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The Guardian G2 - April 25, 2018

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Wednesday 25/04/18
Arwa Mahdawi
YouTube’s cesspit
of clickbait
page 3
Meghan’s messy bun
Jess Cartner-Morley
on a royal-in-waiting
page 6
Frank Skinner
Playing Johnny Cash
page 10
‘We’ve got
saved the
Pass notes
№ 3,797
Why are
people leaving
horses to die?
LK Bennett
Age: 28.
Appearance: Privately educated head girl
of the high street.
Who is she? She is actually a “what” –
a British “affordable luxury brand” of
clothing and shoes, available at about 100
outlets in the UK – including Harvey Nichols
and Selfridges, as well as its own stores –
and a handful of global concessions from
the United Arab Emirates to the US.
Oh, I know the one! It’s the one that’s not
Hobbs. That’s it.
It’s all court shoes and nude heels and the
kind of boots you always find at the end of
legs striding around the highest tax bracket.
Yes. And £400 silk dresses and jumpsuits
called Clarine, Delina and Crescida.
Apparel that went to school together for
women who went to school together?
You have the measure of the place.
Why is it in the news? Has it been targeted
by Marxist revolutionaries? I would target
it if I were a Marxist revolutionary. No,
it’s not that. The home secretary, Amber
Rudd, is reported to have told people at a
private business dinner that the application
system for the 3 million EU nationals who
will have the right to apply to stay in Britain
after Brexit will be “as easy as setting up an
online account at LK Bennett”.
Does LK Bennett require identity papers, a
recent photo and a declaration of criminal
convictions before you take delivery of your
Delina? Does its database of users’ details
have a 10% error rate, as a watchdog says
the Home Office’s does? You have missed
the point.
No, I was just taking a moment to be
facetious. I understand that this is one
of those unguarded-politician moments,
when they reveal how differently they live
and how little they understand the world
they are supposed to be representing, thus
adding to the despairing feeling that we
wander through this vale of suffering without
anyone who comprehends or is committed
to ameliorating our workaday problems.
You have taken the point.
A normal person, a person with whom you
could feel you shared some common ground,
might have said Asos. Or Next. Or “as easy
as applying for a Nectar card”.
She could even have got away with “an Ocado
account”. I know.
I think I have just become a Marxist
revolutionary. See you at the barricades,
Do say: “Did you know the prime minister
has a discount card there as well?”
Don’t say: “Let them eat jumpsuits.”
Poses and porkers: a royal baby roundup
You would think, with just a birth weight and a
delivery time to go on, plus a few words on the steps
of a hospital, there was not a huge amount to write
about Monday’s royal baby news. But collectively
the British press managed to fill more than 80 pages
of print with the new Prince of Cambridge. Here are
some of the, er, fascinating things we learned from
the extensive coverage.
Savour it – three
is the limit
According to
body language
expert Judi
James in the
Sun, this could
be the last
time we see
the Duchess
of Cambridge
emerge from
the Lindo Wing
with a newborn.
The Duke of
“stood slightly
away from his
wife with his
hands clasped
across his lower
torso in the
‘fig leaf’ pose”.
A self-protective
which signals he
does not want
another child.
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
Was it fair to call
the new baby
a ‘porker’?
There was
discussion of
Sky News’s
Kay Burley
referring to the
new arrival as a
“porker” during
the seemingly
endless hours
of coverage she
anchored from
outside the
hospital. For
what it is worth,
Philips, now
15th in line to
the throne,
retains her
crown as the
heaviest royal
baby of the past
100 years.
A baby dressed
for the occasion
The baby was
wrapped in a
shawl from GH
Hurt & Son. This
is an important
dating back to
1948, when the
Queen Elizabeth
II with one in
which to wrap
the infant Prince
Charles. They
have continued
to supply them
ever since.
A new car for
a new baby
Avid royal-carwatchers will
have noticed
that the duke
drove away in
a Land Rover
whereas the
car that carried
Prince George
was a smaller
Range Rover
Vogue SE 4.4 V8.
Where does
Prince Andrew
(below) figure?
He is now
seventh in line
to the throne
– so no longer
needs to ask
his mum for
permission to
remarry. He will
be happy that he
did not feature
in coverage of
unlucky third
royal children,
which included
Edward VII’s
Princess Louise,
who was
shipwrecked off
Morocco, and
Queen Victoria’s
Princess Alice,
who had two
“killed by the
Martin Belam
The imaginative gulf is jawdropping. It starts with a kitsch
tween dream of horse ownership
– or ideas of cashing in on the
breeders’ market. It ends with a
horse dumped on a garbage heap.
The RSPCA has noticed a big
uptick in “horse fly-tipping”, so
much so that it is talking of a “horse
crisis”. Prosecutions involving horses
are up 25% since 2015. The society
rescued 1,000 horses last year.
Horses are expensive to keep.
Besides the feed, there are the vet
bills. A case of colic can cost £5,000
to fix. Even in death they are pricey:
a horse cremation can cost £500.
Increasingly, owners unwilling to
shoulder the costs simply abandon
their animals.
Individual cases can be
horrifying. In Dartford, Kent, the
body of a horse was found under
a pile of planks. Six dying horses
were later found on the same site.
In Orsett, Essex, a mare was dumped
by the side of a road while she was in
labour. Mother and foal later died.
Why the crisis? The problem has
push and pull factors. Overbreeding
issues have been brewing for years.
Horses are changing hands for as
little as £25, or even for free. They
are picked up by naive owners who
don’t understand that the upkeep
is the true price of ownership.
“When you look at insurance,
stabling costs and microchipping,
it’s probably in the hundreds per
month,” says the RSPCA’s national
equine co-ordinator, Christine
McNeil. When injury or illness take
hold, the horses are discarded.
Hay prices are rising, too. The
solution of some owners has been
equally antisocial: fly-grazing
– pasturing your horse on land
you don’t own. This became so
widespread that the government
introduced the Control of Horses
Act 2015 to punish offenders.
“There’s no typical horse
dumper,” McNeil says. “But we
think it’s the breeders that are at
the root of the problem, where they
began with the intention of making
a profit and now it’s costing them
to keep horses that are worthless
on the open market.”
Gavin Haynes
Is this the end
of the basic
income dream?
The Lake
District pound,
which can
be used in
locally owned
businesses and
which supports
local charities,
will be available
from next week.
It follows other
currencies such
as the Brixton
pound. There
will be £1, £5,
£10 and £20
with notes
Beatrix Potter,
and John
along with
When the Finnish government
embarked on a trial of basic income it
was lauded as bold, evidence-focused
and innovative. The country became
a standard bearer in a worldwide
push towards basic income projects.
In failing to commit to widening
the scope of the trial in 2019 beyond
its current group, however, that
reputation is under threat.
Universal basic income (UBI) in its
purest form is a payment that every
citizen receives regularly, without
condition and as of right, in and out
of work. Universal credit is paid on a
household basis, is means-tested and
conditional, for example on recipients
proving that they are actively searching
for and accepting offers of work.
The Finnish trial is not universal, as
only 2,000 unemployed people were
selected for it, but it is a basic income.
As 2019 parliamentary elections
approach in Finland, it would appear
that boldness is being replaced by
timidity and politics. We know from
past experiments that basic income
has significant merits. While basic
income is in vogue now, it is not new.
When the data from a 1970s trial in
Dauphin in Canada was crunched, the
positive impacts on health, education
and wellbeing were clear. Research
from 2018 on Alaska’s dividend
scheme has shown that universal
payments do not undermine work,
as critics have claimed.
With economic security under
threat by technological changes,
new sources of economic security
could become necessary – UBI is one.
Developing a fully implementable
and affordable national UBI scheme
will take time. It is one reason the
Royal Society for the encouragement
of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce
has proposed a basic opportunity
dividend of up to £10,000 per person
in any given 10-year period to enable
people to make different choices
in their lives. This would be a step
towards UBI. But trials are essential,
too – which is why it is encouraging
that the Scottish government is
considering hosting some.
Hopefully, the next Finnish
government will review the evidence
of the basic income trial after the
election – the world is watching.
Anthony Painter
Happy birthday to YouTube?
It’s now a cesspit of clickbait
The United States
is a monarchy by
another name
A massive happy birthday to what looks like the world’s most influential dick
joke. Thirteen years ago, Jawed Karim uploaded a video of himself standing
in front of elephants and making a juvenile quip about their “really, really,
really long trunks”. The short clip, titled Me at the Zoo (pictured), would be
as unremarkable as it was unfunny, were it not for the fact that Karim is the
co-founder of YouTube and this was the first video uploaded on to the site.
I never thought I would be nostalgic about the good old days of elephant
genitalia gags. However, Me at the Zoo
seems endearingly wholesome when you
look at the terrifying cesspit of clickbait
content YouTube has become. In 13 years, the
website, which was purchased by Google in
2006, has redefined the nature of celebrity.
It has, to quote an Observer headline from
2010, made “superstars of everyday people”.
Increasingly, however, it seems to be making
psychopaths of everyday people. If you want
to make money from YouTube, then – to
reduce its constantly changing monetisation
rules to their simplest terms – you need
a shedload of views. In order to get those
views, some content creators are resorting to highly unethical behaviour.
Take Logan Paul, for example. The popular 22-year-old vlogger, who
netted £9.3m from YouTube in 2017, faced widespread criticism earlier this
year after uploading a video of a suicide victim in Japan. He did it, he said,
to “raise awareness” of mental health issues. It seems more likely, however,
that he did it to raise awareness of his own brand. And while he was widely
reprimanded for the sick stunt, it seems there really is no such thing as bad
publicity; Paul’s subscriber count jumped after the scandal. He went from
having 15 million subscribers in January to more than 17 million now.
Not all vloggers who have pushed boundaries to up their views have been
similarly rewarded. Last year, a 19-year-old US woman, Monalisa Perez, accidentally killed her boyfriend in a YouTube stunt gone wrong. The couple
had wanted to make a viral video in which Perez shot at an encyclopedia her
boyfriend was holding to his chest. The book, they thought, would stop the
bullet. It didn’t. Perez pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter last month.
Another YouTuber facing jail because of a quest for viral fame is 20-year-old
Kanghua Ren. Last January, Ren, who goes by the YouTube name ReSet, fed
Oreo cookies stuffed with toothpaste to a 52-year-old homeless man. “Maybe
I’ve gone a bit far, but look at the positive side: this will help him clean his
teeth,” Ren joked. The video reportedly made about €2,180 (£1,908) in
advertising revenue, before being removed from YouTube amid public outrage
and a police investigation. The Barcelona-based YouTuber was charged with
a crime against moral integrity and could face two years in prison.
It seems unfair that YouTube hasn’t been charged with crimes against
moral integrity alongside Ren. He isn’t one bad apple: he is an inevitable
byproduct of a platform that seems to prioritise money over morality.
Last week, an investigation by CNN found that YouTube was running ads
from companies on channels with extremist content, despite promising
to demonetise “hateful content” last year. Like Facebook, the founders
of YouTube have created a monster that has spun out of control. And, like
Facebook, YouTube spends a lot of time talking about “community” but
seems more interested in monetising it than protecting it.
When Barbara Bush died last week,
she was widely heralded as being the
second woman to be both the wife
and the mother of US presidents (the
first was Abigail Adams). This fact, I
noticed, was almost always rolled out
as if it was a great achievement, rather
than an indictment of the United
States’s political dynasties.
The US likes to think it did
away with the monarchy in 1776.
It prides itself on being a land of
equal opportunity, without the
class barriers that stratify British
society. However, I would argue
that hereditary privilege is even
more important in the US than it is
in the UK. Indeed, I’d even say the
US is a monarchy of sorts. While
it may not have a king or queen, it
has aristocratic families in which
power is a birthright. Take the
Kennedys, for example. Barring
2012, a Kennedy has held office
in the federal government every
year from 1947 to the present day.
Earlier this year, the Democrats
chose congressman Joe Kennedy,
a great-nephew of President John
F Kennedy, to give a response to
Trump’s State of the Union address.
Then there is the US’s widespread
“legacy” programmes – in which
universities give preferable
treatment to applicants who are
related to alumni of the institute.
Oxbridge is often, rightly, accused
of being a bastion of privilege. But
it’s nothing compared with the US’s
elite higher education institutions,
in which your last name seems to be
more important than your grades. It
was reported last year, for example,
that Harvard’s incoming class of 2012
is one-third legacy students.
So, if incessant news about the
royal baby has turned you into a
raging republican who is mortified
about Britain’s outdated monarchy,
take some small solace from the
US. The monarchy may well be
anachronistic, but at least it doesn’t
pretend to be otherwise.
A tale of two sauces
Earlier this month, Heinz asked Americans a difficult question:
should it release a combined mayonnaise-ketchup product? This
is not a revolutionary innovation; it is eaten all over the world and
is called everything from fry sauce to salsa rosada to ‘absolutely
disgusting’. But, you know how it is. Nothing truly exists until a multinational corporation creates a viral social media campaign around it.
So, mayochup is coming to the US. It may not be the condiment the
country needs, but I fear it is the condiment it deserves.
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
Analysis of sewers in
London found evidence
of greater use of gym
supplements than
cocaine and MDMA.
What does this tell us
about modern life?
The fitness fanatics
and the fatberg
➺ Words Emine Saner
long with
the flushed debris and the thriving
bacteria – the wet wipes, condoms,
and sanitary towels; the listeria and
E coli – that have congealed within
the giant fatbergs in the sewers
under central London, are chemicals
found in banned gym supplements.
In fact, they were discovered in
greater quantities than drugs such as
cocaine and MDMA.
In last night’s Fatberg Autopsy:
Secrets of the Sewers, on Channel
4, samples from a giant block were
examined to see what it contained.
Caused by people pouring cooking
oil down the drain – which then
congeals with items that should
not be flushed, such as wet wipes –
fatbergs are an increasing problem
for water companies, particularly
in urban areas. But the examination
of fatbergs’ chemical content also
provides a picture of the way we live.
The scientists who did the analysis
discovered numerous predictable
substances, such as paracetamol,
prescription medications and
ingredients used in skin creams. But
more surprising was the amount of
hordenine and ostarine – described
by the programme-makers as often
being found in gym supplements,
which made up more than half of the
pharmaceuticals found.
“There has been a huge amount
of money poured into this sort of
research as we’re starting to realise
the pharmaceuticals we use have
knock-on effects once they reach
the aquatic environment,” says Dr
John Wilkinson, a researcher at the
University of York’s environment
department, who works on the
Intelligence-led Assessment of
Pharmaceuticals in the Environment
(iPiE) project and was one of the
scientists on the programme. The
fatberg acts as a grotesque pull
d far
on our attention, but he found
higher concentrations of chemicals
in the water around the fatberg.
Wilkinson cautions against
reading too much into the results
especially where the compounds
associated with gym supplements
are concerned. “When you putt a
bucket down into the sewer and
bring a few millilitres of water back
up, what’s in those few millilitres
is not necessarily representative
ole of
of what’s underneath the whole
ak for
London. Because you get a peak
k it’s a
a couple of compounds, I think
bit dangerous if you use that data to
e city.”
draw conclusions on the whole
d to be
Extensive research would need
done, he says.
Ostarine, which can be used
as an alternative to steroids forr
muscle gain, is on the World Antist. Jim
Doping Agency’s prohibited list
McVeigh, the director of the Public
Health Institute and an expertt on
the use of steroids and image and
performance enhancing drugss
(IPEDs), is surprised by the findings.
“It is something we’re seeing an
increase of and a lot more talk of it
on message boards and group chats,
n hold
[but] it still hasn’t really taken
that much,” he says.
hted in
Hordenine is being highlighted
uct or
reports as a weight-loss product
ld have
sports supplement, but it could
come from a more conventional
source. A 2012 study of the analysis
of urine collected from urinalss
in central London found more
hordenine than anything else – but
ging it
researchers, while acknowledging
‘We’re finding that
we use have
knock-on effects
on the aquatic
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
was used as an appetite suppressant,
said it was “more likely [to be]
present as a breakdown product of
beer brewed from barley”.
However, it’s also clear that the
use and misuse of gym supplements
is a growing problem. The chemicals
highlighted by the programme are
not steroids, but they may – more
likely in the case of ostarine – be
part of a wider trend for training
supplements and steroid abuse. It
is thought there are up to 1 million
people in the UK who take anabolic
steroids and other IPEDs, and
a report last year by Public Health
Wales found that more than half
of users say they take them for
aesthetic reasons.
Needle exchange units around
the UK have seen a huge increase of
steroid users. “Around [a] 400-600%
increase [over 10 years],” says Julien
Baker, director of research at the
University of the West of Scotland’s
Institute of Clinical Exercise and
Health Sciences. “That is still an
underestimate because the people
who use the [equipment] may take
some for their friends.” Although
gym supplements such as ostarine
are not injected, this rise may be
indicative of a rise across the board.
When Baker started looking at
the issue of steroid use in around
2004, it was mostly concentrated
around “hardcore” weight-training
gyms, “particularly in workingclass places. But similarly, middle
classes are taking steroids as well.”
There has also been a noticeable
increase in men over 50 “taking
testosterone supplementation,
which is coinciding with an increase
in physical activity in that age group.
I think it’s [about] hanging on to
their youth.”
Of course, steroid use comes with
numerous health risks, including
high blood pressure, depression,
heart problems and even longterm cognitive damage – not to
mention the fact that, among
anabolic steroid injectors, the
Reply all
In it
Poppy Noor and readers
answer your questions
of the chemical
content of fatbergs
can also provide
a picture of the
way we live
Recently, some neighbours of my block
of flats called a meeting about a council
supported living development for people
with learning disabilities, which the
neighbours said would make the area
unsafe – they say people with learning
disabilities aren’t suited to communal
living. I am concerned they are trying
to mislead us, but what can I do?
What concerns me most about this discussion is that
there was no disability rights voice at the meeting. It is
not OK for these residents to make statements about what
is right for an entire community without involving them
in the discussion. Contact a local disability action group.
They can advise you on the statements being made,
add their voice to the discussion and challenge your
neighbours if their motives are as sinister as you suspect.
An online search will lead you to the council document
that summarises the proposal for the development. Call
the council and ask to speak to the planning officer about
the reasoning behind it. Local councillors can also be a
goldmine of information. Try to get a rounded opinion
– speaking to politicians from all sides will hopefully
give you an idea of any tensions over the development.
I have spoken to a planner working in a similar area
who recommends writing to the council once you have
done your research. They can tell you what the status of
the application is and if it is still being consulted on. Even
if the process is over, you should still make your views
known. With enough objections, the application could
be passed on to a committee of councillors to decide on.
If that’s the case, you are entitled to attend the meeting.
These residents rounded you up because they thought
you should be consulted. Trust your nose – you have done
some good detective work. But make sure you hold them
to it by challenging them if they really are fearmongering.
prevalence of HIV is as high as it is
among heroin users.
As for what the fatberg tells us
about ourselves – other than that
we shouldn’t be putting cooking
oil down the sink, or wet wipes
down the loo – it is, says Wilkinson,
“a reflection of the health and
wellbeing of the people who live in
d the
London”. But what he found
asn’t the
most interesting, he says, wasn’t
illicit drugs or the chemicalss that
may or may not have come from
her “the
sports supplements, but rather
level of plasticisers – compounds
found in plastic cups and water
bottles. They have been implicated
as oestrogenic compounds,
they can mimic the actions of
oestrogens, which have implications
for aquatic organisms at very
low concentrations.”
It’s not just about what we’re
putting into our bodies, and
excreting out, but the wider
effect that the contents of our
sewers has on everything else.
A sewer
holds a piece
of a fatberg
People are people, disabled or not
I work at a supported living house
within a small, mixed development
of private and social housing. It
would be simplistic to generalise
about groups of people, but I
can honestly say the people with
learning disabilities I support are
a positive, vibrant part of this
community and are well liked by
their neighbours. Frankly, people
with disabilities have just as much
right to choose where they live as
anyone else. People are people,
disabled or not; some are easy to get
along with, some are not. Any one
of us could find ourselves in adult
social care if our circumstances
changed; acquired brain injury
through accident or illness can
happen to anyone. The dark days
of long-stay hospitals and asylums
are behind us and we need to
value the contribution that people
with learning disabilities make in
our communities. I hope that the
new supported living scheme is a
positive experience for you and your
neighbourhood if it goes ahead.
Little pieces of Eden
It’s endemic to the planning system.
A new development, even if it is
minor, is a highly emotive issue and
brings out the absolute worst in
people. They see their little piece of
Eden being taken away from them,
panic, wind up their friends and
neighbours and, if they are affluent
enough, the wider community.
Residents should have more power
Residents should have more power
to block, in my opinion. Developers
should have more power to build
on brown land and refurbish old
buildings. More debate is needed,
but in a community, the needs of the
many should always outweigh the
needs of the few.
They are trying to sound altruistic
Communal living not suited to
people with special needs my arse!
It’s obvious that someone on this
committee has tried desperately
to make it sound as though their
objection is altruistic, when in all
likelihood they are either prejudiced,
worried about house prices, or just
don’t want it on their “nice” street.
Fear and anger
When I was a director of a charity that
ran group homes for adult psychiatric
patients we always ran into fear and
anger from neighbours when we
tried to open new facilities. What is
needed is calm, fact-based outreach
together, with local politicians with
the guts to tell constituents that
every community must accept its
obligations. The reality was that our
facilities were very quiet and well
maintained and our clients tended
to be extremely shy. I have lived near
a similar home for many years and I
don’t think most of my neighbours
even know its purpose – although lots
of them would probably be worried if
they learned of a new application for
something similar. It is important to
address neighbours’ fears.
The next problem
We are private tenants of an estate
of rare houses. The landlord
wants to demolish them to build
executive-style homes to sell: how
can we protect our homes? Email
your advice – or send a new question
for Poppy and readers to consider –
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
The meaning
of Meghan’s
messy bun
DIY hair, trouser suits and shoulder-robing point to
a woman with serious intentions. Jess Cartner-Morley
decodes the Meghan Markle look
am totally intrigued to see
what Meghan Markle wears
on her wedding day. Go
ahead and roll your eyes all
you want, you’re not going
to make me feel bad about
that. I definitely care about the dress
and I absolutely believe that what
the first self-proclaimed feminist to
join the firm wears at the moment
she becomes a royal matters. I care
about who the designer is, whether
it has long sleeves, whether there
is a second look for the evening.
Sorry not sorry.
But the most significant aspect
of the Meghan Markle look isn’t a
dress at all, but the way she fixes
her hair up: a messy bun that has
become her trademark look. In
January, for the couple’s first major
public outing of this year, a visit to a
Brixton radio station, the long grey
coat she wore, by the Canadian label
Smythe, immediately sold out. But
the most compelling aspect of how
she looked, the thing that lodged
in my mind, was the way her hair
was twisted into a casual bun, the
kind you do yourself. As a veteran
messy-bun wearer, I recognised
that bun. It’s the kind you do almost
absent-mindedly, without looking in
the mirror, with a few ends sticking
out at the nape of the neck and some
wispy bits from your middle parting
tucked behind your ears.
The loose ends are what
makes this style different from
the chignon, worn often by the
Duchess of Cambridge, which is
bun-shaped but covered, invisibly,
by a hairnet. Fellow bun-wearers
will immediately recognise that
while both techniques involve
having your hair pinned at the
nape of your neck, there is a world
of difference between Kate’s
hairnetted chignon, which requires
either a hairdresser or a complex
two-mirror setup, and Meghan’s
DIY bun, which can be done in
the back of a car. Although it was
reported in January that the
messiness of the bun broke royal
protocol – Meghan’s second
transgression, after the bare-legsno-nude-tights shocker of her
engagement photos – the royal-inwaiting has continued to wear it
regularly since. (For evening events
such as the Queen’s birthday this
weekend, she tidies it up a bit.)
Meghan’s bun is not in the joyless
lineage of Miss Trunchbull and
scary ballet teachers, but in that
of the messy buns favoured by
Gwyneth Paltrow when she is being
photographed for her cookbook
or Victoria Beckham backstage
at her catwalk shows. This kind
of messy bun adds an element of
relatability to a glossy image. And
it semaphores being busy, which is
much more aspirational than being a
lady of leisure these days. A packed
schedule is also the subtext of a
jacket worn shoulder-robe style, as
Meghan did last week. Shoulderrobing is a classic Anna Wintour
power move, telling the world that
(a) you are too busy for sleeves and
(b) you possess the kind of properly
structured tailoring that sits
photogenically on your shoulders
and keeps its shape.
Meghan and her soon-to-besister-in-law Kate have modernised
royal style in different ways.
Kate shook things up by showing
that you can look like a fairytale
princess while wearing high-street
pieces; Meghan is shaking things
up by showing that this fairytale
doesn’t have to mean dressing like
a princess. Kate wore a £34.99 Zara
dress for her going-away outfit after
her wedding, and her love for a
comfortable LK Bennett shoe is well
The budget-friendly piece is
important, and Meghan plays
this game too. She wore a dress
by Self-Portrait to meet the Queen for
the first time, which made her seem
super normal, Self-Portrait being
everyone’s go-to special occasion
label. (She wore Self-Portrait again,
on Saturday, prompting about half
the women who saw the image on
Instagram to shout out “I’ve got that
dress!”.) And I am quite sure that
the £45 Marks & Spencer sweater
she wore in January was at least a
semi-deliberate ploy to win over
the British public. But what stands
out most about her look is how
functional it is. How non-princessy
it is. For her very first official
evening engagement with Harry on
1 February, she chose a black
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
Meghan is
playing down the
dazzle to frame
herself in public
as a thoughtful,
substantial person
Markle wearing
a Victoria
Beckham knit
and a Mackage
coat on a visit to
Northern Ireland
last week
Beckham at New
York fashion
week last year
The Duchess of
Cambridge in
an Alexander
McQueen dress
and her hair in
a chignon at
Royal Ascot 2017
The dress
Markle in the
McQueen trouser
suit she chose
for her first
official evening
engagement with
With less than a month to go until the royal wedding,
the dress designer is still a mystery. So who are the
favourites and who are the outsiders?
Ralph &
A packed schedule
is also the subtext
of a jacket worn
shoulder-robe style
as Meghan Markle
did last week
Markle in an
Altuzarra dress
with a Camilla
and Marc
blazer draped
over her shoulders
at an event in
London last week
Alexander McQueen trouser
suit with a crisp white blouse,
when she could have chosen a floorlength gown.
In 2014, the actor spoke at the
One Young World conference
about challenging TV producers
over the sexualisation of her
character, the lawyer Rachel
Zane. “In the show, this season,
every script seemed to begin with
‘Rachel enters wearing a towel’,”
she said. “I said, ‘No, I’m not doing
it any more.’” She has applied
a little of the same approach
to her public persona since the
engagement announcement.
Hemlines are longer, clothes are
looser, colours more muted in
her official wardrobe than they
were when she was dressing for
the red carpet. Meghan, who
has written for Elle magazine
about being biracial and is a
longstanding ambassador for UN
Women, is deliberately playing
down the dazzle to ensure that
she frames herself in public as
a thoughtful and substantial
person. Sustainability is a theme
in Meghan’s wardrobe, with
lots of Stella McCartney pieces,
and jeans by the ethical Welsh
denim label Hiut.
There is a Rorschach test element
to the way we view the royals.
When Meghan wore a white beret
in March, some style observers
took it as a tribute to Princess Diana
(the same milliner, Stephen Jones,
designed both womens’ berets)
while others took it as a nod to her
feminist credentials (berets being
a standout accessory of the latest
collection from the house of Dior,
whose designer Maria Grazia Chiuri
has put feminism at the centre of its
world). Perhaps the British public
falls for each new princess figure
who joins the firm because, in the
absence of them actually saying
very much, we see what we want to
see. But Meghan’s messy bun makes
her perfect for 2018. Or, at least,
it looks that way to me.
The London-based label designed by Australian couple
Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo is the odds-on
favourite. Britain’s only haute couture house would be
a patriotic choice with an atelier handily situated close
to Markle’s Kensington home. What’s more, the
aesthetic – think superyacht glamour – has the
requisite scale for St George’s Chapel. January’s haute
couture show closed with a wedding dress (left) in
double-faced duchess satin with a draped sweetheart
bodice embroidered with Swarovski jewelled leaves,
grand flounced skirt with pearlescent micro beads and
scalloped lace veil. A semi-sheer black gown by Ralph
& Russo was the most eyecatching look in the couple’s
portfolio of engagement photos.
The woke choice. The strongest statement Markle could
make would be to emphasise ethics with a sustainable,
ethically sourced and made gown by Stella McCartney.
When I interviewed her last week, McCartney definitely
did not deny being The One. Markle has worn the brand
several times, including the caped gown she chose for
the Queen’s birthday party at the weekend (left). Plus, the
McCartneys are, in a way, British royalty. But while
McCartney has made wedding dresses, including
Madonna’s, she is not really known for frills or romance.
Her sleek, streamlined aesthetic is a more natural fit for
Markle’s everyday wardrobe than for a wedding day. A
contender for a slinky gown for the evening reception.
A persistent outlying rumour links Christopher Bailey,
the outgoing Burberry designer, with the wedding
dress. Bailey has a longstanding relationship with
Markle, having dressed her character on Suits. “I wear
a lot of Burberry on the show because Rachel’s whole
aesthetic is someone who comes from money and has a
real classic design sensibility,” Markle has said. Points in
favour: Burberry is a marquee name of British fashion; the
fashion industry would be charmed by a royal swansong
for the universally liked Bailey; he is a discreet, mature
character who could handle the palace and keep a secret.
Burberry is known for trenchcoats, not fairytale glamour
gowns, but Lily James’s inky red-carpet showstopper at
the Baftas (left) was by Burberry. You never know.
Backstage after Erdem’s most recent London fashion
week show (left), he explained that his inspiration this
season was Adele Astaire, Fred Astaire’s sister, who
married into the British aristocracy. Later that day, at a
reception at Buckingham Palace, his long-term client
the Duchess of Cambridge made a beeline across the
room for a chat. So I did ask, obviously, but he just
giggled and raised his eyebrows. Make of that what you
will. Erdem has Canadian connections in common with
Markle, who lived in Toronto for six years. She has also
worn Erdem’s clothes for years, choosing a printed
maxi-dress for a wedding she attended with Harry in
Jamaica last year. Aesthetically, this would be the most
fashion-forward choice.
The logic against Sarah Burton creating a spectacular
Alexander McQueen gown for the royal wedding is that
Burton created a spectacular Alexander McQueen gown
for the last royal wedding seven years ago (left). But
history shows this does not rule Burton out. Norman
Hartnell designed the Queen’s wedding dress in 1947,
and her sister Margaret’s in 1960. A second dress
commission would strengthen the ties between the
royal family and Alexander McQueen. The royal family
set a lot of store by trust, and Burton did an exemplary
job both of designing the dress and of not breathing a
word about it. The “Fab Four” of William and Kate plus
Harry and Meghan is a compelling new framing of the
royals, and this would give it an elegant symmetry. JCM
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
Ed Sheeran’s
reported earnings
from Spotify
(From left)
Ed Sheeran;
Little Boots;
Number of
streams Jones
has racked up
Number of streams
for the Latin version
of Ed Sheeran’s
Shape of You
How streaming
saved music
Ten years ago, the industry had collapsed, due to falling
CD sales. But with the biggest artists making millions
from Spotify, is the hedonistic pop high life back?
➺ Words Sam Wolfson
t was a disaster,” said
an executive called
Per Sundin when
asked to reflect on
his career during the
00s. “A truly terrible
time. I fired more than 250 people.
They were dark days: we’d be invited
to dinner somewhere and my wife
would say to me: ‘Don’t tell anyone
what you do for a living.’”
What ignoble occupation had
Sundin chosen? Arms dealer?
Cigarette manufacturer? CEO of
Enron? Not quite: he was the head of
Universal Music’s Nordic operation.
The “disaster” he was talking about
was working for a record label when
CD sales were in decline.
Sundin’s fatalistic outlook was
reflected across the music industry.
Despite the fact that artists such
as Adele and Rihanna were selling
millions of records, music companies
seemed perennially glum. As
revenues declined, they lashed out,
fighting legal battles with teenagers
who illegally downloaded music and
investing in propaganda campaigns
to try to teach pesky young people
the value of intellectual property.
For decades, a job in music had
been some of the most fun you
could have as an adult. Labels were
charging up to £20 for a CD, raking in
hundreds of millions of pounds. And
they typically received the lion’s
share. When Guy Hands, a private
equity manager, arrived at EMI in
2007, he wondered why hundreds
of thousands of pounds were being
spent on floral arrangements until
he realised that “fruit and flowers”
was accounting slang for drugs, sex
workers and other items otherwise
difficult to put on an expenses claim.
Parties, hedonism and drug use were
part of the job.
Then, in the space of a decade,
the music industry essentially
collapsed – in the US, music’s
biggest market, annual revenues
fell from $14.6bn in 1999 to $6.3bn
in 2009. Some artists still did OK,
particularly those who focused
on live shows, merchandise and
brand endorsements, but labels
had to dramatically cut costs. At
EMI, Hands did away with the slush
fund as well as almost half the
workforce. At the label Per Sundin
ran, the majority of the team was
laid off. The expense accounts, the
marketing budgets, the joy of taking
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
a punt on a weird band of misfits in
the hope something magical might
happen – it was all over. Chart music
became safer; the bestselling records
of the 2010s have all been by middleof-the-road acts with lots of “nan
appeal”: Adele, Ed Sheeran, Michael
Bublé and Take That.
People were talking about the
decline, maybe even the end, of the
music business. But recently things
have started to change. In 2015,
Universal Music Group, the biggest
player in the music industry, posted
revenues of more than $5bn, about
$1bn of which came from streaming.
Yesterday, it was announced that
streaming music revenues had
surpassed income from the sale of
traditional formats for the first time
last year. And earlier this month,
we learned that British music
company revenues grew faster in
2017 than in any year since 1995,
with labels experiencing a 10.6%
rise in earnings year-on-year. British
companies enjoyed a 45% increase
in subscription streaming revenue in
just one year – from £239m in 2016 to
£347m in 2017. Spotify went public
this month, with the company now
valued at $25bn. And Apple Music
says it is catching up in terms of
paying users, especially in the US.
There is money sloshing around,
but it is not ending up in the places
you might expect. It’s a world where
Nordic cloud-rappers and South
American reggaeton artists are
watching their bank balances grow,
whereas young, hyped guitar bands
are struggling.
The balance of power has shifted
in all kinds of unexpected ways.
What has happened, in the space
of a couple of years, is the biggest
change to the industry since the
launch of Napster. Where is all the
money ending up? “Five years ago,
the kinds of artists we work with
(Left) Jones;
(top) Drake;
(above) Skepta
wouldn’t see a penny until their
album came out – and even then the
album would have to do really well
to make any money back,” says Sahil
Varma, who works in A&R for a midsized London based independent
label, 37 Adventures. “Now, you’re
making money from day one.”
He gives the example of Jones, a
soulful singer-songwriter signed to
the label. She is not a big artist; she
plays mid-sized venues in London
and her debut album failed to make
the Top 200. But on Spotify she
has been streamed more than 70m
times. “That equates to revenue of
hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Five years ago, with such low sales,
she would have been dropped the
week after her album came out.”
This was always the promise of
the streaming revolution. When
South American
reggaeton artists
are watching
their bank
balances grow
Spotify launched in 2008, it pledged
to defeat music piracy and ensure
that artists got paid for their music –
but it quickly emerged that what
they were willing to pay artists
was a couple of thousandths of
a penny for each stream. There is
a big debate over exactly how many
thousandths – the latest survey by
Digital Music News suggests that
Apple Music pays $0.00783 and
Spotify pays $0.00397. However,
Rolling Stone has reported that
artists and labels with greater clout
in the industry are getting better
rates. When I ask Tim Dellow, at the
indie label Transgressive (home
to Foals and Flume), he says that
they are “on a par” with the majors.
What remains true is that the biggest
artists will have more favourable
deals with their labels, allowing
them to see a bigger percentage of
royalties, just as in the CD era.
Whatever the specifics, we are
talking about tiny amounts of
money, especially compared with
CD sales. Initially, artists revolted,
with, for example, Thom Yorke
removing his solo album The Eraser
from Spotify in 2013. Smaller artists
signed to big labels were essentially
powerless to choose whether their
music went on to the service or not,
and complained that labels were
(Below) Nils
Frahm; (bottom)
Fleetwood Mac
Number of
monthly streams
for Nils Frahm,
from appearing
on playlists
The reported amount
Spotify pays
per stream
The value
of Spotify
in April 2018
raking in big profits from Spotify
while artists were seeing scraps.
But, over time, it has become
clear that the fraction of a penny you
receive from a stream can’t be seen
in the same context as the royalty on
a CD sale. The money an artist made
from a physical album was a one-off
payment; within weeks of it being
released, this revenue frequently
dried up.
On Spotify, every time a listener
wants to play the song, the artist
gets a tiny bit of money. If a listener
adds the song to one of their own
playlists, that can mean it will be
repeatedly revisited over a lifetime.
If it gets added to one of Spotify’s
curated mood playlists – Acoustic
Spring, for example – the artist can
expect tens of millions of plays. Acts
whose biggest hits came well before
the streaming era are banking huge
new revenues from their existing
catalogue. Fleetwood Mac have
11 million monthly listeners; that’s
more than Stormzy, George Ezra
or Harry Styles. They will collect
a huge cheque every month without
doing anything.
There are ways to exploit the
system, too. “Almost every track
we release, we then release in an
acoustic version a few weeks later,”
says Varma. “The acoustic version
will end up on different playlists
to the main version – ones such as
Sunday Chilled, and often it will get
more streams.”
Some bigger artists have taken
this “moneyball” approach to
extremes. Not content with the
1.7bn streams his song Shape of
You has had on the site, Ed Sheeran
released an acoustic version (74m
streams), a reggaeton version for the
Latin market (69m), a version with a
Stormzy verse (50m), a Major Lazer
version for dancehall playlists (48m)
and three further dance remixes
(32m streams).
When just the remixes of one
Sheeran song get more streams than
some artists will have in their entire
career, you can see why big labels
are excited. Analysts say the biggest
artists, such as Sheeran and Drake,
have received in excess of $50m
from Spotify before other streaming
services are factored in.
“Our catalogue has become so
much more valuable,” says Alec
Boateng, the co-head of A&R at
Atlantic Records. “That means we’ve
got more money swirling around
the whole company, allowing us
to invest pretty heavily in A&R
and development.”
“If you walked into any major
label meeting this week, the thing
they’d be talking about is how
‘Spotify-friendly’ an artist is,” says
Varma. “By that, they mean: can
they get on Spotify’s playlists,
such as New Pop Revolution or
Chilled Pop?” Artists such as Nils
Frahm, a relatively obscure German
monthly listeners
for Fleetwood Mac
composer, gets more than 2.5m
monthly streams from appearing on
playlists such as Peaceful Piano and
Songs for Sleeping.
Music used to be dominated by
audiences with the most spending
power – so middle-class, middleaged people, buying albums at
Tesco as part of their weekly shop,
often decided what topped the
charts. Now, Afrobeat, Danish
rap, hundreds of genres of niche
electronic music and particularly
British urban music are flourishing
commercially, without having
to make any concessions to
the mainstream.
“Before, you had to get on
mainstream radio, have a certain
style or sound,” says Boateng.
“It’s allowing for a more diverse
proposition for British music and
a wider range of people who are
stars. A generation are coming
through and feeling free.”
Even artists who had been written
off by the industry are finding an
afterlife on streaming. After her
much-hyped debut, the BBC Sound
of 2010 winner, Little Boots, failed
to make the Top 40 with her second
record and was dropped by her label.
‘Before, I might
have sold a ton of
records, but none
of that money
went to me’
Now she releases her own music to
a small but committed fanbase.
“Before, I might have sold a ton
of records, but none of that money
went to me after I got my advance
and I had very little say in how
the money was spent,” she says
on the phone from Los Angeles,
where she now lives. “Now, when
I release something, I have to pay
a percentage to my distributor, but
most of it ends up with me. It’s not
a huge amount, and I think it should
be higher, but I have control and
I have transparency. If I know I’m
going to get 5,000 streams of a track
I can do the maths and say: that’s
this amount of money, so I can spend
this amount of money on a new EP
and project how much I’ll make
back. I’m like a boutique business.”
Indeed, streaming has allowed
artists such as Chance the Rapper,
Skepta, Stormzy and Novelist to
release music without signing to
a traditional label, with hundreds of
smaller artists successfully following
a similar path.
I wonder if this all sounds too
good to be true – can streaming
really be making things better for
small artists, big artists and labels?
Boateng says there aren’t really any
losers, but some music managers
and label staff I speak to say that
if you don’t fit neatly into Spotify
playlists, it can be a lot harder to
make an impact. This is particularly
true if you’re an unusual indie band
whose record someone might once
have bought as a status symbol, but
not listened to that often. Spotify’s
hip-hop playlist Rap Caviar,
described by Vulture as “the most
influential playlist in music”, has 9.3
million subscribers. The service’s
Punked playlist, described as “vital,
angry new music from the bleeding
edge of modern punk”, has fewer
than 5,000.
There are lots of small ways
Spotify has changed the way music
is made. The intros of songs have
become shorter to stop listeners
skipping a track with a slow buildup.
Albums have got longer, often
clocking in at more than 20 tracks,
simply because listening to a 20-track
album generates twice as much
revenue as listening to a 10-track one.
Acts with global appeal obviously
perform much better than those
who are only popular in one country,
which means region-specific sounds
can lose out. The creation of so many
activity-based playlists (music for
running, music for relaxing) has
also proven challenging for artists
who make abrasive music. “It’s
undoubtedly easier to programme
‘mood-based’ tunes than music
that’s unignorable, interruptive
and commands your full attention
rather than passively soundtracking
another activity,” says Dellow.
In practice, this has meant that
electronic and urban artists are
performing better than they would
without streaming whereas local
alternative acts are struggling.
A band such as Pale Waves, fifth on
the BBC Sound of 2018 tastemakers
poll with lots of radio play and
written about extensively in the
music press, have 428,000 monthly
listeners. 6ix9ine, a Brooklyn
“SoundCloud rapper” who is barely
played on UK radio, has 6.1 million.
For Dellow, whose label signs
mostly alternative acts, this just
means they can’t give up on other
revenue streams, including physical
sales. “In a sense, we have two
markets: those who were previously
just listening to music on the radio
and not going to shows or buying
albums – and that’s great, and
they’re easier to reach now – but also
a market of diehard obsessives who
I’d love to see still supporting an
artist with a purchase if they’ve been
repeatedly streaming and enjoying
a release.”
Few insiders would air their
worries about Spotify on the
record, citing the sensitivity of the
relationship. The shadowy decisionmaking process by Spotify playlist
compilers is a concern, with so much
power concentrated in the hands of
a few, often unidentified, people.
Spotify, which has 3,000 employees,
refused repeated requests for an
interview. (“No one from the team is
available,” its publicist said.)
Still, even the insiders I speak to
who do express reservations say
that the overall benefits of streaming
outweigh the negatives. There is
a sense that streaming has created
a more democratic music industry;
one in which artists can make money
with or without a label.
Even Sundin, that despairing
Nordic label boss, thinks things are
changing. “Thanks to [streaming] –
especially Spotify, I would say – we
were taken out of the dark times,” he
said in a trade press interview. “We
went from bad boys to something
much better.”
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
How I raised
the ghost of
Johnny Cash
When Frank Skinner saw the hellraising singer as
a boy, it kicked off a lifelong obsession. The comedian
reveals why he has written – and starred in – a drama
about the Man in Black’s fabled fight with an ostrich
he first live gig I ever
saw was Johnny Cash
at the Birmingham
Odeon in 1971. I was
14 and went with my
dad. He wasn’t really
a Cash fan. He liked light operatic
tenors like Josef Locke and Mario
Lanza. He once, after several drinks,
was unable to bring Lanza’s name to
mind. In desperation, he asked my
mum for help. “I don’t remember,”
she said. “Well, of course you don’t
remember,” he replied. “That’s
because you’re rubbish and all your
family are rubbish.” At the time, it
seemed unnecessarily harsh, but
now I can’t help thinking that, if
he’d lived, he could have completely
revitalised the quiz show format.
I’d got into Cash after I’d used my
pocket money to buy his Live at San
Quentin album, just because I liked
the cover. It turned out I liked the
record inside even more. There were
songs about being on the run from
the law, one about a train wreck in
which the driver was “scalded to
death by the steam”, and another
about a man called Sue brawling
with his estranged father.
It was recorded at San Quentin
State Prison in California and the
whole atmosphere of the album was
electric, with whoops of approval for
any reference to casual violence and/
or reform of the penal system. They
loved him. Cash was in with the
locked-in crowd.
The Birmingham gig was
amazing as well. To my delight,
Cash began the show with his
catchphrase: “Hello. I’m Johnny
Cash.” As catchphrases go, it’s not
a complex construction but it had
the advantage of being very hard to
plagiarise. Cash did all his best-loved
songs. Even my dad liked it.
It could be said that it was Cash
who, just a few months later, started
me on the rocky road to alcoholism.
Hearing that I’d been to the Odeon
show, my elder brother, Terry,
suggested we visited a nearby pub
in Smethwick to see a Johnny Cash
impersonator. I’d never been in a
pub before so I was a bit scared, but
I couldn’t resist the opportunity to
relive that glorious first gig, albeit
with a stand-in for the great man.
It was a rites-of-passage night
for me. My brother laughed off my
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
request for dandelion and burdock
and got me a big, dark pint of beer.
I didn’t much like the taste but my
whole body tingled with excitement,
like when you put the last piece into
a jigsaw. The counterfeit Cash was
good. He even did the catchphrase,
thus destroying my anti-plagiarism
theory. When he stepped off
stage, my brother called him over.
Faux Cash looked at me and said:
“He’s a bit young.”
“Yeah,” said my brother, “but
he’s seen the real Johnny Cash
live on stage.” Copy-Cash looked
crestfallen. “Why did you bring
him here then?” he said and walked
away. I learned a valuable lesson that
It could be said that
it was Cash, just a
few months later,
who started me
on the rocky road
to alcoholism
night: when you meet a big fish in a
small pond, never acknowledge the
existence of a larger body of water.
I also learned, after three whole
pints, that alcohol made life lovely.
I don’t know if country music
often leads to heavy drinking,
but I’d say the reverse is certainly
true. The more I drank, the more
country I listened to, and Cash
was my soundtrack of choice.
Alcoholism and country music
are both tremendous aids to selfdramatisation. I saw myself as an
outlaw, someone outside the polite
norms of society. I never actually,
as the Cash lyric goes, “shot a man
in Reno, just to watch him die”. But
then again, even if I had, I probably
wouldn’t have remembered it.
Meanwhile, Cash was also living
on the slippery slope – though
obviously he had a much more
interesting life than me, so he messed
it up in much more interesting ways:
popping pills, wrecking hotel rooms
and getting ripped down the middle
in a fight with his own ostrich. He was
the Man in Black, I was only the Man
in Black Country.
By the time I quit drinking in
1986, Cash’s career had nosedived.
His brand of “shot my woman down”
theatrics was no longer in vogue.
I was mocked when I told people he
was my first gig. Sans booze, Cash’s
troubled outsider lyrics didn’t move
me as much as they had, but I still
loved him. Over the space of a few
long drives, mainly to and from
West Bromwich Albion matches,
I listened to him recite the entire
New Testament on 16 CDs. The
themes of being on the run from the
law, gruesome death and father-son
relationships still featured.
After I became a professional
comedian, I took to listening to
Cash’s classic hit Ring of Fire before
I went on stage. I always found it
completely exhilarating. Some
comedians used Bolivian marching
powder before they went on. All
I needed was Mexican trumpets.
In the 1990s, the music producer
Rick Rubin saw past the cheesy
Christmas-specials sparkle and
country music bouffant and
treated Cash like a real musician
again. He redefined him as the primal
American folk singer. Suddenly, he
was a cool “first-ever gig” story again.
‘I play him as
an Isaiah on
analgesics’ … Cash,
whose ostrich fight
left him addicted
to painkillers
script knits together the ostrich
encounter from 1981 with a second
incident from 1983, when Cash
wrecked a Nottingham hotel room
during a UK tour. He suffered from
hallucinations in Nottingham. It
seemed to me that the nature of
these hallucinations was open to
speculation. So I put two and two
together and got ostrich.
I’ve even been allowed to play the
lead. I don’t naturally look like Cash,
but a prosthetic version of
‘My wig’s almost
his much-broken nose and
as bad as his real
a wig that looked almost as
hair’ … Skinner
bad as Cash’s real hair in the
in disguise;
early 1980s helped towards
below, the Cash the final transformation.
fan in his youth I figured we could explain
any further shortfall by the
fact that addiction to painkillers can
really change a man.
Also, just as we began shooting,
I was struck down by a horrible
virus. Lying on my dressing room
floor, being sick into a bin while fully
made-up and costumed as Cash, is
the sort of preparation for a part that
even Daniel Day-Lewis might balk
at. We lost three days filming and I
returned with a voice that sounded
like a late-night message from the
underworld. It was perfect.
Of course, Cash was the subject
of an award-winning movie,
Walk the Line, but I have to say,
though I probably shouldn’t, that
I prefer my portrayal to Joaquin
I still get a pain
in my heart when
someone at a
checkout asks
m if I’d like
cash back
h died
di d in
i 2003. I shed
h d a tear.
It’s what country music fans do.
I still get a pain in my heart when a
checkout person asks me if I’d like
cash back. So I decided to write a
half-hour TV comedy about the
man. The fight with the ostrich was
my first thought. Not only does it
feature a music legend battling with
a creature whose natural design is
fundamentally comic, the story is
also further enriched by the fact
that Cash’s resulting injuries led
to a painkiller addiction.
On one level, this is a tragic set
of circumstances, but I can’t help
thinking, for Cash, it must have been
almost worth having the addiction
for the anticipatory thrill of that
moment when yet another doctor
asks you what triggered it. The
He goes for the
ex gunslinger aspect of
I concentrate on Cash
h decidedly unstable
Old Testament
prophet, a
o of Isaiah on analgesics.
Th said, I still think
tth best Cash portrayal
I ever saw was that
in the Smethwick
He really got the
inner-torment thing.
What I didn’t
want to do, in all
this, is mock
mo a great man’s addiction.
I love
and the stories of him
being a drug-crazed destroyer
are massively outnumbered by
stories of his kindness and social
conscience. It’s just that those latter
stories aren’t funny. Still, I think his
better side is apparent in the show.
As is his amazing music.
Anyway, I spent a day as Cash, in
a field of synthetic snow, fighting
with an ostrich puppet operated by
the man who controls BB8, the droid
in Star Wars. It’s not as good a story
as “an ostrich got me addicted to
painkillers” or even “Johnny Cash
got me addicted to alcohol” – but it’s
not bad.
Johnny Cash and the Ostrich is on
Sky Arts on Thursday at 9pm, as
part of its Urban Myths series.
Her story …
one of the
mini-plays in Trial
When rape trials end in acquittal,
what do the women making the
claims do next? A new show tells
their stories, writes Helen Pidd
of the
hey are the women whose voices
we rarely hear, whose faces we
are not allowed to print in the
newspaper. A rape trial ends
in an acquittal. The accused
gives a defiant statement on
the court steps. But from the woman whose
allegations began the judicial process we hear
nothing. Regardless of the verdict, she remains
entitled to lifelong anonymity – unless she
is prosecuted for making a false allegation.
She may want to tell her story but the media
cannot, will not, publish it. She has not been
believed, and to give her publicity would be to
suggest that the jury got it wrong.
A new site-specific play premiering in Bolton
this week gives a platform to the disbelieved.
Trial, by Manchester’s award-winning
Monkeywood Theatre, takes the stories of real
women who have suffered sexual violence
and explores the devastating impact of being
portrayed as a liar. Staged in Bolton’s grand
council chamber, which was once a court room,
it presents four individual stories, woven
together with excerpts from a transcript of a
real sexual abuse trial. All identifying features
have been stripped from the transcript to avoid
a libel claim from the defendant, but the case
centred on historic allegations made by a series
of women who said they had been groomed by
him when they were girls.
Monkeywood met one of the complainants,
who is now in her 40s, and had told the court
she was abused between the ages of eight and
12. She has given her blessing for her story
to be used and now works with survivors of
Courtroom drama
… the show takes
place in Bolton’s
council chamber
sexual violence, according to Monkeywood
co-artistic director, Sarah McDonald Hughes,
who has written one of the four mini-plays that
comprise Trial.
McDonald Hughes will play the role of a girl
who wakes up, having been raped on a night
out. She can’t remember what’s happened at
all. “It’s about the process of going to court and
what happens in the court process,” says the
playwright. “Really it’s about how she starts
off loving being a girl and loves life and feels
really powerful and in control and actually she
learns through this experience that you can’t
be that free when you’re a girl.”
A second story, written and performed by
Rosina Carbone, is set around a school reunion
where a woman remembers when her friend
was falsely accused of sleeping with a boy. “It
explores the idea of frigidity and the double
standards girls face,” says Carbone. A third
story, by Nisa Cole, tells the story of a girl who
is groomed and tells her teacher, only to be
accused of not telling the truth. The fourth, by
Eve Steel, looks at the lifelong effect of being a
witness in a sex abuse trial.
For legal reasons, the theatre company
cannot link any of the stories with their
real-life inspirations and insist the four
protagonists are composite characters. The
company insists it is not suggesting that all
men accused of rape are guilty. “No one is
saying that it isn’t awful to be falsely accused.
But if you look at the percentage of people who
make false allegations it is tiny, compared with
the number of rape allegations which end in
a conviction,” says McDonald Hughes. “This
isn’t a play about how many times men are
falsely accused of rape. We are telling stories
we feel are largely untold and unseen on stage,
characters who you don’t see and if you do see,
are usually portrayed in a certain way.”
A landmark study by the CPS found that in a
17-month period, while there were just under
6,000 prosecutions for rape, there were only 35
for making false allegations of rape. A significant
number of these cases involved young, often
vulnerable people – some with mental health
issues. Meanwhile, only 6% of rape complaints
end up with a rape conviction.
While developing the show the writers
have worked with Rape Crisis and consulted
survivors of sexual violence throughout.
“We’ve checked meticulously for truth,”
says McDonald Hughes. They have also held
workshops with young people, exploring their
own experiences. So far the feedback has been
positive, though some victims said “it’s even
worse than you’re making it seem”.
Eyebrows may be raised at the choice of a
male director, Monkeywood’s Martin Gibbons,
who admits he still has reservations about that.
But McDonald Hughes says it’s not a problem:
“I can see the argument for having a female
director, but this isn’t a women’s issue. It’s
really important that men engage with this. It’s
everyone’s problem. With the whole #MeToo
debate you often hear men talking out because
they can imagine it was their sister or daughter
and it makes me want to tear my hair out. You
should care about it because she’s a person.”
Trial is at the Bolton Octagon on 26-28 April.
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
Live reviews
reception …
Mike Skinner
of the Streets
An easygoing couple
… Jonathan Lemalu
within five songs, Skinner is out in
and Tara Erraught
the crowd, lurching across the first
few rows while still hitting his lyrical
marks on the clipped, skipping
garage of Has It Come to This.
His band includes Rob Harvey on
guitar and this former singer from
the West Yorkshire baggy-rockers the
Music has convincingly recast himself
as a skinhead
Bez, slamdancing
with infectious
seems to
abandon across
vibrate with
the stage.
antic energy,
Harvey’s spotlight
more geyser
moment comes
than geezer.
when he lends
By song five
his viking wail to
he is out in
Going Through
Hell, a grittedthe crowd
teeth ode to
endurance built
on an aggressively
angular rock riff.
It is the only song from Skinner’s
unloved fifth album Computers and
Blues to get a runout, but emerges as
a surprise standout.
Gaiety theatre, Dublin
The prankster vibe extends to
undercutting the Streets’ emotional
production of
touchstone Dry Your Eyes with a
the greatest of all
false-start burst of Bryan Adams.
operatic comedies
During an extended encore – which
is as good a way as
includes a stomp through new
any of launching a
song Boys Will Be Boys, with rising
new opera company.
Birmingham grime star Jaykae
Irish National Opera opened its
spitting verses in a Scotland away
doors last month with a touring
shirt – Skinner, now stripped to the
production of Thomas Adès’s
waist, squints toward the nearest bar
Powder Her Face. But this new
and asks if someone will order him a
Marriage of Figaro, directed by
double vodka. He repeats his request
Patrick Mason, was its first bespoke
during a newly disco-fied version
show. Five more productions are
of Weak Become Heroes and then,
planned for the rest of 2018.
during the boisterous Chas-andThe company’s policy is to cast
Dave knees-up of Fit But You Know
Irish artists as often as possible,
It, throws himself into and on to the
and so with the Irish Chamber
crowd, propelled, in raffish repose,
Orchestra in the pit, conducted by
across the venue to claim his drink.
Peter Whelan, the lineup for Figaro
He downs it messily to deafening
included just three “international
cheers before being transported with
guests”. Standards were high, and
unnatural speed back to the stage on
Whelan injected plenty of wiry
aloft arms. It all happens with such
energy into Mozart’s score.
bizarre fluidity that it looks like a
Mason and designer Francis
magic stunt by some trickster god,
O’Connor have updated the action
and feels like a Streets coronation.
to the late 1960s and the last
Graeme Virtue
knockings of the Franco regime.
It’s an unfussy, non-interventionist
is both gently evocative – often
reworking, with an airy look that
betraying French tradition in this
relies on costumes to pin down the
respect – and fierce: the turbulent
period definitively – Cherubino
virtuoso toccata that emerges from
wears flares and Cuban heels, and
relative calm seems to embody anger the chorus of local girls that greet
and total bewilderment. Brutal
the Count in the third act seem to
whipcracks make one flinch.
know all about flower power.
Such ferocity is countered by
But dramatic sparks didn’t
aural meditations on the worlds
always fly as they should, perhaps
from which the slaves were torn,
because, as Figaro and Susanna,
notably rainforest and its wildlife,
Jonathan Lemalu and Tara Erraught
and the sea over which they were
made a fairly easygoing couple,
transported, too. Air between
both more convincing vocally than
the notes becomes symbolic.
dramatically. Ben McAteer was a
Occasional visual cameos focus
conventionally blustering Count,
the ear: at one point, Pécou’s
but there was a bit more grit as the
fingers play in a bowl of water, the
opera went on, especially from
rippling sounds slightly amplified,
Máire Flavin’s Countess – her Dove
as too is the rustling of plastic,
Sono was the musical highlight
spelling quiet rain. A sense of ritual
of the evening. The real dramatic
enactment adds to the aura of the
truthfulness came from Aoife
performance: slow, deliberate, and
Miskelly’s beautifully awkward
sometimes shocking.
Cherubino, and his flirtations with
Outre-mémoire has become
Barbarina (Amy Ní Fhearraigh). But
a signature piece for Ensemble
in this of all operas, the emotional
Variances and Pécou, and a
depth and complexity should be
necessary reflection.
more widespread than that.
Rian Evans
Andrew Clements
The Marriage
of Figaro
The Streets
Academy, Glasgow
Touring until Friday
Victoria Rooms, Bristol
fter a decade-long run
of five albums that
described a parabola
of hedonistic excess,
success, anxiety and
burnout in forensic
detail, Mike Skinner wrapped up the
Streets in 2011. For someone who
became a household name by being
both overanalytical and hyper-verbal,
the cherubic garage-poet has been
rather quiet about why 2018 felt like
the right time to mount a comeback.
But here we are, midway through a
sold-out tour of relatively modest
venues, that will culminate this
week with three consecutive nights
at Brixton Academy.
The vibe is manic and celebratory,
and not just because Skinner sprays
multiple bottles of champagne
over the crowd like a Formula One
champ. In a black Trapstar football
top and with hair as close-cropped
as it has ever been (the 39-yearold recently described his current
designer sportswear look as “health
goth”), Skinner seems to vibrate
with antic energy, more geyser than
geezer. Backed by a five-piece band
and flanked by two videographers
who seem increasingly nonplussed at
the number of drinks sailing through
the air, he resuscitates some of his
earliest songs, racking up tracks
from his debut album Original Pirate
Material while sustaining a constant
stream of enthusiastic badinage.
“Can you see me, Glasgow?” he keeps
repeating, like a stage mesmerist
embedding a trigger phrase.
If some material occasionally
betrays its vintage – on opener Let’s
Push Things Forward, for example,
there is a shoutout to search engine
also-ran AltaVista – Skinner’s deft
sketches of romantic skirmishes,
chemical intoxication and the soapy
storylines of a good night’s clubbing
remain vivid. The fact that most of the
audience seem to have internalised
every well-turned line helps offset
what is at times a stodgy sound mix.
The atmosphere is so buoyant that,
hierry Pécou’s quartet
(Beyond Memory)
was written in 2003,
conceived as a
commemoration of
the slave trade. Bristol new music
festival’s decision to programme the
piece in a city whose prosperity was
based on its historic connection with
slave trading was canny.
Pécou’s conscious pursuit of
this idea was also an exploration of
his own DNA: having trodden the
conventional compositional path
through the Paris Conservatoire, he
became increasingly aware that his
family roots in Martinique set him
apart in terms of cultural heritage.
Outre-mémoire is thus a work
that is intensely personal and yet
universal, and invokes fundamental
and still timely questions about
wealth and poverty, exploitation
and oppression.
Scored for piano, flute/alto flute,
clarinet/bass clarinet and cello, its
12 movements span 75 minutes,
Signature piece …
Ensemble Variances
and the ambition to create a work
with a global perspective is reflected
in its moments of theatricality.
The opening has each musician
playing tiny constellations of bells,
standing in each corner of the hall,
representing the four points of the
compass. As pianist, Pécou is the
first to move to the keyboard and,
musically, his is the centre of gravity
to which the other instruments
are constantly drawn. The pianism
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
TV and radio
Watch this
All in the family
… Nicola Walker,
Annabel Scholey,
Fiona Button
and Deborah
Findlay in
The Split
Britain’s Fat Fight
9pm, BBC One
The Split
The UK spends more money on treating
obesity and diabetes than it spends on the
police, the fire service and the judicial system
combined. Which suggests that Jamie Oliver’s
2005 challenge to British eating habits was
largely in vain. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
(above) is having a try now, attacking sneaky
marketing strategies, attempting to persuade
Newcastle upon Tyne to tighten its belt
collectively and learning why obesity is a class
issue. Watchable and well-intentioned, even if it
feels as if we have all been here before.
Lucy Mangan
The meat of Abi Morgan’s drama is juicy
and marbled with possibility. The gravy
in between the big scenes is even better
am never bothering to watch a drama that
doesn’t show people having a laugh ever again.
That was my greatest takeaway from the new
drama by Abi Morgan, who won Baftas for Sex
Traffic and The Iron Lady, and an Emmy for The
Hour, and is not quite as flippant as it sounds.
The meat of the thing lay in the story of two
generations of lawyers working the high-end divorce
circuit in their respective firms. In the first of six
episodes, Hannah (Nicola Walker, leading a uniformly
fine set of performances) has just left Defoes, which her
parents founded. Her mother, Ruth (Deborah Findlay),
refused to step down as promised and let Hannah, the
ever-responsible oldest of her three daughters, take
over, so Hannah departed and started at another topflight family law firm. More chaotic middle child Nina
(Annabel Scholey) – vestiges of the party-girl-she-was
trailing behind her like the drifts of papers that fall in her
wake as she rushes, late, to meetings – is still at Defoes.
The world of big divorce cases being small, by the
time the episode is out, the two sisters are on opposing
sides of a custody case involving a comedian, Rex Pope
(played by Mathew Baynton, whose nervy soulfulness
works perfectly), and his soon-to-be-ex-wife-and-agent.
Defoes has semi-poached a big businessman fish from
Hannah, and the fish’s wife, Goldie, hires Hannah in her
turn. There’s much more, but it’s all superbly paced and
never overwhelming.
Subplots include: Nina having sex with Rex; youngest
Defoe daughter, Rose, getting married and already
having to push away doubts; dad Oscar returning
unannounced after a 30-year absence for reasons yet
unknown; and one of Hannah’s new colleagues being
an old friend with whom she once had A Thing and who
is totally up for Another Thing (or rather, another bit of
very much the same Thing) despite the fact that Hannah
is now married to and has three children with Nathan
(Stephen Mangan, no relation).
Oh yes, the meat of the thing is a generous joint, rich,
juicy and marbled with possibility. The interplay of
family and office politics, the shifting perspectives on
marriage from people at different stages of loving and
being left, the ramifications of abandonment and failure,
the fragility of family, all of it refracted – still so rare! Still
such potential! – through a primarily female lens is a
meal by itself. But as my grandmother used to say after
Sunday lunch: The meat was good, but oh! The gravy!
The gravy here is all the scenes in between the
“important” ones, in which the family, or friends, or
colleagues just … talk. Rib each other. Mutter dark,
pointed jokes. Tease. Undermine each other, or bolster
their connections by being witty, clever, daft and sarky.
Just like real family, friends and colleagues. Just like
real people. Morgan’s characters
tell us most in the interstices,
when the world falls away. The
three drunk sisters trying on their
mother’s clothes while the surprise
70th birthday party she didn’t want
unfolds downstairs. An overloaded
goodbye from a female friend that
tells Goldie all she needs to know
rib each other
about why her husband is leaving.
and mutter
Hannah and Nathan diving back into
dark, pointed a party because they’ve forgotten
jokes just like their kids (“Children!”); the agentwife telling Rex he can’t use the stuff
real people
about her mum’s cancer in the act,
but her leaking milk everywhere
while breastfeeding is fine; Nathan
plunging through the revellers when
the younger set take over the playlist. “This music must
die! You’ll kill all the old people!” Just throwaway lines,
but they mean everything. They are the lubrication that
allows the characters to pivot and show us their lives
and selves in the round. It’s the hardest and most vital
kind of dialogue and Morgan is a master of it. It makes
you realise what we’re missing almost all the rest of the
time on TV.
Within a gorgeously slick production, all the
messiness of life is here and looks set to get even messier.
I already feel myself relaxing in the knowledge that I do
not have to steel myself to endure unnatural histrionics,
looping twists or swooping personality changes. I feel
like an adult watching adults, one of the scarcest and
best feelings as a viewer I know. More, soon, please.
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
Phil Harrison
Britain’s Brightest
8pm, ITV
Is Diane
meant to be
in The Good
Fight? Because
I shall, too, if
she does. Send
warning and, if
necessary, help
The trivia quiz comes to
a close, with the Curtis
and Collier families
hoping to win a trip
to Nasa headquarters.
questions aside, the
strangest thing about
this format has to be the
hothousing atmosphere:
children taking on adults,
both sides administering
constant stink eye,
is weird.
Hannah J Davies
The Assassination of
Gianni Versace
9pm, BBC Two
Ryan Murphy’s retelling
of the events leading up
to the murder of Gianni
Versace concludes
with all the innate
class of a queue of
traffic rubbernecking
a car crash. As Andrew
Cunanan basks in his
infamy, glued to the TV
screens reporting what he
has done, the manhunt
closes in. Ben Arnold
9pm, ITV
It is tempting to see it
purely as a sort of TV
equivalent of sheltered
accommodation for light
entertainment performers,
but Benidorm, which is
now 10 series old, clearly
continues to find an
appreciative audience.
Tonight, Monty hunts
for a job and Kenneth
bricks himself when
builders inadvertently
brick him in.
Jonathan Wright
Me and My Addiction
9pm, Channel 5
The conceit of Me and
My … is the simple,
effective one of drawing
testimony from people
with direct experience.
Tonight’s focus is drug
addiction. It is a shame
that the programme
feels obliged to stir in
celebrity guests, but the
point that addiction lurks
as a trap in any walk of life
is a fair one.
Andrew Mueller
Rich Kids Go Skint
9pm, 5Star
Tonight, Sepii, the
daughter of an Iranian
multimillionaire, goes to
live with the Hussains,
who are on benefits even
though the father works.
They are able mentors, but
appalled that Sepii is so
pampered that she doesn’t
brush her own hair.
Lessons are learned, but
inequality isn’t properly
interrogated. David Stubbs
Channel 4
Channel 5
Breakfast (T) 9.15 Rip
Off Britain: Food (T)
10.0 Homes Under the
Hammer (T) (R) 11.0 Heir
Hunters (T) 11.45 The
Housing Enforcers (T)
12.15 Bargain Hunt (T)
(R) 1.0 News and Weather
(T) 1.30 Regional News
and Weather (T) 1.45
Doctors (T) 2.15 800
Words (T) 3.0 Escape to the
Country (T) (R) 3.45 Flipping
Profit (T) 4.30 Flog It!
(T) 5.15 Pointless (T) 6.0
News and Weather (T) 6.30
Regional News and Weather
(T) 7.0 The One Show (T)
Flog It! Trade Secrets
(T) (R) 6.30 Heir Hunters
(T) (R) 7.15 Rip Off Britain:
Food (T) (R) 8.0 Sign
Zone: Great British Railway Journeys (T) (R) 8.30
Classic Mary Berry (T) (R)
9.0 Victoria Derbyshire
(T) 10.0 Live Snooker: The
World Championship (T)
The opening session on day
five at the Crucible theatre
in Sheffield. 11.30 Daily
Politics (T) 1.0 Live Snooker:
The World Championship
(T) 6.0 Eggheads (T) (R)
6.30 Britain in Bloom (T)
7.0 Antiques Road Trip (T)
Good Morning Britain
(T) 8.30 Lorraine (T) 9.25
The Jeremy Kyle Show
(T) 10.30 This Morning
(T) 12.30 Loose Women
(T) 1.30 News (T) 1.55
Local News (T) 2.0 Judge
Rinder (T) 3.0 Tenable (T)
3.59 Local News and Weather
(T) 4.0 Tipping Point (T)
5.0 The Chase (T) 6.0 Local
News (T) 6.30 News (T)
7.0 Emmerdale (T) Frank,
struggling to find a job,
offers his services to Rishi at
the factory. 7.30 Coronation
Street (T) Imran offers
Zeedan an investment.
Countdown (T) (R) 6.45
3rd Rock from the Sun
(T) (R) 7.35 Everybody
Loves Raymond (T) (R)
8.30 Frasier (T) (R) 10.05
Ramsay’s Hotel Hell (T)
(R) 11.0 Undercover Boss
USA (T) (R) 12.0 News (T)
12.05 Coast v Country (T)
(R) 1.05 Posh Pawnbrokers
(T) (R) 2.10 Countdown (T)
3.0 A Place in the Sun: Home
or Away (T) (R) 4.0 Escape
to the Chateau: DIY (T) 5.0
Four in a Bed (T) (R) 5.30 Buy
It Now (T) 6.0 The Simpsons
(T) (R) 6.30 Hollyoaks (T) (R)
7.0 News (T)
Watchdog Live (T)
Revelations about one
of the UK’s most familiar
companies and a problem
with smart televisions.
Britain’s Fat Fight (T) New
series. Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall challenges
food producers, restaurants
and government to tackle
the obesity crisis.
Top of the Shop With Tom
Kerridge (T) Makers of
cooking sauces compete
for a place in the final.
9.0 The Assassination of Gianni
Versace (T) The news of the
murder breaks across the
world. Last in series.
9.55 Live at the Apollo (T)
(R) With Joe Lycett, Ivo
Graham and Phil Wang.
Britain’s Brightest Family
(T) Two families go head
to head in the final round.
Last in the series.
8.30 Coronation Street (T) Kate
fights her insecurities about
9.0 Benidorm (T) Monty needs
a new job after being sacked
– and Loretta and Eddie make
secret plans.
The Secret Life of the Zoo
(T) An African painted dog
is pregnant with the zoo’s
first ever litter.
One Born Every Minute
(T) Young couple Chynna
and Spencer, both 21, arrive
expecting their second child
together, with Chynna’s
mother on hand to help
them through.
10.30 Newsnight (T) Weather
11.15 Snooker: The World
Championship (T) The
first-round matches
involving John Higgins
and Anthony McGill.
12.05 Snooker Extra (T) 2.05
MasterChef (T) (R) 3.05
Pilgrimage: The Road
to Santiago (T) (R) 4.05
This Is BBC Two (T)
10.0 News (T)
10.30 Local News (T)
10.45 Uefa Champions League
Highlights (T) The semifinal first-leg matches.
11.45 Play to the Whistle (T) (R)
With Andrew Johnston,
Scarlett Moffatt and Rob
Beckett. Last in the series.
12.35 Jackpot247 3.0 Tenable (T)
(R) 3.50 ITV Nightscreen
10.0 First Dates (T) A dental
nurse is set up with a
handsome tree surgeon.
11.05 Fatberg Autopsy: Secrets
of the Sewers (T) (R)
12.10 Live from Abbey Road
Classics (T) 12.35 How’d
You Get So Rich? (T) (R) 1.20
Serena (Susanne Bier,
2014) (T) Period drama. 3.10
Come Dine Champion… (T) (R)
10.0 News (T)
10.30 Regional News (T) Weather
10.45 A Question of Sport (T)
With Anya Shrubsole, Eilidh
Doyle, Luke Campbell and
Lee Westwood.
11.15 Nightmare Pets SOS (T) (R)
An unsociable pet rabbit.
11.45 How Police Missed the
Grindr Killer (T) (R)
12.30 Weather (T) 12.35 News (T)
Other channels
6.0am Home Shopping
7.10 Scrapheap Challenge
8.10 American Pickers
9.0-10.0 Storage Hunters 10.0-1.0 American
Pickers 1.0-3.0 Top Gear
3.0 Sin City Motors 4.0
Steve Austin’s Broken
Skull Challenge 5.0
Top Gear 6.0 Room
101 6.40-8.0 Would
I Lie to You? 8.0 Sin
City Motors 9.0 Live at
the Apollo 10.0-12.0
Room 101 12.0-1.20
QI 1.20 Mock the Week
2.0-3.15 QI 3.15 Parks
and Recreation 3.40
The Indestructibles
4.0 Home Shopping
Dates 1.10 Tattoo Fixers
2.10 Gogglebox 3.05
The Goldbergs 3.25
Timeless 4.10-6.0
Rules of Engagement
11.0am The
Gunfight at Dodge City
(1959) 12.40 Robinson Crusoe on
Mars (1964) 2.55
Man Without a
Star (1955) 4.40 Carry On Constable
(1960) 6.25 Life
of Pi (2012) 9.0 Dark Places (2015) 11.15
Kill Your Friends
(2015) 1.20 The
Treatment (2014)
All programmes to 7pm
are double bills 6.0am
Hollyoaks 7.0 Rules of
Engagement 8.0 How
I Met Your Mother 9.0
New Girl 10.0 2 Broke
Girls 11.0 Brooklyn NineNine 12.0 The Goldbergs
1.0 The Big Bang Theory
2.0 How I Met Your
Mother 3.0 New Girl
4.0 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
5.0 The Goldbergs 6.0
The Big Bang Theory
7.0 Hollyoaks 7.30
Extreme Cake Makers
8.0 The Goldbergs 8.30
The Big Bang Theory
9.0 Timeless 10.0
Naked Attraction 11.0512.05 The Big Bang
Theory 12.05 First
6.0am The Planet’s
Funniest Animals 6.20
Totally Bonkers Guinness
World Records 6.45
Totally Bonkers Guinness
World Records 7.10
Who’s Doing the Dishes?
7.55 Emmerdale 8.25
You’ve Been Framed!
Gold 9.25 The Ellen
DeGeneres Show 10.20
The Bachelor 11.15
You’ve Been Framed!
Gold 11.45 You’ve Been
Framed! Gold 12.15
Emmerdale 12.45 The
Cube: Celebrity Special
1.45 The Ellen DeGeneres
Show 2.35-5.50 Jeremy
Kyle 5.50 Take Me Out
7.0 You’ve Been Framed!
Gold 7.30 You’ve Been
BBC Four
Milkshake! 9.15 The Wright
Stuff 11.15 The Yorkshire Vet
Casebook (T) (R) 12.10 News
(T) 12.15 GPs: Behind Closed
Doors (T) (R) 1.10 Access
(T) 1.15 Home and Away (T)
1.45 Neighbours (T) 2.15
NCIS (T) (R) Engaged, Part
One 3.15 Profile for
Murder (Terry Ingram,
2013) (T) Thriller with Nicki
Aycox. 5.0 News (T) 5.30
Neighbours (T) (R) 6.0 Home
and Away (T) (R) 6.30 News
(T) 7.0 Police Interceptors
(T) (R) Officers race to stop
a drink-driver heading
the wrong way up the M6.
GPs: Behind Closed Doors
(T) A patient feels unwell
after bumping her head.
Includes news update.
Me and My Addiction
(T) Ten people talk about
their experiences of
drug addiction, among
them figures in the media
spotlight, and the battles
they undertook to beat it.
10.30 My Extreme OCD Life (T) (R)
(1/2) The lives of young
people with the condition.
11.35 The Boy Who Grew a New
Brain: Extraordinary People
(T) (R)
12.30 Funniest Fails, Falls & Flops
(T) (R) 1.0 SuperCasino (T)
3.10 GPs: Behind Closed
Doors (T) (R) 4.0-4.45
Tattoo Disasters UK (T) (R)
Beyond 100 Days (T) 7.30
Sea City (T) (R) Profiles of
people who keep the Port
of Southampton running,
including a bunkering tanker
skipper who provides fuel
for the ships.
The Great Rift: Africa’s
Wild Heart (T) The diverse
waterways of the Great
Rift valley in east Africa.
Elizabeth I’s Secret Agents
(T) Documentary about the
network of spymasters and
secret agents who helped
protect Elizabeth I from
assassination, terror and
10.0 The Plantagenets (T) (3/3)
Robert Bartlett examines
how the dynasty ended.
11.0 Drills, Dentures and
Dentistry: An Oral History
(T) With Joanna Bourke.
12.0 Stonehenge: A Timewatch
Guide (T) 1.0-2.0 TOTP:
1983 (T) 2.0 The Great Rift…
(T) 3.0 Elizabeth I’s Secret
Agents (T)
Framed! Gold 8.0 Two
and a Half Men 8.30
Two and a Half Men 9.0
Hell’s Kitchen USA 10.0
Hell’s Kitchen USA 10.55
Family Guy 11.30 Family
Guy 11.55 Family Guy
12.25 American Dad!
12.55 American Dad!
1.25 Two and a Half
Men 1.50 Two and a Half
Men 2.20 Teleshopping
5.50 ITV2 Nightscreen
8.55am Food Unwrapped
9.30-11.35 A Place in the
Sun: Summer Sun 11.352.10 Four in a Bed 2.104.50 Come Dine With
Me 4.50 A Place in the
Sun: Summer Sun 5.50
Ugly House to Lovely
House 6.55 The Secret
Life of the Zoo 7.55
Grand Designs 9.0 Vet
on the Hill 10.0 24 Hours
in A&E 11.05 Terror On
Everest: Surviving the
Nepal Earthquake 12.05
Kitchen Nightmares
USA 1.05 24 Hours in
A&E 2.05 Vet on the Hill
3.10 8 Out of 10 Cats
Uncut: The Best Bits
6.0am Animal 999 6.30
Animal 999 7.0 Meerkat
Manor 7.30 Meerkat
Manor 8.0 Monkey
Life 8.30 Monkey Life
9.0 Motorway Patrol
9.30 Motorway Patrol
10.0 Road Wars 11.0
Warehouse 13 12.0 NCIS:
LA 1.0 Hawaii Five-0 2.0
Hawaii Five-0 3.0 NCIS:
LA 4.0 Stargate SG-1
5.0 The Simpsons 5.30
Futurama 6.0 Futurama
6.30-8.0 The Simpsons
8.0 DC’s Legends of
Tomorrow 9.0 A League
of Their Own 10.0 Premier League’s Greatest
Moments 11.0 The Force:
North East 12.0 Brit
Cops: Frontline Crime UK
1.0 Ross Kemp: Extreme
World 2.0 Most Shocking
3.0 Hawaii Five-0 4.0
The Real A&E 4.30 The
Real A&E 5.0 It’s Me or
the Dog
Sky Arts
6.0am Pavarotti: A
Voice for the Ages
7.20 Sarah Brightman:
Symphony in Vienna 9.0
Watercolour Challenge
9.30 The Adventurers of
Modern Art 10.30 Tales
of the Unexpected 11.0
Trailblazers: Conscience
Songs 12.0 The Seventies
1.0 Discovering: Ava
Gardner 2.0 Watercolour Challenge 2.30
The Adventurers of
Modern Art 3.30 Tales
of the Unexpected 4.0
Trailblazers: Heavy
Metal 5.0 The Seventies
6.0 Discovering: Cary
Grant 7.0 Tate Britain’s
Great Art Walks 8.0
National Treasures: The
Art of Collecting 9.0
Discovering: Warren
Beatty 10.0 Rodin: In His
Time 11.0 The 90s 12.0
Phil Collins: Going Back
to Detroit 1.0 Monty
Python: Almost the Truth
– The BBC Lawyer’s Cut
2.15 Psychobitches 2.45
Freddie Mercury: The
Tribute Concert 4.30
Tales of the Unexpected
5.0 Auction 5.30 Auction
Sky Atlantic
6.0am Urban Secrets 7.0
Hotel Secrets 8.0 Fish
Town 9.0-11.0 The West
Wing 11.0-1.0 House
1.0 Without a Trace 2.0
Blue Bloods 3.0-5.0 The
West Wing 5.0-7.0 House
7.0 CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation 8.0 Blue
Bloods 9.0 Occupied
10.0 High Maintenance
10.35 Silicon Valley
11.10 Billions 12.202.20 Tin Star 2.20 Here
and Now 3.30 Animals
4.05-6.0 The West Wing
Bradley Cooper
and Jennifer
Lawrence in
Serena, C4
Radio 3
Radio 4
6.30 Breakfast 9.0
Essential Classics. Peter
Bazalgette guests. 12.0
Composer of the Week:
Strozzi (R) (3/5) 1.0
News 1.02 Lunchtime
Concert: Big Chamber
Day – Tchaikovsky and
His Friends. The second
of four concerts from
Saffron Hall in Essex.
(2/4) 2.0 Afternoon
Concert. The BBC
Philharmonic live from
Salford. Berlioz: Overture
– Roman Carnival. Ravel:
Shéhérazade. Louise
Farrenc: Symphony
No 3. Christine Rice
(mezzo), Duncan Ward.
3.30 Choral Evensong:
Guildford Cathedral
4.30 BBC Young
Musician 2018: Brass
Finalists 5.0 In Tune 7.0
In Tune Mixtape 7.30
In Concert. Live from
the Lighthouse, Poole.
Daniel Müller-Schott
(cello), Bournemouth SO,
James Feddeck. Britten:
Sea Interludes (Peter
Grimes). Dvořák: Cello
Concerto. 8.35 Interval.
8.55 Strauss: Death and
Transfiguration. 10.0
Free Thinking Landmark:
Rashumon 10.45 The
Essay: Dark Blossoms –
Rebranding the Buddha
(3/5) 11.0 Late Junction:
Nick Luscombe With
Toshimaru Nakamura.
12.30 Through the Night
6.0 Today 8.30 (LW)
Yesterday in Parliament
9.0 Soul Music: God
Only Knows (4/5) 9.30
The History of Secrecy:
Family Secrets (R) 9.45
(LW) Daily Service 9.45
(FM) Book of the Week:
Sharp, by Michelle Dean.
(3/5) 10.0 Woman’s
Hour. Includes at 10.41
Drama: Curious Under
the Stars, by Annamaria
Murphy. (3/20) 10.56
The Listening Project
11.0 Imperial Echo.
Jonny Dymond traces
the often uneven history
of the Commonwealth.
(R) 11.30 Big Problems
With Helen Keen:
Boredom (R) 12.0 News
12.01 (LW) Shipping
Forecast 12.04 Home
Front: Edi Chadwick, by
Sarah Daniels. (38/40)
12.15 You and Yours 1.0
The World at One 1.45
Chinese Characters: Lu
Xun – Compassionate
Cynic(13/20) 2.0 The
Archers (R) 2.15 Drama:
Mythos – Glamis, by
Julian Simpson. Lairre
and Parker and their boss
Johnson travel to Glamis
Castle to investigate
a secret room with a
secret door. (2/3) 3.0
Money Box Live 3.30
All in the Mind (R) 4.0
Thinking Allowed 4.30
The Media Show 5.0
PM 5.54 (LW) Shipping
Forecast 6.0 News 6.30
Sketchtopia (4/4) 7.0
The Archers 7.15 Front
Row 7.45 Curious Under
the Stars (R) (3/20) 8.0
Unreliable Evidence:
Public Enquiries (4/4)
8.45 Four Thought
9.0 Costing the Earth:
Demolishing Dams (R)
9.30 Soul Music (R) 10.0
The World Tonight 10.45
Book at Bedtime: The
One Who Wrote Destiny,
by Nikesh Shukla. (8/10)
11.0 Six Degrees of John
Sessions (2/4) 11.15 The
John Moloney Show:
The Phone Call (R) 11.30
Today in Parliament
12.0 News 12.30 Book
of the Week (3/5) 12.48
Shipping Forecast 1.0
As World Service 5.20
Shipping Forecast 5.30
News 5.43 Prayer for
the Day 5.45 Farming
Today 5.58 Tweet of the
Day (R)
Radio 4 Extra
6.0 Rogue Justice (3/5)
6.30 Balalaika Born
Again 7.0 Ring Around
the Bath (5/6) 7.30
Sketchtopia (3/4) 8.0
The Navy Lark 8.30
Round the Horne (1/13)
9.0 The Write Stuff (4/6)
9.30 Life, Death and Sex
With Mike and Sue (5/6)
10.0 The Idiot (3/4) 11.0
Grounded (2/3) 11.15
Forest Tales (2/3) 12.0
The Navy Lark 12.30
Round the Horne (1/13)
1.0 Rogue Justice (3/5)
1.30 Balalaika Born Again
2.0 Expo 58 (8/10) 2.15
Shakespeare’s Restless
World (8/20) 2.30 Good
News (3/5) 2.45 Catch
Me If You Can (3/5)
3.0 The Idiot (3/4) 4.0
The Write Stuff (4/6)
4.30 Life, Death and
Sex… (5/6) 5.0 Ring
Around the Bath (5/6)
5.30 Sketchtopia (3/4)
6.0 The Man Who Was
Thursday (8/13) 6.30
The Tingle Factor 7.0 The
Navy Lark 7.30 Round
the Horne (1/13) 8.0
Rogue Justice (3/5) 8.30
Balalaika Born Again 9.0
Grounded (2/3) 9.15
Forest Tales (2/3) 10.0
Sketchtopia (3/4) 10.30
The Hitchhiker’s Guide:
The Secondary Phase
(4/6) 11.0 As Told to
Craig Brown (6/6) 11.30
The Consultants (5/6)
12.0 The Man Who Was
Thursday (8/13) 12.30
The Tingle Factor 1.0
Rogue Justice (3/5) 1.30
Balalaika Born Again
2.0 Expo 58 (8/10) 2.15
Shakespeare’s Restless
World (8/20) 2.30 Good
News (3/5) 2.45 Catch
Me If You Can (3/5) 3.0
The Idiot (3/4) 4.0 The
Write Stuff (4/6) 4.30
Life, Death and Sex…
(5/6) 5.0 Ring Around
the Bath (5/6) 5.30
Sketchtopia (3/4)
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
no 14,965
Quick crossword
1 Liable to mishaps (8-5)
8 Military manoeuvres (abbr) (3)
9 Blood cell (9)
10 Disappear gradually (4,4)
11 System of religious beliefs
and rituals (4)
13 Sign of the zodiac (6)
14 Last Anglo-Saxon king
of England (6)
16 That’s a relief! (4)
17 Planes (8)
20 Adherents (9)
21 Irritate (3)
22 Avian messenger (7,6)
Solution no 14,964
13 Nickname of Haitian dictator
François Duvalier (4,3)
15 Steering device — ploughman (6)
18 Symbol (5)
19 Iconic economy car (introduced in
1959) (4)
1 Stand-offish (5)
2 ATM (4,9)
3 No longer living (8)
4 Land of fjords (6)
5 Publicise — stop (4)
6 How to start a children’s story?
7 Put up (7)
12 Spring-flowering plants (8)
Stuck? For help call 0906 200 83 83. Calls cost £1.10 per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge.
Service supplied by ATS. Call 0330 333 6946 for customer service (charged at standard rate).
To buy puzzle books, visit or call 0330 333 6846.
Sudoku no 4042
no 4,043
Medium. Fill the grid so that each row, column and
3x3 box contains the numbers 1-9. Printable version at
Word wheel
Word wheel
Find as many words as
possible using the letters
in the wheel. Each must
use the central letter and
at least two others. Letters
may be used only once. You
may not use plurals, foreign
words or proper nouns.
There is at least one nineletter word to be found.
TARGET: Excellent-57.
Good-50. Average-37.
Fill the grid so that each square
in an outlined block contains a
digit. A block of 2 squares contains
the digits 1 and 2, a block of three
squares contains the digits 1, 2 and
3, and so on. No same digit appears
in neighbouring squares, not even
Can you find 12 words that can
precede MARK in the grid? Words can
run forwards, backwards, vertically
or diagonally, but always in a
straight, unbroken line.
Steve Bell
Who had a terrier
Mr Famous?
a. Audrey
b. Judy Garland
c. Shirley
d. Anne Bancroft
The Guardian
Wednesday 25 April 2018
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