintains a relationship with God, via a portfolio kind of spirtuality. (4) Nelson is a proud and inveterate weed smoker. As recently as November 2010 he was arrested for possession, but the prosecutor agreed such a small amount for personal use merited only a fi ne. The small amount in question was 6oz. (5) Connecticut actually decriminalised marijuana in June 2011. Maybe he meant New Hampshire, which did so in March 2012. (6) It would be fair to say this is the subect on which he was most eff usive during the course of our interview. (7) Sung by Patsy Cline, and reputedly the most popular jukebox song in history.
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6 The Guardian 18.05.12
Twilight star Kristen Stewart says Snow White has a lot in common with the teen fi lms that made her famous. She talks to Kira Cochrane about her new �bad-ass girl power movie’
A VERY 18.05.12 The Guardian 7
But I’m good at evading those little twits. Once I lose them, once no one’s trying to make a buck off you, you know, I’m fi ne – I know at this point that there’s a buck to be made, which is weird considering I’m just walking down the street with dirty hair .”
Stewart has a silent п¬Ѓ lm star face that can project all manner of wordless emo-
tion. It’s a quality that has been used to great eff ect in the Twilight series – all that endless staring, wanting, needing – and now in her new fi lm, Snow White and the Huntsman, in which she stars as the titular heroine, and which threat-
ens to become another franchise. The fi lm is uneven. It’s hard to get excited about the romantic hero, a character who spends a surprising amount of the fi lm as a sloppy drunk. But it’s visually interesting, with its blinking mush-
rooms, melting mirrors and dark, dark forests. Stewart and her co-star Charlize Theron, as the evil queen, are terrifi c.
The fi lm is a re working of the classic fairytale, with Stewart as a more powerful heroine, who is locked up by the evil queen for a decade, before escaping and becoming a warrior. Stewart was never a great fan of the Disney movie. “In the original she totally represents what a woman wanted to be back then: the ultimate maternal fi gure. She cleans house really well. It’s just that [women] do more than that now .” Instead they created a “bad-ass, girl power movie”, she says, in which the character’s strength is represented in a realistic way. “We’re not built to take out big guys in armour. So it was really more about being faster and smarter .”
In some ways, Snow White is, of course, the ultimate Hollywood story; the older woman terrifi ed that a young girl might surpass her in beauty. (There’s a hilarious scene in which Theron sucks the life force out of Lily Cole.) I ask if Stewart fi nds the Holly-
wood focus on looks diffi cult, and she answers an entirely diff erent question. She starts talking about how beauty is ruined “if you’re not cool as well. If you don’t have the heart to back up your looks, you are ugly. I’ve met so many people that I thought were so gorgeous and talented and amazing. And then you meet them for one second and you’re like,” she heaves another breath, and spits out emphatically, “�you are wearing a costume, you are a a serious illness in The Cake Eaters. The word that is often applied to her performances is “watchful”. Twilight seemed apt. The fi rst fi lm is all rain storms and inchoate emotion . Then the series took on a life of its own. T he four fi lms in the franchise have made more than $2bn at the worldwide box offi ce in total. Last year, a Forbes magazine survey found that for every dollar Stewart is paid, her fi lms bring in an average of $55.83, making her the best-value actor around . Bella Swan might be devoid of any obvious inter-
ests beyond her lust for vampire Ed-
ward Cullen and werewolf Jacob Black , but her very blankness has allowed a generation of young women who are in love or would like to be to live out their longings for dangerous, unattainable men . Stewart is startlingly beautiful, of course, but her slightly clumsy gait, her palpable self-consciousness, have made her a perfect proxy.
She realised how big Twilight was going to be before it even came out, when she and Robert Pattinson, her co-star and rumoured boyfriend, were mobbed by 6,500 people at a comics convention. Did that make her nervous? “Oh my gosh. It blew my head off .” She’s talked since then of feeling trapped, unable to go for walks, stuck in hotel rooms. She says it’s not always like that though. “I mean, if I walked out of this hotel” – Claridge’s – “obvi-
ously I’d be screwed. But in London, I am perfectly fi ne, unless I have a trail of parasites [the paparazzi] behind me. �IF YOU’RE NOT COOL, IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE HEART, YOU ARE UGLY’
fter a year of unsuccessful auditions, the nine-year-
old Kristen Stewart told her mother she wanted to pack it all in. It hadn’t been her ambition to act; she had wanted to be an archaeologist. But she lived in Los Angeles, where an agent saw her sing in a school play aged eight, and so inevitably the notion was put to her. Her parents were crew members, and she had spent time on fi lm sets where there was a feeling that: “we were all in this together, and we were making something worthwhile”. She takes one of many deep, meaningful breaths. “And then I would see a kid walk around and people would be like: � Shhh, that’s the actor, don’t talk to him .’ And I was like, I want a job, I want you guys to talk to me like I matter !”
It’s not surprising Stewart wasn’t tying down all those roles. I can’t imagine her having made a convincing child star in the twinkling insincerity mould. She’s just so socially awkward. She bounds into the hotel room, in her Led Zeppelin T-shirt and black jeans, clasping a glass of milk, and rather than sitting opposite me, she perches on the next chair, so close I have to check our knees aren’t touching. She’s renowned for being moody , and she certainly has nervous tics. Her leg sometimes twitches like a piston, and she says “do you know what I mean” 18 times in the course of the interview. But she seems to be putting her all into being understood as genuine, and that, in itself, is completely endearing. Anyway, her essential traits were not going over very well in the child actor market. She would go to audi-
tions for commercials where she had to dance with the product. She pulls a face. She asked if she could ditch the fi nal one, and her mother said: “Kristen! You have fucking integrity! If you make an appointment, you go. I’ll fi re your agent tomorrow. ”
If she hadn’t landed her role as a troubled, tomboyish kid in The Safety of Objects, followed by a role as a troubled, tomboyish kid in Panic Room , she might be off on an archaeological dig right now. Instead she’s at the heart of a juggernaut. When she fi rst signed up, in her late teens, to play Bella Swan in Twilight, there was, she says, no talk of sequels or merchandise . It was a small fi lm. Stewart has been in lots of smallish fi lms, before and since. She has played Joan Jett in The Runaways , an 80s teen-
ager working at an amusement park in Adventureland and a girl suff ering from Kristen Stewart as the titular heroine of Snow White and the Huntsman
INTENSE 8 The Guardian 18.05.12
fake, you are so unattractive’. And it doesn’t always come across in a picture, but you can be really beautiful in a still frame, and then, in life, moving around, you’re ugly. And that’s kind of what the movie’s about .”
There’s a big similarity between Snow White and Twilight, she says, in that, “there’s a stage of life represented in both movies that is so impassioned, and it doesn’t know why yet. That was what I really liked about Bella. The fact that she trusted that at some point these feelings are going to make sense, and that she’s not going to let everyone tell her she’s fucking crazy. Also, it was just so,” she takes a big breath, “it was so intense,” she laughs.
Was she an intense teenager? “Yeah, I’m still a very intense person.” She’s 22 now. “I’m chilled out about some things. I’m cool. But defi nitely, I take things far too seriously ... I love joking around, and it’s obviously about mood, because sometimes I can defi nitely be a silly idiot. But most of the time I am like this .” She makes a sound as if her mouth has been suctioned shut. Quite private? “Yeah,” she says. “And I’m overtly aware of fucking everything. I’m always like,” she mimes picking things out of the air, “details, little things. Just obsessive, analytical.”
Many thought Twilight pushed an abstinence message, presenting sex as a danger to be avoided . Was it worrying to have that outlook pinned to her? “I always just very honestly said that that’s not why I did the movie, and it’s not why the book was written,” she says, adding that she fi nds it frustrating when people read the characters diff erently to her. “Mostly in this idea that Bella is a weak girl who is just obsessed with these two boys, and doesn’t really think beyond her own needs, and is selfi sh. And she is, completely, but that’s like the way to live, man! You’ve got to fol-
low your heart. That is actually a really bold way to live, not making conces-
sions, or giving things up ... I don’t know why people ignore the sacrifi ces that Edward makes. I don’t know why the power thing has been viewed the way ←
it’s been viewed, because I just view it so diff erently .”
Isn’t it because the men are physically threatening, and Bella will-
ingly becomes their potential victim? “I think girls think that they’re stronger than the next one, and so they can take it,” says Stewart. “I think that she’s not hurting herself. I mean, it’s extreme, it’s really romantic, it’s really ideal. I think that the reason it’s eff ective is because if she was a vampire, he would do the same. He would be like �fuck me up!’” Stewart grew up with an older brother, Cameron, and adopted brother, Taylor, who’s fi ve days her senior, and says it was a very tomboyish childhood. “I don’t think I had a picture taken of me without a backwards baseball cap before the age of 14.” The fi rst time she realised a fi lm could be really important was when she made Speak, aged 13, about a girl who had been raped. She did a public service announcement af-
ter it was shown on TV, with details of a helpline for people to call. An enormous number did so that night. The other п¬Ѓ lm that stands out for her, in those terms, is Welcome to the Rileys , in which she played a troubled teenager, working in a strip club. She met women in those jobs while researching it, which gave her an idea she is still working on, of putting her earnings into a network of homes for women who want to leave the sex trade, or need support.
She has just made another fi lm that means a lot to her, On the Road, with the director Walter Salles . She plays the wild, instinctive Marylou, partner of Dean Moriarty, and she loved the chance to improvise . “I think in order to do that book right, it had to be spontaneous, it had to have that feeling of never quite knowing where someone’s going to jump or scream,” she says. “So some-
times it was a truer reading of the line to just forget it, and say it your own way.”
Stewart reminds me, at times, of an earlier era of actors. The sullen teenagers of James Dean’s generation ; or the grungy young actors of the 90s – Winona Ryder, River Phoenix, Johnny Depp – with their gorgeous, unwashed earnestness. She plays a character who is a terrible role model in Twilight, but in person is a blessed relief , with her trainers on the red carpet, crumpled clothes and intensity. While many of her child-star contemporaries implode, she seems grounded. “When you make moving pictures, it’s so easy to become disingenuous,” she says. “It’s so easy to just become a commodity, and I think that’s so embarrassing .” And with that, she fi nishes her milk.
With Robert Pattinson, and in New Moon, The Runaways and Panic Room
Snow White and the Huntsman is released on 30 May.
18.05.12 The Guardian 9
ritish hopes at this year’s Cannes fi lm festival split between the old and new guard of domestic cinema. Representing the fi rst camp is Ken Loach, nominated for the Palme d’Or for a record-breaking 11th time and ensconsed in the splendour of the main competition with his hard- scrabble comedy The Angel’s Share . Embody-
ing the second is 39-year-old Ben Wheatley, camped out in the rowdier, less salubrious setting of the directors’ fortnight section, far up the Croisette. He’s like the barbarian at the gates .
Basildon-born and Brighton-based, Wheatley cut his teeth on internet virals and TV commercials before making an acclaimed feature debut with the criminal sitcom Down Terrace. But it was last year’s Kill List that truly snared the attention. Wheatley’s wonky account of contract killing and pagan curses looked like a fi lm washed in from the underground; clammy, unstable and wicked to the core. “As far as British horror goes right now,” wrote the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw , “Kill List is pretty much top of the range.”
What will Cannes make of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers – a British black comedy that melds The League of Gentlemen with Nuts in May? By Xan Brooks
Well, maybe. At this point, however, it should be pointed out that Sightseers is not quite the sunny diversion it fi rst appears. Chris, it transpires, is a serial killer and the odyssey that follows comes spring-loaded with shocks and scares and ghoulish black comedy. “Ah well,” he concedes. “The apple never falls too far from the tree.”
True to form, Wheatley’s latest is an unruly, confounding aff air; a shotgun wedding of The League of Gentlemen and Nuts in May . No doubt some will view it as an acid satire on modern England, pootling its way from Matlock Bath to the Blue John caves to the eccentric wonder that is the Keswick pencil museum, and leaving a trail of corpses in its wake. All of which is fair enough, although the director is at pains to point out that there is an aff ection here, too. “Yeah, the fi lm has got a lot of murder in it. And yeah, it touches on issues of the recession and class and where we sit in the social structure. But at the other end it’s also a fi lm that shows the kind of England that we Alice Lowe and Steve Oram in Sightseers; and Ben Wheatley (bottom)
Yet Wheatley’s third feature is something else again . Sightseers , in a nutshell, is the tale of Chris and Tina (played by co-writers Steve Oram and Alice Lowe), two ostensibly humdrum thirtysomethings who set out on a caravan holiday across the UK, only to fi nd paradise overrun with litterbugs, graffi ti artists and middle-class busy-
bodies. “It was completely conceived as an antidote to Kill List,” the director explains. “I wanted to do something lighter, looser and more improvisa-
tional. At least this one won’t have people staggering out appalled. That’s probably a good thing.”
Some will view it
as an acid satire
on modern
England that
leaves a trail of
corpses in
its wake
ses in its w
, alt
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aff ection h
as got a lo
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10 The Guardian 18.05.12
never get to see in fi lms. I think some British fi lm-makers are so terrifi ed of being seen as parochial that they ignore the land that’s under their very noses. But I’m very sympathetic to all that stuff . Yeah, caravaning is inherently silly, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the British coun-
tryside. So we’re not taking a snide view of it here. You have to love that stuff in order for the fi lm to work.”
It remains to be seen what Cannes will make of Wheatley with his beady-
eyed take on an English tourist trail riddled with ley-lines, campsites and a “shaman from Portsmouth”. In the meantime, I’m wondering what Wheatley will make of Cannes. It’s tempting to cast him in the role of festival novice, wide-eyed, wet behind the ears and charmingly out of depth amid the movers and shakers. It turns out that Wheatley has already visited on a number of occasions, picking up prizes at the advertising festival and attending business meetings at the fi lm event. “You meet all the same people that you meet in London,” he explains. “Except that over here they’re in a much better mood.”
Wheatley plans to be in town for almost a week. This, he feels, should leave him ample time to soak up the atmosphere and sample the wares. He wants to see Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and he’s also intrigued by Room 237 , a documentary on Stanley Kubrick and the making of The Shining that is playing in his own directors’ fortnight sidebar. Aside from that, he may have a stroll around the marché, the vast bazaar at the back of the Palais that fl ogs cut-price monster romps and action movies to the international buyers. “The marché can be a terrify-
ing place,” he concedes. “It’s very easy to get lost in there and it’s a scary reminder of just how many movies get made . It’s a reminder to all of the direc-
tors who have been selected for the main Cannes programme. All of them, no matter how important, are literally just a few steps away from the bear-pit. So yeah, this year I’ve managed to avoid it. Next year, who knows?”
On the п¬Ѓ lm website:
All the Cannes 2012 action, including Moonrise Kingdom starring Tilda Swinton (left), plus a roundup of the news from the Croisette in G2, Monday to Friday next week.
Ben Wheatley’s Kill List
18.05.12 The Guardian 11
ix years ago, the Maccabees appeared at the Brighton Concorde, a prestigious venue for any fast-rising band. There, singer Orlando Weeks had once witnessed one of the best gigs he had ever seen – Franz Ferdi-
nand in April 2004 – and his bandmates knew the stakes were high. Unfortu-
nately, everything erupted in mayhem.
“Brighton had just taken us as their own and this kid was hanging from the top bar,” remembers guitarist Felix White. “It was crazy. The most passive people were the band. The bouncers were overwhelmed by the amount of people coming onstage. It ended up with fi ghts, and they were dragging people off by their necks .”
Briefl y threatened with becoming the fi rst band since the Sex Pistols to be banned from playing live , their next Brighton gig took place surrounded by police offi cers and as a result was “awful”. The band couldn’t even get into gigs as punters. “I went to see Ben Kweller and they wouldn’t let me past the door,” chuckles White, shaking his long locks. “I did a Laurel and Hardy routine with my mate – swapped hats and jackets and managed to get in.”
Today, it’s all very diff erent: the quintet are about to play London’s Alexandra Palace, port of call of every indie guitar phenomenon from the Stone Roses to the Black Keys . This on the back of critical acclaim for their third album , the sweepingly melan-
cholic Given to the Wild , reviewers who once called them “landfi ll indie” showering them in comparisons with the Blue Nile and Talk Talk .
“I didn’t think we deserved the �landfi ll’ tag,” chuckles Weeks, more bemused than bitter, inside the band’s cluttered Elephant & Castle enclave that was once the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Drugstore rehearsal rooms. “But in a way it hasn’t done us any harm. It was a nice thing to prove wrong.”
Weeks п¬Ѓ rmly downplays any sugges-
tion their success means his group are the last of the great indie guitar bands (“Anything like that must be taken with a huge pinch of salt”), but with big-selling guitar bands now almost as rare as the dodo, they have followed a method dating back to the Rolling Stones and the Who: forming like a gang in childhood, making gradually better records (initially on tiny labels Haircut and Promise Records) and then touring the world as mates.
The band – mostly well-educated, well-spoken chaps with posh fi rst names – are n’t typical of an indie-rock phenomenon. Bassist Rupert Jarvis was a wannabe racing driver who studied automotive engineering. Once dismissed as �landfi ll’, the Maccabees are now seen as indie music’s brightest hopes. Dave Simpson joins them as they head to Ally Pally
to images than language and he is surely the only indie rock singer to be massively infl uenced by Saul Steinber-
g an early 20th-century Romanian-born artist who served for American military intelligence, conveying messages in China. “Because his illustrative skills were up there in terms of being able to have a conversation with someone in a foreign language. I remember thinking how cool that was.”
Hugo White remembers their early days as running on “gut and instinct” – but they were nothing if not resourceful. When Mel Gibson was cast in the ill-
fated fi lm The Maccabees, the band used the newspaper headlines – “Mel wants to be a Maccabee” – on fl yers for their gigs. “We took it seriously,” insists White. “It was always, �It’s gonna be amazing when we play Brixton Academy’.”
The charismatic Weeks gives the impression of hidden depths but will admit only that he’s a “worrier”. He insists that nobody has died around the Maccabees but they did have a shock as to the transient nature of life when original drummer and childhood friend Robert Dylan Thomas entered rehab, and left the band.
“He wasn’t very well, and what we were doing wasn’t conducive to him staying well,” considers Weeks, more quietly than ever. “It was very amica-
ble and very sad.” White remembers feeling emotionally shattered: “We were 22 and drained.” But where Tho-
mas was “skinny, nimble and played at a million miles an hour”, actor-turned-
replacement Sam Doyle is “muscular and groove-based”. Through slowing down and becoming more refl ective , the unlikely lads had found their sound.
To celebrate how far they’ve come, we end the interview trekking up to Ally Pally, to get a taste of where they’ll play. On the way up the hill, Weeks admits that 2009’s Wall of Arms and Given to the Wild mark a growing ma-
turity and confi dence. “We all think, �We are the Maccabees,’” he explains, and the band clearly mean everything to him. “We don’t want anything to bear our name that isn’t right.”
White, however, has more practical concerns. Gazing around the palace’s stunning stained-glass windows and enormous spaces, the usually chatty guitarist suddenly looks overwhelmed: “Playing here is going to be really terrifying.”
The fi rst album Fulham fan White bought was Oasis’s (What’s The Story) Morning Glory ? – “Noel [Gallager] talked about how anyone can achieve anything they want and you don’t have to be super-intelligent. As a 16-year-
old, that’s incredibly powerful” – but these days prefers 80s atmospherics.
The quivering, engagingly fretful-
voiced Weeks is the biggest curveball, a public-school-educated art student who grew up more interested in David Attenborough’s naturalist broadcasts than music. Thoughtful and artistic – it was his idea to ask artist Boo Ritson and sculptor Andy Goldsworthy to do the band’s artwork – he insists he doesn’t feel like a frontman, and just happens to write most of the words and sing. At school, he was more drawn The Maccabees (left to right) … Felix White, Hugo White, Orlando Weeks, Sam Doyle and Rupert Jarvis
�We don’t
want anything to bear our name that isn’t right’
Went Away, the third single from Given to the Wild, is released on 28 May. The Maccabees play Alexandra Palace on 8 June.
12 The Guardian 18.05.12
oprano Lucy Crowe has foxes on the brain at the moment. “I saw a dead fox on the road the other day. I hope it’s not an omen, ” she says. Since she is about to open the Glynde-
bourne festival singing the title role in Janáˇc ek ’s anthropomorphic master-
piece, The Cunning Little Vixen, I hope she’s right too. But Crowe is not alone in her renardine obsessions. Soprano Emma Bell takes the part of the Fox, the Vixen’s lover, and she adds: “I just got a text from a friend telling me they saw a fox run across a fi eld and kill something. And there was that series about urban foxes on the telly . They’re everywhere .”
If you are lucky enough to get to Glyndebourne, wherever you look, you fi nd yourself in the middle of bucolic nature (with the possible exception of the gigantic, triffi d-like wind turbine that Gus Christie has had installed on a hill above his fam-
ily’s opera house). There’s the perfec-
tion of the rose garden, the tranquil-
lity of the lily-clad boating lake and the perambulating white clouds of the sheep in the fi elds. It seems like the perfect place for Janáˇc ek’s operatic fantasy, which brings to life a cast FOXY LADIES
With its cast of bloodthirsty foxes, lazy hens and mischievous frogs, The Cunning Little Vixen is a joy – and opens Glyndebourne this year. Tom Service talks to the director and stars of this new opera production
of not just foxes, but dragonfl ies, frogs and an assortment of woodland critters, as well as a parallel world of glum, repressed, fox-murdering humans. Director Melly Still – whose fi rst-ever opera three years ago was another Czech masterpiece, Dvor ák’s dark, watery fairytale Rusalka, also for Glyndebourne, even sees a con-
nection between the South Downs and Janáˇc ek’s home town of Hukvaldy in Moravia, another landscape of hills and forests and dales.
So much for the sentimental idyll. The reality of Janáˇc ek’s opera, fi rst heard in Brno in 1924, is a n unsenti-
mental realisation of the instinctive, amoral world of the cycles of nature and the curse of humanity’s conscious-
ness of its mortality, and it’s all set to music that is by turns joyful, violent, uplifting and joltingly surprising. But on the surface, this is a story with singing animals, so it ought, surely, to be a fairytale or at least a fable? Still is having none of it. “I don’t see it remotely as a fairy tale or even a folk tale. The animals are there to illuminate human behaviour. It’s a story of human emotions, of sorrow and struggle and resistance to death, seen through the symbolism of the Janáˇcek, who wrote the opera in his mid-60s
From left: Lucy Crowe as the Vixen, director Melly Still and Emma Bell as the Fox in rehearsal at Glyndebourne
18.05.12 The Guardian 13
d o n k a
Ci r c u s, ma g i c a n d mi s c h i e f
�A journey of visual and choreographic elegance and playful humour’ (Irish Times)
Book now 0844 847 9910
Written & directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca
Saturday 2 – Friday 8 June
Queen Elizabeth Hall
animals, and at the very end there’s some kind of reconciliation to the idea of our own deaths.”
Janáˇc ek was inspired to create the opera from the drawings by Stanislav Lolek of a vixen’s adventures in the forest that appeared in a local news-
paper, and the stories that Rudolf Tesnohlidek made from them. But the changes that Janáˇc ek made from this charming source material reveal what he was really trying to do. The biggest diff erence is that Janáˇc ek has his Vixen die at the hands of the poacher in the fi nal act. This death of the opera’s heroine is over in seconds , a couple of gun-shots and a few scant bars of musical memorial. It’s the opposite of emotional indul-
gence, and yet Crowe says that through Janáˇc ek’s music, “it’s as if you can sense her soul going back into the spirit of the forest. I think why it’s so short is that it’s saying: �Her soul’s gone now, but life goes on, nature goes on.’ There’s never any sentimentality in the music he writes for the Vixen, even in her love scene with the Fox.”
So who does Crowe think the Vixen is? Is she singing the part as a fox, as a human – or as something else? “Melly has asked us to put all our angst as a character into the big, bushy tails we have to wear, which is pretty challenging. The Vixen is very confi dent, but she’s got a real vulner-
ability to her. It’s not so much the music that’s diffi cult with this part, it’s the character. It’s showing that naivety as well as her assertiveness.” Ears wide open
This week our guide to the greatest contem-
porary composers focuses on Harrison Birtwistle. Log on and join the discussion
She cites the scene with the chickens in the fi rst act, in which the Vixen gives a satirical political seminar, but then, because she can’t stand the hens’ reactionary laziness, kills them all and their preening cock . “She’s quite a strong lady,” Crowe says. “But when it comes to love, she’s vulnerable. That’s why when she meets the Fox she’s so overwhelmed – it’s like her dreams have come true.”
That scene is the heart of the opera . It’s a typically compressed Janáˇc ek love scene in which the characters meet, fall in love, consummate their union and start a family, all in the space of about 15 minutes. “Yes, it doesn’t take very long for them to get down the hole,” as Bell says, “and it’s a pretty swift pregnancy!” There’s some powerful symbolism going on in this scene too, related to Janáˇc ek’s own life and his unrequited passion for a woman, Kamila Stösslová , who was 37 years his junior. Janáˇc ek , in his mid-
60s when he composed The Cunning Little Vixen, could live out in his opera what was impossible in real life. As Still says, “ Janáˇc ek fantasised that he was the Fox, and the Vixen his Kamila. They are like an ideal couple. Their love for each is instinctive and simple, unlike the Forester and his wife in the human world. He obviously once loved her, but there’s no love in their rela-
tionship now, and it’s only at the end that he remembers her fondly. But the Fox and the Vixen remain happy, even though they have had seven children!”
The opera’s fi nal brief scene reveals Members of Guardian Extra can save £70 on tickets to see La Cenerentola at Glyndebourne on Wednesday 23 May and Friday 1 June. The ticket price includes a programme . GLYNDEBOURNE
the Forester alone in the woods, remembering his life, his love of nature, and his wife. He sees a fox-cub, one of the Vixen’s daughters, and a frog, who, in a child’s voice, has the last words of the show, telling the Forester that his grandpa “told me about you!” It reduces Crowe to tears each time she hears it. “I was trying to work out why . It’s Janáˇc ek questioning his own mortal-
ity, and it’s really because – because we’re all going to die.” The circle of life , as Sir Tim Rice might have put it. “It’s even more moving for me since I had a baby fi ve months ago. That changes everything. In my scenes with the fox cubs I just feel that I know how to react as a mother rather than pretending to be one.” She tells us to look out for a little fox cub at the interval, as Glyndebourne has made a miniature cub-costume for her daugh-
ter, Elsie. But Crowe isn’t sentimental about the natural world of instinct that her Vixen inhabits. “My dad told me once that he drove past a crow eating a baby rabbit that hadn’t quite died, and I was like, �You should have saved the rabbit!’ But that’s just life . It’s brutal to us, but it’s not in the animal kingdom.” Instinctive, immediate, tender and brutal, too: Janáˇc ek’s opera is a force of nature in its own right.
The Guardian is streaming six operas from Glyndebourne this summer, beginning with The Cunning Little Vixen on 10 June. The opera will be available to view on demand for a further two weeks
Purcell’s Fairy Queen, to be streamed from Glyndebourne on 22 July
18.05.12 The Guardian 15
Film Pop Jazz Classical Games Television
Even the Rain Page 21 Eve
n Wherever I Go
Karima Francis
It’s been a slow-
burning route to success for the Cate Blanchett-playing-
Bob-Dylan lookalike, but on this basis she has the chops for it.
A Man Needs a Maid (live)
Rumer Intense cover of the very 70s Neil Young song, taken from (the deluxe version of) Rumer’s upcoming album of covers.
Azealia Banks
The Harlem rapper’s latest, produced by Hudson Mohawke and featuring steel drums and the invitation to go “briefi ng in cabanas”.
Not so much for the tune but its accompanying video, featuring some pop theorising and an engaging musical tutorial. Bustin’ Loose
Chuck Brown
A stone cold classic (as subsequently sampled by Nelly on Hot in Herre) from godfather of go-go Chuck Brown, who died this week.
The F&M Playlist
The verdict on LA duo Best Coast’s The Only Place, page 24
SHORT ON SUNSHINE 16 The Guardian 18.05.12
Reviews Film
By Peter Bradshaw
The Raid
Director: Gareth Evans. With: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim. 101min. Cert: 18 It was in a delicate, almost feathery mood that I sat down to watch this fi lm: apparently set in Indonesia, probably an evanescent arthouse piece, and called, The Rain, was it … ? Perhaps it would soothe my working London commuter’s cares like a cup of elusively scented herbal tea. Perhaps there would be unhurried shots of treetops languidly disturbed by evening breezes, of skies on which mysterious cloudshapes would be inscribed, lakes whose surfaces would be disturbed by whorls from the titular rainfall. In the evening, perhaps there would be enigmatic silences between gentle characters accompanied by the plinkety-plunkety-plink of wind-chimes and later a full and plangent moon.
Actually, no. The Raid is a skull- splinteringly violent, uncompromisingly intense and simply brilliant martial arts action movie in a nightmarish and claustrophobic setting. It has something of Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs or John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 and Escape from New York, along with the icy ruthlessness of Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Aff airs. There’s also a reminder of the desperate fi ght scenes from Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy. Occasionally, prior to killing or dismembering someone, a combatant will run up a wall and fl ip over backwards, surreally like Donald O’Connor. The leading man is Iko Uwais – who is basically the Carlos Acosta of Indonesian martial arts – and it is directed by the Welsh fi lm-maker Gareth Huw Evans, who keeps a 10-tonne weight positioned on the accelerator.
It is sublimely, in fact heroically simple in its desire to deliver gasp-
inducingly athletic action setpieces at all times, and the stunts and fi ght moves are stunning. There are times when the drum-roll of automatic fi re is so deafeningly continuous it sounds like the fi zz of white noise from a mistuned TV. In Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee famously says: “We need emotional content, not anger.” But frankly there seems to be an awful lot of anger here, and I can’t believe that the fi lming ended without some pretty serious hospitalisation for everyone concerned . There really aren’t many fi lms that will have you holding clenched fi sts to the corners of your mouth over an hour and a half. I was forever bleating the two clipped monosyllables of shock: “Ohhhsh … ” and “Ohhhhf … ”
Uwais is Rama, a young rookie in a highly armed paramilitary special forces unit in Jakarta. On one grim day, he fi nds himself with his comrades in the back of an unmarked van, hurtling through the streets at dawn towards the nastiest part of town. In their black, bulletproof vests and black helmets, the team are disconcerted to be getting their briefi ng here, in the vehicle, rather than back at base: they are to launch a raid on a 15-storey building whose top fl oor is a drugs factory run by sinister crime lord Tama (Ray Sahetaphy). Tama has turned the building into a virtual gated community for every serious criminal in town, and he is protected by a scary martial-arts hombre nicknamed Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian). The briefi ng is secret because the raid is secret; Rama and the team discover, chillingly, they are on their own, without offi cial backup, forced to fi ght their way up the building, fl oor by fl oor, corridor by corridor, against fanatical and highly armed criminals. There is just one hope: that the enemy is addicted to the thrill of unarmed combat, and will lay down their assault rifl es and meet Rama with bare hands, on equal terms.
The building itself appears to exist in a sort of expressionist-realist universe: the exterior looks like a digital creation, and the interiors, with their endless shabby corridors, are like a bad dream. It looks like a haunted hotel in a novel by Stephen King. The cops have rifl es; the bad guys have all manner of weapons, including knives and machetes – everything, it seems, short of the “little friend” of Al Pacino’s Scarface.
The Raid does not detain the audience with expositions of character; despite the plot reversals there is no pretence at subtlety or depth, and the comparison with Tarantino does not run to tricksy fl ashbacks or point-of-view shifts. The action runs at hair-raising speed on one single rail from A to B. It is not for everyone and the mayhem is pretty hard to take, but the brilliance of its choreography can hardly be denied, and as fi lm-making it’s fl uent and muscular and uninhibited to say the least, the element of absurdity held in deadpan check: this is a superb pulp shocker made with passion and fl air. The action genre has been left too long to lumbering beefcakes like Stallone and Lundgren; meld-
ing it with martial arts has given it fresh life here, and Iko Uwais is a new star. Those cinephiles who have taught themselves not to turn up their noses at westerns may wish to think on the same lines about action. The Raid is completely deranged – and completely superb.
This violent, intense and brilliant bulletfest from Indonesia puts western action movies to shame
The art of the martial
... an eggcup-sized glass of rosГ© on the Croisette
A star is born … Iko Uwais in The Raid
18.05.12 The Guardian 17
contrived gags and a colossal central turn from the man himself. Baron Cohen’s Dictator is set to make Peter Sellers’s Inspector Clouseau a model of subtlety and sensitivity. The movie is in the fi sh-out-of-water tradition of Coming to America and many others. It doesn’t, in truth, off er much of a twist on the genre. It does, how-
ever, deliver laughs and weapons-
grade off ensiveness.
Baron Cohen plays General Aladeen, the bizarre ruler of the oil-rich north African rogue state Wadiya: he is a satirical version of the Saddams and Gaddafi s, those tinpot tyrants whose natural cruelty and vanity was nurtured by the west – maintained as allies to keep other states in line, or repurposed as bogeymen to be defeated when the need arose. A confrontation with Washington looms after the General announces Wadiya was just months away from enriching uranium, and corpses and giggles uncontrollably when trying to claim this was for “clean energy purposes”.
American off ensive
Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest is a fi rework display of bad taste
The Dictator
Director: Larry Charles. With: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Anna Faris. 83min. Cert: 15 After his live-ammo situationist spoofs Borat and Brüno, Sacha Baron Cohen has returned to straight fi ction-features with his broad comedy satire The Dictator. This is not, repeat not, a cinephile homage to Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. It is less edgy than Baron Cohen’s previous two fi lms, featuring big, conventionally An invasion threat from the US forces him to make a state visit to New York to explain himself to the UN, and like Borat before him, Aladeen fi nds himself stunned in various ways by the strange and exotic world of New York City hotels. Yet when a duplicitous relative, played by Ben Kingsley, turns out to have a treasonous plan in mind, the General fi nds himself anonymous and penniless on the Manhattan streets and becomes dependent on the charity of a feminist vegetarian cafe manager, played by Anna Faris, who comes to his rescue like Jamie Lee Curtis with Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places.
Subtle it isn’t. The satirical content is lower than in Borat, apart from one Michael-Mooreish speech in which Aladeen begs America to become a dictatorship. Basically this is a fi rework-display of bad taste, and I was often reminded of the cheerfully reprehensible Kentucky Fried Movie in the 70s, a fi lm unashamedly low in nutritional value. But it was very funny, and so is this. The Dictator isn’t going to win awards and it isn’t as hip as Borat. Big, goofy, outrageous laughs are what it has to off er.
water tradition … Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator
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18 The Guardian 18.05.12
Reviews Film
She Monkeys
Director: Lisa Aschan. With: Mathilda Paradeiser, Linda Molin. 83min. Cert: 12A A fi lm about teenage Swedish lesbians will always appeal to, ahem, a specialist demographic, but I doubt anyone will get especially hot under the collar from this tremulous, pained study of awkward emotions. Mathilda Paradeiser plays poker-faced Emma, who joins a horseback-acrobatics class and there meets the more apparently popular Cassandra; an instant connection is formed. Ambiguous and clenched, Emma struggles to respond to Cassandra’s enthusiastic overtures. A counterpoint is off ered via her little sister’s unashamed passion for their older (male) cousin. It suff ers a little from its resolute avoidance of titillation – a little more passion would not have gone amiss – but it’s a worthwhile eff ort nonetheless. Andrew Pulver The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger. With: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook. 163min. Cert: U
This exotic English romance of 1943, by Powell and Pressburger, has been reissued, and each time it gets more fascinating and moving. Taking as their starting point David Low’s cartoon character, the fi lm-makers created General Clive Wynne-Candy, superbly played by the husky-voiced Roger Livesey. As we join the story in 1943, he appears to be nothing more than a pop-eyed, reactionary buff er. But the movie takes us back in time to show how the old grump was once a young blade, a dashing offi cer of frank and good-natured simplicity who won a VC during the Boer war. His life was changed by an intense and ennobling friendship with a German army offi cer, Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff , played by the incomparably elegant Anton Walbrook. Candy is also entranced with an ideal embodiment of woman, played in three incarnations and three generations by Deborah Kerr – and this is 15 years before Hitchcock’s Vertigo. There is something quietly amazing in the tense, sad encounter between Clive and Theo in the British POW camp in 1918, as well as more than 20 years later in Theo’s extraordinary closeup monologue about his disgust with Nazifi ed Germany. Churchill wanted From Moonrise Kingdom to Cosmopolis
Read Peter Bradshaw’s daily fi lm reviews in our extensive Cannes coverage
18.05.12 The Guardian 19
the movie banned ; remarkably, some of it is about wartime censorship. This glorious п¬Ѓ lm is about the greatest mystery of all: how old people were once young, and how young people are in the process of becoming old. PB
Iron Sky
Director: Timo Vuorensola. With: Julia Dietze, Udo Kier, Christopher Kirby. 93min. Cert: 15
Nothing about this Finnish-derived space oddity, opening (and closing) next Wednesday, quite matches the genius of its tagline : “In 1945, Nazis went to the moon; in 2018, they’re coming back”. Timo Vuorensola’s fi lm uses its B-movie plot – an American lunar mission stumbles across a swastika-shaped HQ near the Sea of Tranquility, causing its inhabitants to launch a renewed counter-off ensive on Earth – as a pretext for silly gags. Some are satirical (the Party has used the hiatus to rebrand themselves as caring, sharing oppressors), some are old-hat, a la “Don’t Nazis have preposterous- sounding military ranks?” High on energy, bluescreen and careless acting , it’s marginally more inspired and certainly more likable than Snakes on a Plane or The Human Centipede as net-spawned exploitation fodder goes, but you can safely wait for the DVD. It’s out a week on Monday. Mike McCahill Klitschko
Director: Sebastian Dehnhardt. 117min. Cert: 12A
An entertaining and enlightening documentary about the Ukranian brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, who between them currently dominate the world heavyweight boxing division, holding four out of the fi ve available belts. It’s relentlessly celebratory, with the alternating adversity and triumph you would expect from a conventional boxing story. This one gains a piquant fl avour, though, from the Klitschkos’ upbringing in a Soviet-era Ukraine: their father, an air force offi cer, was one of the fi rst into Chernobyl after the reactor explosion, and the brothers speak amusingly of their terror during their fi rst visit to the US. Perhaps more could have been made of the older Klitschko’s move into Ukranian politics, now such a hot potato – but that might be asking a bit much. AP The Source
Director: Radu Mihaileanu. With: Leïla Bekhti, Hafsia Herzi. 135min. Cert: 15 This populist parable draws intriguing battle lines between the sexes, but then forgets what it was supposed to be fi ghting about. The setting is a generic Arab village where since time immemorial women have gone up the mountain to fetch water from the spring, while their menfolk laze about. So, led by the spirited Leila (Bekhti), the women call a “love ve
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Director: R
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Jeff Who Lives at Home
Likable, laidback quasi-stoner comedy, with Jason Segel
Dark Shadows
Quirky goth-lite from Tim Burton and Johnny Depp
Goethe revisited by Alexander Sokurov, disquieting and fear-п¬Ѓ lled
Tremulous and pained … She Monkeys; (below) Iron Sky
20 The Guardian 18.05.12
Reviews Film
strike” until the men pull their fi n-
gers out, so to speak. It could have been a neat, well-aimed satire – the Arab Spring’s Made in Dagenham – but myriad subplots dissipate the energy and comedy, until we’re left with an ear-
nest, overextended village soap opera. We do at least get some sense of real-life rural inequality – the women invari-
ably do manual labour as they scheme against their idle husbands – and there’s some enjoyable interplay between a dream cast of Arab actors. But it feels like a wasted opportunity. Steve Rose 2 Days in New York
Director: Julie Delpy. With: Chris Rock, Julie Delpy, Albert Delpy. 96min. Cert: 15
Julie Delpy’s alter ego Marion deserves her own sitcom. She’s a lovable mess of neurotic babble, intellectual uncertainty and unmanageable lies, and after 2007’s 2 Days in Paris, it’s great stuff of Hollywood cliche, but Delpy whisks it all into a delightfully eccentric comedy, here, big on laughs, low on pretense, exaggerated but emotionally sincere – not least in Delpy’s dealing with the death of her mother (in real life as well as in the movie). We’ve rarely seen comedy this smart since Woody Allen and Seinfeld left New York. SR If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle
Director: Florin Serban. With: George Pistereanu, Ada Condeescu. 94min. Cert: 15 This punchy, economical Romanian drama establishes a strong sense of place (a young off enders’ institute in the countryside) before gradually coming to describe the trouble its protagonist, Silviu (George Pistereanu) – a hothead with two weeks remaining on his sentence – fi nds himself in. The close-knit, Dardennes-like approach, hewing squarely to Silviu’s shoulders, to see her again. She’s now shacked up in Manhattan with her new partner, played by Chris Rock; each have a child from a previous relationship. But Rock is in for a shock: crashing in like an anarchic French circus come Marion’s childish father ( Delpy’s real-life father, Albert), her bickering sister and her casually racist ex-boyfriend (who’s now dating her sister), all of whom we met in the fi rst movie. Family relations and cross-cultural mishaps might be the Delightfully eccentric … 2 Days in New York; (right) Even the Rain
18.05.12 The Guardian 21
catches the boy’s growing isolation from his fellow inmates as well as the world beyond the gates. It also prompts a simmering performance from Pistereanu, forced to prove himself amid an ensemble of actual young of-
fenders whose roughhousing looks and sounds very much the real thing. The standoff that results, as Silviu fi nally decides to grab what he wants in life, proves as despairing as it is tense. Not for the fi rst time, a Romanian fi lm shows us an individual fl oundering within a system from which there can be no easy escape. Mike McCahill
Even the Rain
Director: Icíar Bollaín. With: Luis Tosar, Gael García Bernal. 103min. Cert: 15 With Ken Loach’s The Angels’ Share bound for Cannes , here’s a timely reminder of the fi lm-maker’s considerable infl uence. Regular Loach screenwriter Paul Laverty and director Icíar Bollaín (who acted in Land and Freedom) have constructed a smart, socially aware fable about a Spanish fi lm crew – headed by Gael García Bernal as a kind of heartthrob Herzog – who arrive in Bolivia to shoot an epic about Columbus’s entry into the New World, only to start blindly perpetuating the exploitation their own project seeks to denounce. As production gradually unravels amid protests over the privatisation of the region’s water supply, some tense, pointed action ensues. Bollaín cranes her camera to highlight the real-world injustices developing beyond the on-location ego trips. There are striking performances from Luis Tosar as a cynical yet fl exible producer and Juan Carlos Aduviri as the native who becomes a fi gurehead for those who don’t have the luxury of playacting. MM Watch our daily Guardian Film Show direct from Cannes Join Xan Brooks and Peter Bradshaw with the bloggers and the blaggers on the Croisette
r o
22 The Guardian 18.05.12
Reviews Rock & Pop
By Alexis Petridis
The Temper Trap
The Temper Trap
During last summer’s riots, voices were heard suggesting the ongoing events might perversely be good for music. Violence, disenfranchisement, nihilism and generational disconnection: here were topics rock and pop has proved adept at exploring – even illuminating – in the past, the very conditions that gave us protest rock , punk and Public Enemy . Commentators openly dared to propose that the long-a wol spirit of the Clash’s White Riot or the Specials’ Ghost Town might once more be abroad. They might have wished it a little bit quieter had they known that the riots would inspire material not just from rapper Plan B , but Australian post-
Coldplay soft-rockers the Temper Trap , too, as evidenced by the presence on their eponymous second album of a track called London’s Burning. If you’re after a historical comparison, imagine if the privations of Thatcherism had not merely motivated the Specials to write Ghost Town but Air Supply had come up with a little something as well. Actually, you could argue the Temper Trap are uniquely placed to write about the riots. They relocated from Melbourne to London in 2009, in hope of replicating their multi-platinum Australian success in Europe. Perhaps they could bring the keen perception of the resident alien to bear on events. Or perhaps not: on their debut album, Conditions, their lyrics tended towards windy portentiousness, so fl orid in its execution you felt like begging their pardon every other line. “When the sun goes down into another night’s arms, we’re babies in a scavenger’s glimpse,” wailed vocalist Dougy Mandagi at one point: whatever that was supposed to mean, it was a state of aff airs so discombobulating it caused him to turn into a gospel singer: “Lord, I’mma lose my way here.” Alas, its follow-up’s open er, Need Your Love , suggests global success – Conditions and the single Sweet Disposition hit big everywhere from Japan to the US – has done little to curb their taste for metaphors: 20 seconds into the album, the silhouettes behind the dust clouds are calling Mandagi “friend”. London’s Burning itself is so blustery it’s a miracle the Met Offi ce hasn’t put out a severe weather warn-
ing. “Heavy is the hand pressing down again and again … Will tomorrow come for the man stuck in the line?” it opens, later beseeching: “Who’s the one to blame when the children go obscene, dancing on their broken dreams?” The sense of a band who felt impelled to write about the riots without fi rst checking whether or not they had anything to say about the riots is hard to miss, which might be the Temper Trap’s failing in a nutshell. If you were searching for a reason why Conditions was singled out from the massed ranks of Coldplay-infl uenced would-be stadium-packers, you could suggest it had a certain lightness of touch. Its follow -up, on the other hand, goes for commercial broke: it’s music that sees itself as a kind of mass public address, with all the attendant problems of self-
importance and heavy-handedness. Before, Mandagi’s vocals bore compari-
son to Jeff Buckley ; even when he was singing some old cobblers about being a baby in a scavenger’s glimpse, at least he sang it beautifully. Here, his voice is declamatory and stentorian, big on what you might call emo-whoah-hoah-
ing. It’s a voice that speaks of pained facial expressions and meaningful hand gestures and hair billowing in wind machines. Behind it, standard- issue eff ects-laden guitar and pounding drums are augmented with electronics that patter Kid A-ishly on Miracle, but mostly off er big gusts of synthesiser. For all Mandagi’s pained sincerity – and he makes Chris Martin sound like a smirking ironist doing inverted com-
mas with his fi ngers every other line – it all sounds weirdly hollow: music as a means to an end. It’s actually at its best when it abandons its pretentions to high seriousness and aims for the pop jugular. Where Do We Go from Here? sounds not unlike Erasure and has a decent chorus; the absence of the latter elsewhere is striking. There’s nothing to match Sweet Disposition, which got its hooks into you whether you wanted it to or not: a problem for a band who rose not via press hype or radio play but by licensing tracks to TV shows , video games and ads for everything from Diet Coke to Center Parcs to the Mongolian Playtime 2010 rock festival, confi dent that their back-
ground music would pique people’s interest enough to Shazam it. And that, rather than its terrible lyrics or derivative sound or rotten song about the riots, might be The Temper Trap’s downfall: for all their grandstanding ambition, they’re too easy to ignore.
The Temper Trap weigh in on the London riots via the kind of windy cliches that would make Coldplay wince
A serious mistake
Poppy and the Jezebels – Sign in Dream On Drop Out (Richard X meets Larry Least mix)
This is fantastic: Birmingham’s teenage guitar queens reborn as electronic power poppers
THIS WEEK ALEXIS LISTENED TO Weirdly hollow … the Temper Trap
18.05.12 The Guardian 23
Funereal gloom …
Cold Specks
Off !
Off !
With a CV that includes Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Red Kross, it would take a bold (and rather uncharitable) man to dismiss Off ! as the result of the mid-life crises of some ageing punks. Since their formation in 2009, a fl urry of exhilarating EPs have cemented their position as arguably the best “heritage hardcore” band around. However, this fi rst (and apparently fi nal) album fi nds the old guard asleep at the switch. While short, sharp shocks such as I Got News for You and Borrow and Bomb have 80s California hardcore stamped into their DNA, elsewhere Keith Morris’s vocals lack their usual spark, and the gluey pro-
duction weighs the songs down. Even with a brisk run-through of 16 tracks in just over 15 minutes, what should sound like a sprint comes across as a leisurely jog. But it’s not as if they’re the fi rst hardcore band to stumble when it comes to recording an album after a glut of great singles. If anything, it’s in keeping with a rich tradition of the genre. Jamie Thomson Gaz Coombes Presents
Here Come the Bombs
No matter how far Gaz Coombes has travelled from the days when no festival bill was complete without Supergrass chirping out Alright , he can’t escape his gift for writing songs with hooks you can hang a coat on. His debut solo album is packed with them, starting with Bombs, which links one of his wooziest, prettiest melodies to a lyric that gets inside the “mind” of a bomb as it falls to earth: “What a lonely view as I tear away, breaking sound, speeding down.” You get the feeling, from the electronic curl-
icues, guitar-distortion and gut-
tural dance beats that crop up throughout the album, that Coombes would have loved to Smoke Fairies
Blood Speaks
There is a surprising muscularity to Smoke Fairies’ music: unexpected not only because their name conjures up less corporeal images, but because there is a ladylike, almost prissy ele-
gance to Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire’s voices that could sit so easily with soft acoustic guitars. Brought up in Sussex, they’ve spent much of the past decade living in and travelling across the US, and you can hear it in the rebarbative blues that pulses through their best songs. Blood Speaks, their second album, kicks off with an insistent bass throb and angular drumming; Daylight melds trenchant piano to crackling electric guitar; while the wary violin notes slicing beneath Feel It Coming Near suggest a brewing storm which quickly breaks in crashing, thunderous chords. Elsewhere, though, the duo allow their earnestness too much sway, making for deadening solemnity. “Blood is speaking and mind is sleeping,” they Tom Jones
Spirit in the Room
Full marks for nerve to Tom Jones for opening his second successive album of stripped-down gravitas rock with Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song , transformed from hotel-bar funk into a fi nger-picked country blues. Cohen’s version is a mordant, blackly comic meditation, but Jones can’t play lines about “born with the gift of a golden voice” for laughs and so he turns it, unexpectedly and triumphantly, into a eulogy for a life in music. It’s also the highlight of this collection mixing covers of rock-aristo songwriters, a couple of well-regarded cults and a sprinkling of blues, soul and gospel. It’s never as rollicking as 2010’s Praise and Blame , though a version of Tom Waits’ Bad As Me will sound agreeably demented to anyone who’s never heard the original . Odetta’s Hit or Miss answers its own question, sadly, in its transition to country-pop. Most intriguing of all is the closing version of the Low Anthem’s spectral Charlie Darwin , into which a full choir is inserted, as if to compensate in big dollops for the fact that doing “spectral” has never been among Jones’s noted virtues. Michael Hann
Cold Specks
I Predict a Graceful Expulsion
When Al Spx , who is Cold Specks, fi rst appeared on Jools Holland last year , it was with an acoustic performance that suggested she might be striving for bluesy authenticity, in a scratchy, Alan Lomax sort of way. Her debut album, however, is surprising in its richness : there are strings and choral vocals aplenty, giving much of it the weightiness of hymns. No doubt this is deliberate. Religious allusions shoot through the album, most carrying a feeling of funereal gloom. Even the doggedness of Blank Maps’ refrain – “I am, I am a goddamn believer” – sounds uncertain and desperate rather than defi ant. The combination of Spx’s arresting voice, which sounds like it could have been recorded at any point during the last 100 years, and these grave subjects and arrangements is rousing and beautiful, at times. Holland and Winter Solstice are particularly fi ne. But it is also very much fi xed in one place, and at one pace, and doesn’t quite reach the consistent transcend-
ence it aspires to. Rebecca Nicholson F
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chant in the title track – and the album could do with more of that abandon. Maddy Costa Standing At the Sky’s Edge
Richard Hawley
Songs about taking your kids kite-fl ying, and more! We’ll Be The Moon
A bit Beach Boys, a bit psychedelic, but from Oxford
Words and Music
St Etienne
An extended love letter to pop magic
24 The Guardian 18.05.12
Various Artists
Beginner’s Guide to Flamenco
����� This is an intriguing three-album set with a misleading title. “Beginner’s Guide” suggests a history lesson on the great Spanish style that has enjoyed such a dramatic revival over the past 40 years. But the greatest musicians of the fl amenco revival are not included – although there is one track from Gypsy guitarist Tomatito, who played with legendary singer Camarón de la Isla, and there’s fl ute from Jorge Pardo, who worked with Paco de Lucia. Instead, the set’s compiler Jan Fairley concentrates on showing just how varied the style has become. Rapid-fi re guitar fl urries, hand-claps and passionate vocals are of course included, but many of the best tracks are fusion pieces, ranging from the collaboration of guitarist Pepe Habichuela with Indian Bollywood strings through to the fl amenco- African fusion of Ketama ( featuring kora star Toumani Diabaté), and the Cuban infl uenced fl amenco playing of Son de la Frontera. Then there’s the Egyptian accordion fl amenco of Ali Khattab, and the piano work of Diego Amador. There’s great music here, and more extensive sleevenotes would have been welcome. RD Mawkin
When Mawkin:Causley released The Awkward Recruit three years ago, it Best Coast
The Only Place
A bear cuddles a map of California on the cover of Best Coast’s second album, that being the “Only Place” that the LA duo celebrate inside it. This concept is a move forward, they claim, from 2010 debut Crazy for You, which impressed with its songs about valley-girl ennui and a low-slung, sunstruck pop sound readymade for indie fi lms. This time round, producer Jon Brion (Kanye West, Fiona Apple) turns up the brightness, and the lo-fi edge that recalled 90s bands such as the Breeders and Hole disappears. It doesn’t always matter: Dreaming My Life Away, with its tinkling vibraphones, and ballad No One Like You are both dreamily lovely, the latter asking, painfully, “if I sleep on the fl oor, will you love more?” Elsewhere, the tunes sag rather than sing, and Bethany Constantino’s lyrics about being bored and lazy become cloudily familiar. This state needs more sunshine. Jude Rogers Soulsavers
The Light the Dead See
Dave Gahan was a deep personal well of darkness: six minutes spent clinically dead following a n over-
dose in 1996; a cancerous tumour in 2009. He draws on it exten-
Reviews Rock, pop, folk and world
ditch the choruses and devote the en-
tire record to off -piste experimenting (the six-minute Universal Cinema, which begins acoustically and gradually cranks up the distortion, shows a musi-
cal mindset no longer informed by chart positions). But even as he thrashes and fulminates (“Everybody is a whore in a world that’s sold out” is his sour take on things in Whore), he can’t keep the gorgeous melodies at bay. Caroline Sullivan Magnifi cent … Soulsavers
sively here. British duo Soulsavers have form in this area – their last collabora-
tion was with the similarly troubled Mark Lanegan – and they have coaxed the Depeche Mode singer into a stream of sincere, superbly sung confessionals. As he bleakly puts it at one point: “There’s no confusion, only black. No questions to ask, like �Am I coming back?’” The turbulent Take’s “There’s a price that you pay for these games that you play with the Devil” is another killer line. The songs themselves are widescreen epics somewhere between Johnny Cash’s American Recordings, U2 circa One and Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti-western soundtracks, var-
iably adding acoustic guitar, strings, organ, horns and female backing vo-
cals. There’s tenderness, too, but Ga-
han’s brooding power is central to pos-
sibly his best work since Depeche’s 1990 Violator: magnifi cent songs about demons and failings, morality and mortality, regret, faith and devo-
tion. Dave Simpson seemed they were destined to become major folk celebrities. Here, after all was an impressive group of young instrumentalists who had joined forces with Jim Causley, who could have been in a boy band if he wasn’t such a fi ne traditional singer. But it didn’t quite work out. Causley left, leaving Mawkin in urgent need of strong vocals. Most of the tracks here are instrumentals, with Dave Delarre showing off his classical guitar and mandolin work on dance tunes such as Rannalla, and electric guitar on the elegant Easter Thursday, with classy violin and melodeon backing provided by his brother James and newcomer Nick Cooke. But Dave is less successful as a singer, as shown by his revival of the early Kinks song Harry Rag, so thank-
fully there are special guests to help out. The best tracks feature vocals from Steve Knightley, on his own song It’s All Quiet, Eliza Carthy, with an exquisite, gently theatrical and soulful treatment of Bad Girls Lament, and Jim Causley, who rejoins his old band mates for the sturdy fi nal track, Bellringers. Robin Denselow Exclusive video
Watch Damon Albarn performing songs from Dr Dee in the Guardian studio
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18.05.12 The Guardian 25
Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, etc
Andreas Staier
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It’s safe to predict that very few people who hear this extraordinary performance of the greatest of all sets of variations for piano will have heard one quite like it before. Andreas Staier bases his performance on the autograph manuscript of the Diabelli Variations, which only became accessible when it was acquired by the Beethoven House in Bonn three years ago, and he plays it on a copy of a Conrad Graf instrument from Beethoven’s time, one which includes the extra novelty features that were so popular with amateur pianists then. There’s the “moderator” pedal, which mutes the sound, a bassoon stop which provides a reedy buzz, and the janissary stop, intended to imitate the percussion of the “Turkish music” so popular around the turn of the 19th century. Staier uses those extra tone colours discreetly, but also with huge imagination, producing an unearthly, almost mystical eff ect in the 20th variation, or underlining the successive parodies of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and a Czerny study in the 22nd and 23rd. Yet his performance is about much more than special eff ects. Staier’s variations of touch and tone and the nuances of his pedalling would be remarkable on a modern concert grand, let alone such an early instrument, while he is always alert to the ways in which he can articulate and alter the pacing of what can seem a forbidding span of music. Some variations are separated by exaggerated pauses, while others run seamlessly into the next, while repeats are often subtlely varied. The result is the best kind of historically informed performance, one that makes you listen to a familiar work with fresh ears.
Staier’s interventions aren’t confi ned to Beethoven’s work. He precedes it with 12 of the other variations on his waltz that the publisher Anton Diabelli commissioned from composers of the time. Most of them are undistinguished, but two stand out – a bravura treatment by the 13-year-old Liszt, and a touchingly simple one by Schubert. Staier links them to Beethoven’s monumental set with a contribution of his own, a three-minute improvised introduction of the kind that early-19th-century pianists would have been expected to serve up as a matter of course. Andrew Clements Feldman: Patterns in a Chromatic Field; Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello
Tilbury/Smith Quartet
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At the 2006 Huddersfi eld contemporary music festival, pianist John Tilbury and the members of the Smith Quartet gave a remarkable series of 10 recitals that included all of Morton Feldman’s works for piano and strings. A disc of Feldman’s For John Cage, and Piano and String Quartet, taken from those concerts, appeared two years ago , and this second instalment pairs the cello-
and-piano Patterns in a Chromatic Field of 1981 with Feldman’s last completed work, the 1987 Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello. The two recordings are strikingly diff erent: the surface of Patterns in a Chromatic Field is much less smoothly contoured than usual for late Feldman, the gestures more irregular, the dissonances more astringent, but like Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, in which the smallest changes of emphasis or pitch become seismic events, it demands enormous concentration on the part of the performers over such timespans. The performance of Patterns by Deidre Cooper and Tilbury is wonderfully dedicated, while Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello seems just as compelling on disc as it was trio VD Maze NAIM EDGE �����
This successor to caustic Leeds improv group trio VD’s 2009 album Fill It Up with Ghosts retains their frantic hit-
and-run staccato structures, farmyard squealings, howling distortion, and pithily short track-lengths . But, now deploying a lot more hardware , they’ve made the textures thicker, the extremes scarier and the soundscape more diverse. The opening Brick features battering, arrhythmic drumming and chicken-clucking sax, but ends on a cinematically soaring theme . Crying-baby sounds and twangy synths invade the skittery improv of Ups, while Morse joins morse-code signals to background chatter in French . DBST – with its tramping, heavy-metal vibe and surging melody – and the hypnotically racing, roaringly headbanging Pet Shop Boys show exactly why this fearlessly independent band reaches audiences that purer jazz distillations rarely do. John Fordham Lynne Arriale
����� With this solo set of seven originals, two Thelonious Monk themes and three standards, Lynne Arriale, a former classical pianist from Milwaukee, has taken a long-postponed plunge into unaccompanied performance. Arriale isn’t an edgy artist, and she isn’t as cannily slow-burning as Brad Mehldau or as virtuosically soulful as Keith Jarrett – but her relationship with a piano has much of the late Bill Evans’s quietly passionate devotion. The Chick Corea-like opener La Noche nudges a soft sway with an audacious fl exibility of pulse, and the slow-rolling ballad The Dove is like an off handedly entranced Abdullah Ibrahim. For the Monk tunes Evidence and Bye-Ya she imparts the rhythmic shapes to a series of riff s but hides the melodies, and What Is This Thing Called Love threads elegant improv through punchy chordwork. The accents in Arialle’s swing don’t always sound nailed – the sumptuously rippling ballad is her real forte, as the tracks Arise, Dance and the swelling Will o’ the Wisp confi rm here – but her harmonic and melodic resources have rarely sounded in more inventive fettle. JF Reviews Classical and jazz
Quietly passionate devotion … Lynne Arriale (above); Andreas Staier (below)
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On the web
Read Tom Service’s guide to contemporary classical music, and more reviews
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18.05.12 The Guardian 27
Reviews Games
f the Colin McRae rally games can be called a family, then off shoot DiRT Showdown (PS3/Xbox 360/PC) is the rebellious, hedonistic younger cousin. The McRae family trade is a mostly sombre business. Since the start of the franchise – now rebranded DiRT – 12 years ago, Showdown’s ancestors have been serious driving simulators full of slammed clutches, tight corners and expertly timed handbrakes. In the earliest instalments, in particular, the series was clearly courting players who fancied themselves as decent real-world rally drivers. The sort of gamer who, when-
ever a professional driver gets injured, half-believes they’ll get a phone call from a national coach pleading, “We need you. We know you’ve never driven a real car but dammit, John, you’re the best guy we’ve got.” The archetypal player of the early games owned a plug-in steering wheel, brake pedals and a special chair with built-in speakers, and there was almost cer-
tainly at least one guy, somewhere, who played in a life-size papier-mache rally car that took up half of his fl at.
Showdown, by contrast, makes a clean break from the stuff y realism of its forebears. The typical Showdown player picked up their video-game driving licence in a Mario Kart, with Crash Bandicoot as their instructor, and still only scraped a pass on their fi fth time taking the test. This is pure arcade racing .
Which means, of course, a boost button, spectacular crashes and plenty of diff erent game modes. It’s a mark of how far the franchise has strayed from its mud-stained roots that even the tracks in the conven-
tional racing mode are littered with ramps and obstacles to crash through, while corners, on the other hand, are few and far between, and tend to be gentle and forgiving. Even a relative newbie should be able to make it from start to fi nish without bouncing off the side-walls like a buff ered bowling ball. And, as if it hadn’t been made easy enough, on the rare occasion a player does mess up a turn, a single button rewinds time to let them give it another shot, a move they can use up to fi ve times in a single race.
Rewinding time is not an option in “rampage mode”, however, which hurls eight cars into a walled arena to smash each other apart for three minutes, with points awarded for shunting, slamming and ramming into fellow drivers. This turns out to be much harder than it fi rst appears, since all seven other cars are aiming to do the same. Many play-
ers will fi nd they spend half their time charging across the arena at another vehicle like a lunatic, only to shoot headlong into a wall . Which is not to say such near-misses aren’t a helluva lot of fun, just that they undermine the “rampage” label a little. On the other hand “confused maniacs mode” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
Nor, for that matter, does “Hoonigan” mode, the new name for the game’s “Gymkhana” courses, for both of which, read: “Showing Off On Your Own.” At early levels Hoonigan mode consists entirely of drifting round corners, skidding in full circles around poles and knocking over neat piles of stacked crates. Like the races, tricks have become a lot easier to per-
form than in previous DiRT games .
On this evidence, it’s clear the de-
velopers have set out to make a game that anyone can pick up . As a result, it’s both delightfully easy to learn and frustratingly easy to master. While the casual gamer will fi nd plenty to enjoy , the guy in the papier-mache car will probably be disappointed. But, to be fair, the fact a racing game has opted for fun over fusty realism is almost certainly the least of his problems.
Game on
Rubbish at driving? Then DiRT Showdown is for you By Tom Meltzer
The typical Showdown player got their video-game driving licence in a Mario Kart, scraping a pass on their п¬Ѓ fth time taking the test
28 The Guardian 18.05.12
Reviews Television
� BETTER CALL SAUL’ Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan in the Guide on Saturday
A week in radio
Riddle of Bobbie Gentry
Whatever Happened to Bobbie Gentry? (Radio 2, Monday) began with an enigma and ended with one too. Rosanne Cash, presenting, recalled hearing Ode to Billie Joe as a 12-year-old in 1967. “I was dumbfounded from the fi rst hearing,” she recalled, remembering the “riddle at its core”. What was thrown off that bridge? Who was Billie Joe? And the riddle continued through this absorbing documentary – written and produced by Henry Lopez Real at 6 Music – as Cash noted that Gentry simply disappeared from public view .
It was a fascinating listen, portraying a singer-songwriter of huge talent who is known only for a couple of singles. She was, the programme argued, scuppered by the countercultural movement that left her looking old-fashioned, a country singer and a conventionally beautiful woman. As one contributor put it: “She was hot, she wanted to look hot” at a time when for many the integrity of the music was meant to be more important than appearances.
Sound, though, was paramount in Poetry, Texas (Radio 4, Monday), in which Danish poet Pejk Malinovski visited this small town after fi nding a water tower bearing the word “Poetry” in an online search. This feature for independents Falling Tree – who rightly won a best news feature Sony gold award this week for Child of Ardoyne – was a goosebumpy wonder, all layers of sound-texture, mesmerising voices and a lyrical narration by Malinovski as he described the town in ordinary terms elevated into something hypnotic .
Elisabeth Mahoney
TV history is littered with one-season wonders: perfectly decent shows that, for a variety of reasons, never made it to series two. Space: Above and Beyond , which appeared on Fox in 1995, didn’t last, but it still made quite a mark – and infl uenced much of the sci-fi output that followed.
Set in 2063, the show follows the adventures of the Wildcards: a rough, tough land, sea, air and space combat squad serving in the war between mankind and a mysterious alien race dubbed the Chigs. Stationed on their huge space ship USS Saratoga, the troops embark on exciting missions, either as ground-based infantry or in their Hammerhead fi ghter rocket s. The show was the creation of James Wong and Glen Morgan, trading off the heat they were generating on The X-
Files . In many ways, it’s a fi ne example of stealth sci-fi , since the format and much of the interplay owe more to military shows such as Combat! , The Rat Patrol and Tour of Duty than they do to Star Trek or The Outer Limits . It turns out humans have just come out of a long and bloody war with their own robots-gone-bad, the Silicates, who Your next box set
Space: Above and Beyond have collaborated with the new alien enemy. What’s more, there are these artifi cially gestated humans around: the In-Vitros who are matured at speed then “born” at the age of 18. One of the main Wildcards, Cooper Hawkes, is one such being . Everything about the In-Vitros is brilliantly handled: they are often childlike in their outlook, yet angry at being treated like third-class citizens. Hawkes fi nds himself uneasily becoming part of a tight team after years of shunning human contact .
Occasionally , traditional battle tales are cleverly updated for the futuristic outer space setting : in one episode, the Wildcards send a captured enemy п¬Ѓ ghter on a surprise Trojan horse mission, as they believe the Chigs have no equivalent tale in their lore; similarly , a Chig pilot comes to pose a Red Baron-style threat to the humans.
Wong and Morgan’s clout meant the show was handsomely mounted, rumoured to have cost around $1m an episode. The special eff ects may now look like something from a low-
rent video game , but they get the job done. Clearly infl uenced by Star-
ship Troopers (the novel) and Aliens , Space: Above and Beyond in turn cast its own shadow on Starship Troopers (the movie) , Battlestar Galactica and Firefl y . Five seasons were planned, yet only one was made – a tantalising glimpse of what could have grown into something truly great . Phelim O’Neill in
a d
Wildcards assemble in Space: Above and Beyond (above); and Bobbie Gentry
18.05.12 The Guardian 29
he recession has been very good to Robert Peston. While the rest of us have been rapidly getting greyer, grumpier and more broke, the BBC’s business editor has been on a very diff erent journey. When he fi rst became a semi-permanent feature of the news bulletins in 2007 with the collapse of Northern Rock, Peston cut a rather awkward fi gure; someone not entirely comfortable in social situations. Or in daylight, for that matter. He would appear on screen wearing suits that didn’t quite fi t, talking a strange language that viewers struggled to understand every bit as much he struggled to speak.
Five years on and Peston 2.0 is barely recognisable as the same man in The Great Euro Crash with Robert Peston (BBC2). His eyes are brighter, his teeth whiter, his hair and suits both darker and more sharply cut, his coat fl ashes a “VIP lounge” purple lining and his speech has morphed into something approaching English. Let’s call it Received Pestonian. If years of austerity hadn’t taken their toll on my eyesight, I might have concluded he had had a makeover.
To Peston’s obvious pleasure, the one thing that defi nitely has not had a makeover in the past fi ve years is the European economy. As each new crisis makes the last look like a minor blip, and fi nance ministers regress to babbling infantilism in their insistence that they know what they are doing, Peston’s self-confi dence and excitement grows ever more eye-catching. It’s almost as if the past fi ve years has been one long, tantric sexual experience for him. I wouldn’t want to be standing too close to him when the euro fi nally crashes.
Like all experienced lovers, Peston started slowly , teasing us with a fairly protracted account of the birth of the EU and the single currency – not a particularly erogenous zone for me, it has to be said – before getting to the Unless you believe in the miracle of European fi scal unity. The choices were either austerity, or more austerity. If Greece, Spain and Portugal all default and leave the euro Europe is fi nancially screwed and if they stay in with a bodged deal – the only deal on off er – Europe is still fi nancially screwed. And that includes Britain. I’d guess that every economist and banker to whom Peston spoke has long since moved their cash into gold.
Perversely, I found Peston’s fi lm rather reassuring . It wasn’t off ering false hope and it confi rmed my own, innately depressing worldview that by and large we are governed by idiots who are inventing economic policy on the hoof. And I, for one, am quite looking forward to seeing Peston’s face engulfed in a fi nal howl of ecstasy when the inevitable fi nancial end of days arrives. So long as there’s still a TV screen separating us.
There was a similar end of the world feeling – though with more tears, as there were actors involved – to Tales of Television Centre (BBC4), an elegiac lament (or shout, in the case of Brian Blessed) by telly’s great and good for the imminent demise of BBC’s White City studios. And it was entertaining for a while, with clips of classic shows interspersed with anecdotes of shagging, drinking and drug-taking, along with a tour of the now non-
existent Blue Peter garden. Ah me! The drama! The talent! But by the time various old-time thesps had got round to talking about the exclusive BBC Club inside the building, I was beginning to feel more and more like an outsider. Most of all, I couldn’t help wondering if the BBC would have devoted 90 minutes of such high emotion to the closure of a Honda factory in Swindon. At least, not without a glimpse of Robert Peston.
Last night's TV
Whatever happens, Europe is ruined – but Robert Peston couldn’t look happier By John Crace
nitty-gritty of trillions of euros being handed over to bankrupt banks, not to stimulate growth or rescue the econ-
omy, but so they could be handed back to bankrupt governments to give them a couple of years in which to come up with some kind of viable rescue plan. Not that any economist seemed to think there was any salvation to be had.
Peston still didn’t explain why it took the European bankers so long to realise their institutions were bust; I can only guess they must have all been on a very long, boozy, fi ve-year lunch and only checked their current account balance on the way home. There again, Peston is no longer interested in blame; blame is very last year – a real turnoff when you’re dealing with fi nancial Armageddon.
This was a programme without a nanosecond of optimism on off er. AND ANOTHER THING Just how many of the 20 million or so UK viewers watching the Champions League Final on Saturday will be supporting Bayern Munich? About 19,960,000, I’d say.
Not a nanosecond of optimism … The Great Euro Crash with Robert Peston
30 The Guardian 18.05.12
Watch this
TV and radio
Unreported World
7.30pm, Channel 4 Another good reason to be glad you’re not running the Euro 2012 public relations campaign for Ukraine. The country is already beset by threats of boycotts by dignitaries, due to its im-
prisonment of former prime minister Yulia Tumoshenko, and this episode of Channel 4’s doughty current aff airs strand is far from an adver-
tisement. Reporter Marcel Theroux meets the tribe of delinquent glue-sniffi ng juveniles who live beneath the streets of Kiev. There are tens of thousands of them, according to Theroux’s report, depending on the proximity of underground hot water pipes to protect them from the Ukrainian winter. Andrew Mueller
Maestro At The Opera
9pm, BBC2 “There can only be one Maestro at the opera,” says the press information here, which rather wonder-
fully conjur es up visions of batons drawn at dawn. Sadly not. Instead, the contestants are whittled down to two, who go head to head for the chance to conduct an act of Puccini’s La Bohème at the Royal Opera House. Tough task. Just as well there’s training at the renowned Georg Solti Accademia in Florence to get the two up to speed before Sir Mark Elder decides who gets to wave their arms around on the podium at Covent Garden. Jonathan Wright
Lip Service
9pm, BBC3 It all unravels for Sam this week. First, she has an “Er, about the other night …” moment with Lexy, then she’s off to confront Tess as it becomes apparent that everyone except her knew about Cat and Frankie’s furtive fumblings. Her anger fi nally spills over at work, and she’s sent home. Sadie, meanwhile, is busy toying with Lauren and her wife, and pays them a home visit. There’s a whole lot of loving going on at the hospital, but that’s shattered when Lexy gets a visit from her stalker. Is Tess a shoulder to cry on, or is she hoping for more? Hannah Verdier
Maestro At The Opera, BBC2
Channel 4
1.0 Through The Night. Including music by Barber, Bach, Stravinsky, Ives, Wiggins, Beethoven, Sibelius, Walton, Verdi, Klami, Vejvanovsky, Wagner, Weber, Purcell, Satie, Sorkochevich and Flotow.
Radio 4
92.4-94.6 MHz; 198kHz
6.0 Today. 8.31 (LW) Yesterday In Parliament. With Sean Curran. 8.58 (LW) Weather 9.0 Desert Island Discs. Kirsty Young talks to Sheila Hollins. (R) 9.45 (LW) Act Of Worship. Led by the Rev Bob Fyff e. 9.45 (FM) Book Of The Week: The Uke Of Wallington. By Mark Wallington. 10.0 (LW) Woman’s Hour. 10.0 (FM) Woman’s Hour. 10.45 (LW) Test Match Special. England BBC1 BBC2 ITV1
6.0pm Eggheads (S) 6.30 Antiques Road Trip (S) Catherine Southon and Philip Serrell travel from Sedbergh to Liverpool.
6.0pm Local News (S) 6.30 ITV News (S)
6.0pm The Simpsons (R) (S) (AD) Bart helps out at the comics shop.
6.30 Hollyoaks (S) (AD) Cheryl doesn’t believe Brendan.
6.0pm BBC News (S) 6.30 Regional News (S) 7.30 Great British Menu (S) Judges Prue Leith, Oliver Peyton and Matthew Fort decide which of the two remaining chefs from the London and south-east group go through to the national п¬Ѓ nal.
7.0 Emmerdale (S) (AD) Lisa reluctantly allows Belle to visit Zak in hospital.
7.30 Coronation Street (S) (AD) Nick persuades Kylie to return home, and Eva discovers the previous night’s hotel bill.
7.0 Channel 4 News (S) 7.30 Unreported World (S) Marcel Theroux and Suemay Oram report on the hopeless lives of Ukraine’s street children.
7.55 (S)
7.0 The One Show (S) Chris Evans and Alex Jones host the show from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall as the Olympic fl ame arrives from Athens.
8.0 Coast (R) (S) The team explores the Western Isles and Shetland.
8.30 Gardeners’ World (S) Monty Don takes the ideas he picked up at the Malvern Spring Show to Longmeadow.
8.0 Poms In Paradise (S) A British couple swap Manchester for Sydney.
8.30 Coronation Street (S) (AD) Tina turns up just as Tommy is packing the car with drugs.
8.0 Come Dine With Me (S) Four amateur cooks take turns hosting dinner parties in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, in the hope of winning the ВЈ1,000 prize.
8.0 EastEnders (S) (AD) Phil and Ben try to convince Jay to come back home. 8.30 Would I Lie To You? (S) Patsy Kensit, Bob Mortimer, Greg Davies and Richard Osman join the comedy panel show.
9.0 Maestro At The Opera (S) (AD) The fi nal two competitors learn they will be conducting Act 2 of Puccini’s La Bohème, and visit Italy for extra training before the winner is announced. Last in the series.
9.0 Piers Morgan’s Life Stories: Lulu (S) The singer talks about her 50-year career in music, her marriage to Bee Gee Maurice Gibb and brief romance with Davy Jones. Postponed from Friday May 11.
9.0 8 Out Of 10 Cats (S) Comedy panel show hosted by Jimmy Carr.
9.30 Very Important People (S) Morgana Robinson and Terry Mynott present the very funny impressions show.
9.0 Have I Got News For You (S) Latest edition the satirical news quiz.
9.30 Not Going Out (S) Lucy and Lee have such a boozy night that they can’t remember what happened. Last in the series.
11.0 The Review Show (S) Hosted by Kirsty Wark.
11.50 Later With Jools Holland (S) Featuring Kevin Rowland’s Dexys, Hot Chip, Rumer, Ben Howard and June Tabor & Oysterband.
11.10 Stand Up For The Week (S) Jon Richardson hosts the satirical comedy show.
11.55 Team America: World Police (Trey Parker, 2004) (S) (AD) Wickedly funny puppet satire from the creators of South Park.
11.20 The National Lottery (S)
11.35 The Matt Lucas Awards (R) (S) Ruth Jones, David Baddiel and Griff Rhys Jones join Matt Lucas as he hands out another set of strange awards.
Radio 3
90.2-92.4 MHz
6.30 Breakfast. Petroc Trelawny presents music to begin the day, including a few surprises. 9.0 Essential Classics. With Rob Cowan. Guest Salley Vickers introduces the last of her favourite classical pieces and the Rob’s Essential Choice slot features Brahms’ String Sextet in B fl at.
12.0 Composer Of The Week: The Chapel Royal. Donald Macleod traces the fortunes of the chapel musicians through to the present day. Including music by Handel, Greene, Boyce, Goss, Radio
Sullivan and Mealor.
1.0 Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert. The last in a series of recitals exploring Haydn’s chamber music, given at St George’s Bristol by the Soloists of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
2.0 Afternoon On 3. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales performs Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy Overture from Hamlet and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1, plus music by Dvorak, Bridge, Weber and Hindemith.
4.30 In Tune. Studio performances by the Gould Piano Trio, celebrating their live recording of the complete Beethoven Trios, and the Allegri Quartet, whose legacy stretches more than 60 years.
6.30 Composer Of The Week: The Chapel Royal. (R)
7.30 Radio 3 Live In Concert. The opening concert of the Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music, live from St John’s Smith Square, London, featuring Le Concert des Nations performing music from around Europe.
10.0 The Verb. Ian McMillan’s guests include electro-pop pioneer Gary Numan and writer Ros Barber.
10.45 The Essay. Yong Li Lan, director of the Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive, off ers an insight into the enduring popularity of the playwright’s work in China and Southeast Asia.
11.0 World On 3. English folk musician Jim Moray, whose latest album Skulk was released in April, performs a studio session. Presented by Mary Ann Kennedy.
10.0 Episodes (S) (AD) Matt buys Sean a sports car in an eff ort to salvage their friendship, but Sean isn’t quite ready to forgive.
10.30 Newsnight (S) With Gavin Esler.
10.0 ITV News At Ten And Weather (S)
10.30 Local News/
Weather (S)
10.35 Raw Deal (John Irvin, 1986) (S) (AD) Brutal action thriller, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kathryn Harrold.
10.0 Alan Carr: Chatty Man (S) Kim Kardashian, Sean Lock and Jon Richardson join the chat show, and Nelly Furtado performs her new single Big Hoops.
10.0 BBC News (S)
10.25 Regional News And Weather (S)
10.35 The Graham Norton Show (S) With guests Will Smith, Gary Barlow and Tom Jones, who also performs Hit or Miss.
Film of the day
Inglourious Basterds (11.10pm, Film4) Tarantino’s crazed, cranky homage to war movies has a lantern-jawed Brad Pitt leading a dirty – no, fi lthy – dozen who murder and mutilate Hitler’s forces in occupied France
18.05.12 The Guardian 31
Other channels
6.0pm The Big Bang Theory. The fl atmates are challenged to a robot duel. 6.30 The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon develops a scientifi c procedure for making friends. 7.0 Hollyoaks. Bart’s criminal antics come back to haunt him. 7.30 How I Met Your Mother. Barney mistakenly suspects Marshall and Lily are heading for divorce. 8.0 The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon learns his friends tampered with the Arctic expedition data. 8.30 2 Broke Girls. The girls throw a party to raise some money. 9.0 The Beach. Drama, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. 11.20 Shameless. A bungled robbery gives Jackson and Shane an idea. Film4
6.40pm Last Holiday. Comedy, starring Queen Latifah. 8.50 Inglourious Basterds Interview Special. The cast and crew discuss the Second World war movie. 9.0 Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. Sci-п¬Ѓ adventure sequel, starring William Shatner. 11.10 Inglourious Basterds. Second World War adventure, starring Brad Pitt. FX
6.0pm Shark. Jessica feels responsible for a female tennis player’s death. 7.0 NCIS. An offi cer’s apparent suicide is investigated. 8.0 NCIS. A murder suspect is killed. 9.0 NCIS. Vance’s brother-in-law is linked to the murder of a petty offi cer. 10.0 Dexter. The forensic expert chases new leads in the Doomsday investigation. 11.05 Family Guy. Brian gets a job at The New Yorker. 11.35 Family Guy. Lois tells Peter to bond with Stewie. ITV2
6.0pm The Jeremy Kyle Show USA. The host takes his successful talk-show stateside. 7.0 All Star Family Fortunes. With Coronation Street’s Simon Gregson and Sam Aston. 8.0 You’ve Been Framed! Including workmen messing about. 8.30 You’ve Been Framed! Harry Hill narrates camcorder calamities. 9.0 American Idol. Ryan Seacrest announces who has made it through to the fi nal. 10.0 The Only Way Is Essex. Reality programme following a group of people in Essex. 10.45 The Only Way Is Essex. Reality programme following a Channel 5 BBC3 BBC4 Atlantic
group of people in Essex. 11.30 Peter Andre: My Life. The singer heads to Dubai for a calendar shoot. Sky1
6.0pm The Middle. Mike tries to get Brick to play basketball. 6.30 The Simpsons. Principal Skinner is exposed as an imposter. 7.0 The Simpsons. Surveillance cameras are installed in Springfi eld. 7.30 The Middle. Mike vows to end Frankie’s devious ways. 8.0 Modern Family. Phil fi res Mitchell. 8.30 The Simpsons. Ned Flanders and Mrs Krabappel embark on a whirlwind romance. 9.0 A League Of Their Own. With David Walliams, Mo Farah and Clare Balding. 10.0 Glee. An injury to Tina hampers New Directions’ preparations. 11.0 Glee. Guest starring Lindsay Lohan. 12.0 Road Wars. Police offi cers combat vehicle crime. Sky Arts 1
6.0pm From The Basement. Performances by Iggy Pop, CSS and Terry Callier. 6.50 Peter Beard: Scrapbooks From Africa & Beyond. Profi le of the photographer of endangered elephants. 7.50 Gimme Some Truth: John Lennon. Documentary following the making of the album Imagine. 9.0 Made In Sheffi eld. Exploring the South Yorkshire city’s contribution to electronic pop music. 10.0 The Who: The Vegas Job. A 1999 concert by the rock band. 11.40 Rolling Stones: Some Girls — Live In Texas 1978. A concert movie recorded at Fort Worth, Texas. TCM
7.10pm Day Of The Evil Gun. Western, starring Glenn Ford. 9.0 The Glimmer Man. Action thriller, starring Steven Seagal. 10.45 Enter The Dragon. Martial arts thriller, starring Bruce Lee.
3.0 (FM) Gardeners’ Question Time. From Thornbury in south Gloucestershire.
3.45 (FM) Half-Light. New series. By Neil M Gunn.
4.0 (FM) Last Word. Obituary series, with Matthew Bannister.
4.30 (FM) More Or Less. Investigating numbers.
4.55 (FM) The Listening Project. Members of the public share intimate conversations. 5.0 (FM) PM. News headlines. 5.57 (LW) Test Match Special. England v West Indies. 5.57 (FM) Weather 6.0 Six O’Clock News 6.30 The News Quiz. With Jeremy Hardy, Susan Calman, Bob Mills and Matt Forde. 7.0 The Archers. Peggy speaks her mind.
7.15 Front Row. Mark Lawson presents.
7.45 The Diary Of Samuel Pepys. Hattie Naylor’s adaptation of the naval administrator’s diaries.
8.0 Any Questions? From Hexham Abbey in Northumberland.
8.50 A Point Of View. Refl ections on a topical issue.9.0 Friday Drama: Sunny Afternoon. By Doug Lucie. (R) 9.59 Weather
10.0 The World Tonight. News round-up.
10.45 Book At Bedtime: The Beginner’s Goodbye. By Anne Tyler, abridged by Robin Brooks.
11.0 Great Lives. Diana Athill celebrates the life of Spanish painter Francisco de Goya. (R)
11.30 Today In Parliament. Mark D’Arcy presents.
11.55 The Listening Project. Members of the public share intimate conversations.
12.0 News And Weather 12.30 Book Of The Week: The Uke Of Wallington. By Mark Wallington. (R) 12.48 Shipping Forecast Radio 4 Extra
Digital only
6.0 High Table, Lower Orders 6.30 Above Suspicion 7.0 Ring Around The Bath 7.30 Tonight 8.0 The Navy Lark 8.30 The Burkiss Way 9.0 Are You From The Bugle? 9.30 Puzzle Panel
10.0 Vivat Rex
11.0 Three Hours Between Planes 11.15 Altaban The Magnifi cent 12.0 The Navy Lark 12.30 The Burkiss Way
1.0 High Table, Lower Orders 1.30 Above Suspicion
2.0 Where Angels Fear To Tread 2.15 This Sceptred Isle
2.30 You Cannot Live As I Have Lived And Not End Up Like This 2.45 The Invention Of Childhood 3.0 Vivat Rex
4.0 The 4 O’Clock Show
5.0 Millport 5.30 Ring Around The Bath
6.0 The Female Ghost
6.30 The Canterville Ghost
7.0 The Navy Lark
7.30 The Burkiss Way
8.0 High Table, Lower Orders 8.30 Above Suspicion
9.0 Three Hours Between Planes 9.15 Altaban The Magnifi cent
10.0 Comedy Club: Tonight
10.30 On The Hour
11.0 Sorry About Last Night
11.30 The Cabaret Of Dr Caligari
12.0 The Female Ghost 12.30 The Canterville Ghost 1.0 High Table, Lower Orders 1.30 Above Suspicion 2.0 Are You From The Bugle? 2.30 Puzzle Panel 3.0 Vivat Rex 4.0 Three Hours Between Planes 4.15 Altaban The Magnifi cent 5.0 Millport 5.30 Ring Around The Bath
World Service
Digital and 198 kHz after R4
8.30 Business Daily 8.50 From Our Own Correspondent 9.0 News 9.06 HARDtalk 9.30 The Strand 9.50 Witness 10.0 World Update 11.0 World Briefi ng 11.30 Science In Action 11.50 From Our Own Correspondent 12.0 World, Have Your Say 12.30 Business Daily 12.50 Sports News 1.0 News 1.06 HARDtalk 1.30 World Football 2.0 Newshour 3.0 World Briefi ng 3.30 The Strand 3.50 From Our Own Correspondent 4.0 News 4.06 HARDtalk 4.30 More4
v West Indies. 11.0 (FM) The Lost Art Of Churches. Paul Bayley reports on 20th-
century church art.
11.30 (FM) Another Case Of Milton Jones. The clueless expert tries to predict the weather. Last in the series. (R) 12.0 (FM) News
12.04 (LW) Test Match Special. England v West Indies. 12.04 (FM) You And Yours. 12.52 (FM) The Listening Project. Members of the public share intimate conversations.
12.57 (FM) Weather
1.0 (FM) The World At One. 1.45 (FM) Key Matters. Peter Donohoe and Ivan Hewett explore the properties of C minor. Last in the series.
2.0 (FM) The Archers. Joe is keen to solve a mystery. (R)
2.15 (FM) Afternoon Drama: The Sensitive: The Protector. By Alastair Jessiman.
6.0pm Home And Away (R) (S) (AD) Leah gets drunk to cope with a tedious date.
6.30 5 News (S) 6.45pm Come Dine With Me (R) (S) Four amateur cooks compete in Nottingham.
6.0pm ER (R) Hathaway is back on the job, and Carter is worried about a diagnosis.
7.0 Cricket On 5 (S) England vs West Indies. Mark Nicholas introduces highlights of the second day of the fi rst Test at Lord’s. 7.0pm Doctor Who (R) (S) (AD) The Doctor and Amy are in the future to fi nd a new home for Britons. 7.45 Doctor Who (R) (S) (AD) The Daleks make their appearance during the second world war.
7.0pm World News (S)
7.30 Sacred Music: The Story Of Allegri’s Miserere (R) (S) Simon Russell Beale examines the choral work’s 300-year history and introduces a performance of it by the Sixteen.
7.55 Grand Designs (R) (S) (AD) Kevin McCloud is in the Lot region of France to fi nd out what happened to a British couple’s house that was built partly out of straw bales.
7.0 House (R) A homeless woman’s condition deteriorates as Dr House and the team struggle to fi nd out what is wrong with her.
8.0 Dirty Great Machines (S) Machines go into the world’s deepest copper and zinc mine in Canada, and a Finnish metro tunnel is excavated to improve commuter services. Last in the series. 8.30 Snog, Marry, Avoid? (R) (S) Comedian Ellie Taylor presents the makeover show, this time featuring a pole dancer and a DJ.
8.0 Kathleen Ferrier: An Ordinary Diva (R) (S) A 2003 profi le of the Lancashire contralto, whose extraordinary talent led to international stardom but was cut short when she died from cancer in 1953.
8.0 Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (S) Behind the scenes at the chef’s trips to India, featuring contributions from the crew.
9.0 The Mentalist (S) Lisbon is back in contact with her former fi ancé while investigating a surfer’s murder, and Cho wonders if his relationship with Summer is such a good idea. 9.0 Lip Service (S) (AD) Sam’s visit to the fl at distances her from her friends, and Lexy’s situation with her stalker becomes more worrying. 9.0 Barry Manilow At The BBC (S) Archive performances by the singer-songwriter, including hits Mandy and Could It Be Magic, as well as highlights from his 1983 concert at Blenheim Palace.
9.0 Freedom Writers (Richard LaGravenese, 2007) (S) (AD) Hilary Swank and Patrick Dempsey star in this earnest fact-
based drama about an unconventional teacher.
9.0 Morgan Spurlock’s New Britannia (R) (S) The Super Size Me director is joined by Katy Brand, Peter Serafi nowicz and Corey Feldman to discuss fame. 11.55 Inside Hollywood (R) Film and television news and gossip.
11.0 Neil Diamond: Solitary Man (R) (S) The life and enduring career of the singer-
songwriter, from his childhood in Brooklyn to his musical success. Featuring contributions by Micky Dolenz and Jeff Barry.
11.20 MotherTruckers (R) (S) A look at the lives of female lorry drivers in the UK, showing how they cope with working in such a male-dominated industry.
11.0 The Wire (S) Beadie and Freamon follow the traffi c at the port, and Rawls tries to persuade Daniels to take on the case of the Jane Doe killings.
10.0 Castle (S) An investigation into the murder of an Irish gangster proves unsettling for Beckett. 10.55 Law & Order: Criminal Intent (R) (S) A crime writer asks Ross to fi nd her missing husband. 10.0 EastEnders (R) (S) (AD) Phil and Ben try to convince Jay to come back home. 10.30 Family Guy Best Freakin’ Episodes (R) (S) Beginning a countdown of the top 10 episodes.
10.0 One Night With Barry Manilow (R) (S) A 2004 concert by the New Yorker, featuring Copacabana, I Write the Songs and Can’t Smile Without You.
10.0 Awake (S) Michael’s son Rex is kidnapped by an escaped convict, but hope of fi nding the boy is dashed when the kidnapper is shot by a Swat team. Sport Today 4.50 Witness 5.0 World Briefi ng 5.30 World Business Report 6.0 World, Have Your Say 7.0 World Briefi ng 7.30 One Planet 7.50 From Our Own Correspondent 8.0 News 8.06 HARDtalk 8.30 World Football 9.0 Newshour 10.0 World Briefi ng 10.30 World Business Report 11.0 World Briefi ng 11.30 The Strand 11.50 Sports News 12.0 World Briefi ng 12.30 World Football 1.0 World Briefi ng 1.30 World Business Report 1.50 From Our Own Correspondent 2.0 News 2.06 HARDtalk 2.30 World Football 3.0 The World Today 3.30 The Strand 3.50 Witness 4.0 News 4.06 Assignment 4.30 One Planet 4.50 From Our Own Correspondent 5.0 The World Today 5.20 Sports News 5.30 The 5th Floor Iggy Pop, Sky Arts 1
Full TV listings
For comprehensive programme details see the Guardian Guide every Saturday or go to
32 The Guardian 18.05.12
On the web
For tips and all manner of crossword debates go to
Hard. Fill in the grid so that each run of squares adds up to the total in the box above or to the left. Use only numbers 1-9, and never use a number more than once per run (a number may recur in the same row, in a separate run).
Printable version at guardian.
A great range of puzzle books is available from Guardian Books. To order, visit or call 0845 606 4232.
16 16 16 4
35 35
23 8 23
4 7 3
6 6
25 25
20 20
14 14
16 16
12 20 14
24 23 24
34 27
16 14 3 12
3 1 1 2 3 1
7 2 4 3 1 5 1 2 4 3
9 6 8 5 9 8 2 1
9 8 4 7 9 7
8 6 7 9 4 5 8 2 9
9 7 7 9 4 5 3 1 7
9 7 4 2 1 9 8
2 3 1 5 1 3 2 3 1
6 8 9 7 3 3 1 4 2
8 9 3 5 1 2
3 1 8 7 9 9 8 6
4 2 3 1 5 6 7 3 9 8
1 2 8 9 7 9
Doonesbury Garry Trudeau
Solution to no 1291
Kakuro no 1292
Sudoku no 2190
3 6
5 9 1
2 8
8 9 1
5 2
9 4 7
6 3
5 8 3
4 5
Hard. Fill the grid so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1-9. Printable version at
Stuck? For help call 0906 751 0036. Calls cost 77p a minute from a BT Landline. Calls from other networks may vary and mobiles will be considerably higher. Service supplied by ATS. Call 0844 836 9769 for customer service (charged at local rate, 2p a min from a BT landline). Free tough puzzles at
5 6 2 7 1 8 9 3 4
8 4 3 2 9 6 5 1 7
7 1 9 5 3 4 2 6 8
1 2 5 8 4 3 7 9 6
4 8 7 6 2 9 3 5 1
3 9 6 1 7 5 8 4 2
9 7 4 3 6 2 1 8 5
2 3 8 4 5 1 6 7 9
6 5 1 9 8 7 4 2 3
Solution to no 2189
Quick crossword no 13,112
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
11 12
13 14
15 16 17
18 19 20
1 Riotous dance — party
8 Put in order — organise (7)
9 Into parts (7)
10 Snidest (anag) (7)
11 Individual parts (5)
13 Contrition (9)
15 Substance toxic to plants (9)
18 Allegory (5)
21 Flat-bottomed barge (7)
22 Fostered — assumed (7)
23 Love aff air (7)
24 Crossbred hunting dog (7)
1 Army uniform cloth (5)
2 Escape — avoid (5)
3 Extremely funny (4-9)
4 Absolve (6)
5 Join the opposing side in Parliament (5,3,5)
6 Concealed (6)
7 Come to terms (6)
12 Art gallery (4)
14 Gather — slaughter (4)
15 Boy’s or girl’s name (6)
16 Government — administration (6)
17 Serial (anag) (6)
19 Aggressively masculine (5)
20 Duck (5)
Solution no 13,111
Stuck? For help call 0906 751 0039 or text GUARDIANQ followed by a space, the day and date the crossword appeared another space and the CLUE reference to 85010 (e.g GUARDIANQ Wednesday24 Down20). Calls cost 77p a minute from a BT Landline. Calls from other networks may vary and mobiles will be considerably higher. Texts cost 50p a clue plus standard network charges. Service supplied by ATS. Call 0844 836 9769 for customer service (charged at local rate, 2p a min from a BT landline). Want more? Access over 4,000 archive puzzles at Buy all four Guardian quick crosswords books for only ВЈ20 inc UK p&p (save ВЈ7.96). Visit or call 0330 333 6846.
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