Bristol’s Colston Hall to drop ‘toxic’ slave trader name

Bristol’s Colston Hall to drop ‘toxic’ slave trader name

  • 26 April 2017
  • From the section Bristol

Colston Hall, Bristol

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Colston Hall is due to close for a £49m revamp at the end of the year and reopen in 2020

A music venue is to ditch the “toxic” name it shares with a 17th Century slave trader.

Colston Hall bosses had previously maintained that the Bristol attraction was named after the street it is on, rather than Edward Colston.

Much of the Bristol-born MP and merchant’s wealth came from the slave trade.

The change, which will not come into effect until 2020, follows a campaign to urge Colston Hall to alter its name.

Ready for ‘backlash’

Louise Mitchell, chief executive of the Bristol Music Trust charity that runs Colston Hall, said it was the “right thing to do” for artists, the public and the “diverse workforce” at the venue, which recently announced plans for a refurbishment costing nearly £50m.

She said: “The name Colston does not reflect the trust’s values as a progressive, forward-thinking and open arts organisation.

“We want to look to the future and ensure the whole city is proud of its transformed concert hall and so when we open the new hall, it will be with a new name.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionLouise Mitchell, chief executive of the Bristol Music Trust charity that runs the venue said it was the “right thing to do”

She acknowledged there would be a “backlash” over the change, but admitted the trust had “needed to resolve” the issue ahead of talks with potential sponsors.

“Effectively, I’ve been selling a toxic brand up to now,” she said.

“We need to move forward on this. It’s not actually about commerce, it’s about doing the right thing.”

More on this story, and other news from the West

Over the years, some of the world’s biggest music stars have performed at Colston Hall, including The Beatles, David Bowie, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Bob Dylan.

The legendary Bristol band Massive Attack have always refused to play at Colston Hall, and the city’s mayor Marvin Rees has said he is “not a fan” of the name. A petition launched in February calling for a change gathered more than 2,000 signatories.


Edward Colston (1636-1721)

Image copyright
Phillip Halling

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A grand bronze statue of Edward Colston has stood in Bristol city centre since 1895

  • Colston was born into a prosperous Bristol merchant’s family and, although he lived in London for many years, was always closely associated with the city
  • By 1672, he had his own business in the capital trading in slaves, cloth, wine and sugar. A significant proportion of Colston’s wealth came directly or indirectly from the slave trade
  • In 1680, he became an official of the Royal African Company, which at the time held the monopoly in Britain on slave trading
  • He donated to churches and hospitals in Bristol, also founding two almshouses and a school
  • Colston also lent money to the Bristol corporation and was a city MP for a short time
  • The bronze statue commemorating Colston in the city of his birth has an inscription on it which reads: “Erected by citizens of Bristol as a memorial of one of the most virtuous and wise sons of their city”. There is no mention of his role in the slave trade

Source: BBC History/Nigel Pocock


However, the majority of those who have taken to BBC Radio Bristol’s Facebook page to express their opinions have not welcomed the move.

Chris Goldsworthy said it was “political correctness gone mad”, while Nick Davies said it was a mistake as the “past should not be airbrushed out”.

Kate Gillam said “changing the name won’t change what happened. It’s part of our heritage”.

The music venue is not the only place in Bristol with links to Colston that has come under fire. Bristol Cathedral is reportedly considering removing a large stained-glass window dedicated to the merchant, following criticism from anti-racism campaigners.

Johnny Depp blames managers for money woes

Johnny Depp blames managers for money woes

Johnny DeppImage copyright
Getty Images

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Depp said it was his right to spend money on cotton balls if he so desired

Johnny Depp has claimed his ex-business managers are to blame for his financial woes – not his lavish lifestyle.

“I’ve worked very, very hard for a lot of years and trusted a lot of people, some who’ve clearly let me down,” the actor told the Wall Street Journal.

The Alice in Wonderland star sued The Management Group in January for $25m (£19.5m) alleging fraud and negligence.

The Management Group responded with a countersuit, attributing his financial troubles to a $2m-a-month lifestyle.

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Disney

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The actor will shortly be seen reprising his Captain Jack Sparrow role

In his first public comments on the matter, Depp denied that his debts were down to profligate spending. “Why didn’t they drop me as a client if I was so out of control?” he said.

But he did give some insight into his shopping habits. “It’s my money,” the actor was quoted as saying. “If I want to buy 15,000 cotton balls a day, it’s my thing.”

Depp, 53, alleges that The Management Group’s handling of his affairs led to him being more than $40m (£31m) in debt.

He also accuses the LA firm, run by brothers Joel and Rob Mandel, of failing to file his taxes on time and taking out high-interest loans on his behalf.

Costly send-off

In their own legal action, The Management Group said their former client had “refused to live within his means, despite… repeated warnings about his financial condition”.

They claimed the actor’s outgoings included $3m (£2.3m) to blast the ashes of author Hunter S Thompson out of a cannon – a send-off Depp said had actually cost him $5m (£3.9m).

The Oscar-nominated actor is best-known for his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, the fifth instalment of which arrives this summer.

Disney have announced that Dead Men Tell No Tales will have its world premiere at the Shanghai Disney resort on 11 May – the first Hollywood premiere to be held in mainland China.


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Tom Hardy apprehends ‘fleeing motorbike thief’ in London

Tom Hardy apprehends ‘fleeing motorbike thief’ in London

  • 25 April 2017
  • From the section London

Tom HardyImage copyright
Getty Images

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The actor pursued one of the suspects who had run from the scene of a crash

Actor Tom Hardy helped to apprehend a man who had allegedly stolen a motorbike in London, police have said.

The Hollywood star stepped in after two teenagers on the bike crashed into a car in Richmond, south-west London, on Sunday afternoon.

They ran off before one was grabbed by the Mad Max and Taboo star and the other was arrested by a police officer.

Two 16-year-olds have been arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, police said.

Image copyright
Getty Images

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Tom Hardy recently starred in the BBC period thriller, Taboo

Witness Arun Pullen told The Sun newspaper: “Tom must have been walking down the road.

“He went off like a shot in pursuit and looked furious.

“I asked Tom what happened and he told me he chased him through my back garden and caught him around the block – but the route was like an assault course.”

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Tom Hardy set hearts a-flutter on Facebook when he recently read the CBeebies bedtime story

A Richmond Police spokesman said: “We can confirm that there were two people on a stolen moped that went through a red light and crashed into another vehicle.

“The males ran off and one was detained by Tom Hardy.

“Both suspects were initially taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman later clarified the stolen vehicle was a motorbike and that members of the public detained the rider.

One of the arrested teenagers was riding pillion, it added.

The two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of various motoring offences including taking a vehicle without consent and theft of a motor vehicle, and remain in police custody.

A spokeswoman for the 39-year-old actor, who has also starred in films including The Dark Knight Rises, The Revenant, Inception and Legend, declined to comment.

Hardy has also appeared in BBC TV drama Peaky Blinders and read a bedtime story on the BBC children’s channel CBeebies.

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Will Smith joins Cannes film festival jury

Will Smith joins Cannes film festival jury

Will SmithImage copyright
Getty Images

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Will Smith has been nominated for two Oscars (The Pursuit of Happyness and Ali)

Hollywood stars Will Smith and Jessica Chastain will sit on the Cannes jury when the festival kicks off next month.

The pair, both former Oscar nominees, will help choose the Palme d’Or winner from films including Michael Haneke’s Happy End and Sofia Coppola’s Beguiled.

They are joined by the likes of Chinese X-Men actress Fan BingBing and Paulo Sorrentino, whose recent hit TV series The Young Pope starred Jude Law.

The jury is being presided over by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar.

The festival runs for two weeks in May, thankfully not clashing with Smith’s headline gig with DJ Jazzy Jeff at Blackpool’s Livewire event in August.

Image copyright
EPA

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The Cannes Film Festival is celebrating its 70th anniversary

French actress and singer Agnes Jaoui, German director Maren Ade, South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook and French composer Gabriel Yared will also join the Cannes panel.

Yared’s scores include those for The English Patient, for which he won an Oscar, and The Talented Mr Ripley.

Lynne Ramsay is the only British director with a film in competition. Her latest feature, a thriller titled You Were Never Really Here, stars Joaquin Phoenix.

As usual, there will be a number of special screenings out of competition. This year, Barack Obama and Donald Trump will be seen in a An Inconvenient Sequel, Al Gore’s follow-up to his 2006 climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

The Cannes film festival runs from 17 to 28 May.


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Exclusive: Has Zoe Saldana revealed Avengers 4 title?

Has Zoe Saldana revealed Avengers 4 title?

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionZoe Saldana was attending the latest Guardians European premiere

Has Zoe Saldana let slip that the title of the fourth Avengers film is Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet?

Speaking at the Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 premiere, the actress, who plays Gamora, talked about the involvement of Guardians stars in the Avengers films.

Asked about the third Avengers film on Monday, she said: “I think the Guardians just shot their part when it comes to Infinity War.

“And we all have to go back for Gauntlet later this year.”

But later on Tuesday, James Gunn, writer and director of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, denied Saldana had given the game away.

According to Yahoo Movies journalist Tom Butler, Gunn said Gauntlet was not the title.

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Tom Butler/Twitter

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The plot thickens…

The Avengers and The Guardians of the Galaxy are all part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

So far they have appeared in separate films, but will join forces in the next two Avengers films. Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel, which we which now know could well be called Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet or perhaps just plain Avengers: Gauntlet.

Over the weekend, Cinemablend revealed that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was not going to reveal the name of the fourth film because the name could be a spoiler for Avengers: Infinity War.

The infinity gauntlet is a glove specially made to hold infinity stones, including the power stone, the space stone, the reality stone, the mind stone, the time stone and the soul stone.

Image copyright
EPA

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Gunn (left) and Guardians star Chris Pratt joke around at a press conference

When all the stones are held by the infinity gauntlet, it gives the wearer the powers of a god.

The Infinity Gauntlet was a six-issue comic book limited series published by Marvel Comics from July to December in 1991.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is out on Friday in the UK, and next month in the US.

Avengers: Infinity War is due out in 2018, with the follow up slated for release in 2019.

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Beyonce actually outsold Drake in 2016

Beyonce actually outsold Drake in 2016

BeyonceImage copyright
Sony Music

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Beyonce’s album was launched with an hour-long special on US television

Until today, we thought Drake’s Views was the best-selling album of 2016, but new music industry figures suggest otherwise.

According to the IFPI’s annual report, both Beyonce’s Lemonade and Adele’s 25 shifted more copies worldwide.

Beyonce topped the chart with 2.4 million sales, while Drake came third, having sold 2.1 million units.

The figures only include CDs, vinyl and downloads – which may explain Drake’s sudden change in fortunes.

Once streaming is counted, he emerges as the most popular artist of 2016; with his inescapable single One Dance the year’s most popular song.

Best-selling albums of 2016 (source: IFPI)
Title and artist Sales (million)
1) Lemonade – Beyonce 2.5
2) 25 – Adele 2.4
3) Views – Drake 2.3
4) Hardwired… To Self-Destruct – Metallica 2.1
5) Blackstar – David Bowie 1.9
6) Blue & Lonesome – The Rolling Stones 1.8
7) 24k Magic – Bruno Mars 1.7
8) Blurryface – Twenty One Pilots 1.5
9) A Head Full of Dreams – Coldplay 1.4
10) A Pentatonix Christmas – Pentatonix 1.4

The explosion in streaming services also helped the music industry grow in value for the second year in a row, with revenue up by 5.9% to $15.7bn (£12.35bn).

That’s the fastest rate of growth since the IFPI began tracking the market in 1997; and comes after 15 years of downturn, during which time the music industry lost nearly 40% of its revenue.

“We are no longer running up a down escalator,” observed Warner Music CEO Stu Bergen.

Subscription streaming services are largely responsible for the turnaround. Revenue from Spotify, Apple Music and their competitors rose by 60% last year.

Image copyright
Getty Images

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Drake dominated streaming services in 2016

By contrast, earnings from CDs and vinyl fell by 7.6%; while the value of downloads – once seen as the saviour of the industry – plummeted by 20.5%.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) launched their annual report at a low-key reception in London on Tuesday morning, soundtracked by a lounge pianist covering John Legend’s All of Me and Coldplay’s Trouble.

All three of the major record labels – Universal, Sony and Warner Music – attended the event; giving their perspective on the figures.

Here are some of the other headlines and revelations from the launch.

More than 110 million people now pay to stream music

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Ed Sheeran has broken streaming records all around the world this year

By the end of 2016, the number of people subscribing to a subscription service reached 97 million worldwide. With many of the users choosing a “family plan”, where several members of the same household have access to the full catalogue of music, the IFPI estimates that 112 million people use a service like Deezer, Spotify, Tidal or Apple Music.

However, the industry is wary of being complacent. “To raise the mission accomplished banner would be the worst mistake we could make,” said Universal Music’s Michael Nash.

“We’ve got to continue to convince consumers that [music] is still worth paying for, if we’re ultimately going to achieve sustainable growth,” added Dennis Kooker, president of digital services at Sony.

In some countries, people still love CDs

Streaming might dominate the market in the UK and US – but three of the world’s six biggest music markets, Germany, France and Japan, still prefer CDs.

“In this environment, breaking an artist and building a global fanbase isn’t easy,” noted Warner Music’s Stu Bergen. “If you’re going to be successful, you can’t focus on a single format. It takes time, money and people.”

The only thing that’s certain is uncertainty

For the last 15 years, the music industry has been in a constant state of panic – Napster gutted the music market, then downloads began to overtake CD sales, before themselves being replaced by streaming.

“The music industry has received a significant amount of what I would call ‘reality therapy’,” said Michael Nash, head of digital strategy for Universal. “That’s where you wake up and you realise, ‘my old business has gone, I’ve got to get into a new business.'”

However, her added, “very few sectors of the economy have ever recovered from a 40% decline in revenue.”

They hope to build on that turnaround by embracing change, and seeking “new business models to cannibalise old business models”.

Speaking of which…

Voice-controlled speakers could be the next big thing

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PA

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Google’s Home (left) and Amazon’s Echo are set to be joined by a raft of other voice-activated speakers in the next year

“One of the really exciting changes is around voice activation on smart speakers like Amazon Echo,” said Mr Nash.

“You find that when you interact directly with your music service, and you have the ability to ask for any song, at any point at time, it alters how you engage with music and how you think about your music preferences.

“It’ll be interesting to see how music changes from being a smartphone-driven experience, to a more communal experience in the home – where you have multiple family members requesting songs, or taking turns being DJ”.

The prospect of integrating voice-activated music services into cars was also “hugely exciting” he said.

The music industry still isn’t happy with YouTube

YouTube said it paid the music industry $1bn (£794m) in royalties last year – but record companies claim it’s not enough.

They reckon Spotify’s 50 million subscribers each contributed $20 per year to the industry’s bank accounts. YouTube, which has more than a billion users, allegedly paid less than a dollar per person.

“We need to fix that,” said IFPI chief Frances Moore. “It’s a massive mismatch”.

The industry has long complained that YouTube and other similar services are slow to police illegal and pirated material uploaded by their users (a claim which YouTube disputes).

Moore is hopeful that draft legislation put before the European Commission last year will reform the laws that allow streaming sites to avoid prosecution if they host copyrighted material without permission.

In Japan, Ed Sheeran’s new album was marketed by celebrity cats

Image copyright
EPA

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Even cats love Ed Sheeran, apparently

Even Ed Sheeran can’t be everywhere all the time, so his Japanese record label had to get inventive when it came to promoting his new album.

While the star performed at the Grammys and the Brits for fans in the West, Japanese audiences were treated to videos of “celebrity cats dancing to Shape of You”.

Both approaches seem to have worked – with the album shifting in huge numbers around the world.

Interestingly, despite the music industry’s beef with YouTube, every track on Sheeran’s album, Divide, was uploaded to the video service on the day of release. Stu Bergen said it was a sign of “acceptance that the music will be there whether we put it up or not”, but vowed to continue the fight for fair royalties.

The era of streaming exclusives is basically over

Image copyright
Getty Images

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Frank Ocean’s “secret” album may have pushed record labels away from streaming exclusives

Last year, R&B star Frank Ocean dramatically ended his four-year sabbatical with two back-to-back releases: Endless, a video stream released as the final album under his contract with Universal music; and the 17-track opus Blond, released as an Apple exclusive a day later on Ocean’s own label, Boys Don’t Cry, without Universal’s involvement or knowledge.

Universal chairman Lucian Grainge swiftly emailed the heads of his record labels, outlawing streaming exclusives. Although it’s difficult to establish whether the two events were linked, one thing is certain: Grainge had concluded that streaming exclusives were bad for fans, and bad for the business.

“There were a lot of things that went into our termination,” said Michael Nash, the label’s head of digital strategy. “We had passed a point in time where it made sense to… work on a level of exclusivity with individual platforms.

“Our general position is that our artists and our labels want to have the broadest possible audience for our music.”

Dennis Kooker, president of digital at Sony Music, said exclusives would still be considered for future releases, but it was a “balancing act”; while Universal stressed that they’d generally avoided giving exclusives to one service over another: “It’s not something we engaged extensively in.”

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Faye Dunaway feels ‘very guilty’ over Oscars blunder

Faye Dunaway feels ‘very guilty’ over Oscars blunder

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty at OscarsImage copyright
AMPAS

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Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were given the wrong award envelope

Faye Dunaway has revealed she was left feeling “very guilty” over the Oscars night fiasco that saw the best picture award going to the wrong film.

She told NBC’s Nightly News she was also “completely stunned” after naming La La Land instead of Moonlight.

She was presenting with Warren Beatty but they were mistakenly given the envelope naming La La Land’s Emma Stone best actress.

“You were completely stunned, you don’t know what has happened,” she said.

Dunaway was speaking for the first time since the Academy Awards blunder two months ago.

It has been described as the biggest mistake in 89 years of Academy Awards history.

Oscars 2017: Full coverage

She told the Nightly News host Lester Holt on Monday how the mistake played out for her and Beatty, her former Bonnie and Clyde co-star.

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AMPAS

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Warren Beatty has described the incident as “chaos”

“He took the card out and he didn’t say anything. He paused, he looked over me, offstage, he looked around and I finally said, ‘You’re impossible!,” she said.

“I thought he was joking, I thought he was stalling. Warren’s like that, he kind of holds the power – a dramatic pause.”

She added that she felt “very guilty” and that there should have been something she could have done to put things right.

“Why didn’t I see Emma Stone’s name on top of the card?,” Dunaway said.

Duplicate envelopes

Stone had won the best actress Oscar for her role in La La Land just before the best picture announcement.

Beatty has already said the night felt like “chaos” when he was a guest on the Graham Norton Show earlier this month.

An investigation into the mistake later found the holders of the top secret envelopes, two accountants from the LA auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), were responsible.

Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan were standing at either side of the stage, out of view, where they handed out the winners’ envelopes to the presenters of each award as they went out on stage.

Duplicates of each award envelope are made, which led to the second copies of the previous award being handed out instead.

The firm apologised for the blunder and accepted full responsibility and the Academy said they will continue using PwC despite the mix-up.

Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, wrote in a letter to members that new rules will also mean electronic devices are banned backstage.

Cullinan was posting Twitter photos just before the mix-up. He and Ruiz will not be working on Oscars night again, PwC has also said.


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Wellcome Prize won by ‘heart-breaking’ transplant novel

Wellcome Prize won by ‘heart-breaking’ transplant novel

Maylis de KerangalImage copyright
Philippe QUAISSE / PASCO

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Mend the Living is Maylis de Kerangal’s fifth novel

Mend the Living, a “heart-breaking” novel about 24 hours in the life of a heart that is transplanted, has won the Wellcome Book Prize.

Maylis de Kerangal is the first French author to win the £30,000 award, which honours books of any genre that has a central theme of health or medicine.

It is the first translated text to win and only the second novel to win in the award’s history.

Head judge Val McDermid called it “compelling, original and ambitious”.

Described as “a heart-breaking and gripping story of life-saving medical science” it follows the story of Simon Limbeau’s heart.

He heads out on a surfing trip with two friends but they crash their van on the way home and he is left brain dead but with a beating heart.

His family then face the tough decision whether to donate his heart.

The book depicts the “24-hour whirlwind of trauma and death, life and hope” and ends when the heart starts to beat in the body of someone else.

Image copyright
Ben Gilbert/ Wellcome

Image caption

The judging panel was made up of Di Speirs, Simon Baron-Cohen, Val McDermid, Tim Lewens and Gemma Cairney

This year’s Chair of Judges, Val McDermid, announced the winner at a ceremony at the Wellcome Collection in London on Monday.

“Mend the Living is a metaphorical and lyrical exploration of the journey of one heart and two bodies,” she said.

“Over 24 hours we travel from trauma to hope, discovering both the humane aspect of organ donation and the internal dramas of those affected by it.

“Compelling, original and ambitious, this novel illuminates what it is to be human.”

Mend the Living is de Kerangal’s fifth novel. She has won previous awards in France for her novel Birth of a Bridge and her novella Tangente vers l’est.

It was translated by Jessica Moore, an award-winning translator, songwriter and poet based in Montreal.

The book has already been adapted into a film by French film director Katell Quillevere, which will open in UK cinemas from 28 April.

Image copyright
Thomas S.G. Farnetti

The 2017 shortlist:

  • The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss, about the impact of a teenage girl’s illness
  • David France’s How to Survive A Plague, about the fight against Aids
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Gene, which highlights the relevance of genetics
  • I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong, about the body’s 40 trillion microbes
  • Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal, a novel about the turmoil of having a heart transplant

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Seven bands from the 80s we wish would reunite

Seven bands from the 80s we wish would reunite

Children of the 1980s, rejoice – the original Bananarama line-up is back together at last. Which got us thinking – lots of 80s bands have reformed over recent years but which ones are we still wishing would reunite?

1. Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Image caption

Frankie says relax – still the best slogan T-shirt ever

Liverpool band Frankie Goes to Hollywood, fronted by Holly Johnson, are still best remembered for their debut single Relax, which was famously banned by the BBC in 1984 due to its sexual lyrics but topped the UK singles chart for five consecutive weeks.

The band went on to become only the second act in the history of the UK charts (after Gerry and the Pacemakers) to reach number one with their first three singles when Two Tribes and The Power of Love also hit the top spot.

But their glory was short-lived. Their second album, Liverpool, released in 1986, failed to live up to expectations and a backstage bust-up between Johnson and bassist Mark O’Toole at their final gig at Wembley Arena sounded the death knell.

While various reincarnations of the band have since reformed, we’re still waiting for the original line-up to hit us “with those laser beams.”

2. The Smiths

Image copyright
ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Image caption

The Smiths – we are never, ever, ever, getting back together

Never gonna happen. Yes, we know. But just imagine! Johnny Marr and Steven Morrissey formed the band in 1982 with bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mick Joyce.

They went on to release 17 albums and four studio albums, becoming one of the most influential bands of the 1980s.

Hits included This Charming Man, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, How Soon is Now?, Big Mouth Strikes Again, Panic and Girlfriend in a Coma.

But the dream combo of Marr’s melodies and Morrissey’s musings was broken with the band’s acrimonious split in 1987.

In Marr’s autobiography Set The Boy Free, he revealed that the official version of him walking out on the band wasn’t the full story.

The tipping point, says Marr, was when Morrissey didn’t turn up for the video shoot of the single Shoplifters Of The World Unite, and ordered him to sack their latest manager.

Whatever the truth, Marr also wrote that he and Morrissey discussed the possibility of a reunion back in 2008. We’re still waiting.

3. Curiosity Killed the Cat

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John Gooch/Rex/Shutterstock

Image caption

Ben Vol-au-vent Parrot, as Smash Hits liked to call him

Ring a bell? We’ve been wondering whatever happened to the beautiful beret-wearing Ben with the exotic-sounding surname Volpeliere-Pierrot (although Smash Hits preferred to call him Ben Vol-au-vent Parrot), not to mention Julian, Nick and Migi.

The band enjoyed 80s success with soulful pop hits including Down to Earth, Ordinary Day, Name and Number and Misfit.

They split after a last hurrah with a cover of Johnny Bristol’s Hang On In There Baby in 1992. While Ben has joined some 80s tours singing solo the band have never reunited as a four-piece.

It’s 20 years this year since Misfit and Ordinary Day entered the charts, so perhaps now would be a good time to hit the road again?

4. Style Council

Image caption

It wasn’t a real 80s band without the obligatory sax

It’s well documented that Paul Weller would only reform The Jam if his children were “destitute”.

But what about his later band, Style Council, which he formed with Mick Talbot, formerly of The Merton Parkas and Dexy’s Midnight Runners?

The Style Council had hits such as Walls Come Tumbling Down!, Shout to the Top, You’re the Best Thing and Long, Hot Summer.

The band broke up in 1989. Weller has since said they didn’t get the credit they deserved.

I thought we were quite misunderstood and misrepresented. Yet, at the end of the day, we made some good records and I wrote some good songs around that time, songs I still stand by, and I think that will last as well.”

5. The Housemartins

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REX/Shutterstock

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The Housemartins – “the fourth best band in Hull”?

Formed in Hull in the 1980s, The Housemartins line-up changed frequently over the years but most of us will remember its most famous members, Paul Heaton and Norman Cook AKA Fatboy Slim.

Caravan of Love and Happy Hour were probably their best known hits and Heaton and Cook went on to further success with The Beautiful South and Beats International/Fatboy Slim.

In 2009, Mojo magazine got The Housemartins’ original members together for a photo-shoot and interview but they said they would not be reforming.

So it looks like we won’t be hearing from “the fourth best band in Hull” – as The Housemartins often described themselves – anytime soon.

6. Bronski Beat/The Communards

Image caption

Don’t Leave Me This Way Jimmy!

While Bronski Beat continued following the departure of vocalist Jimmy Somerville in 1985, they are still best, remembered for the hits they had with him at the helm, including Why?, Smalltown Boy and It Ain’t Necessarily So.

Somerville, of course, went on to form The Communards with Richard Coles, who is now a Church of England priest and Radio 4 presenter.

But will we see either of these bands back together?

Larry Steinbachek, former keyboardist with Bronski Beat, sadly died at the age of 56 in January.

And the Communards? Coles and Somerville fell out, not least because Coles lied when he told Somerville he had HIV.

The two are back in touch now but with Coles’ commitments to the Church, a reunion seems unlikely.

7. The Thompson Twins

Image copyright
Vooren/Sunshine/REX/Shutterstock

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The Thompson triplets – sorry, Twins, in their most recognised form

Yep, it’s our wildcard entry – the band that was named after the two bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson in The Adventures of Tintin.

The band had various line-up changes over the years but they were best known as the mid-80s trio consisting of Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway.

Their hits included Hold Me Now, Doctor! Doctor! and You Take Me Up but Leeway left the band in 1986 and Bailey and Currie could never replicate their earlier success (although they did have a dance hit in 1991 called Come Inside).

The pair had two children together and moved to New Zealand. While they did briefly reunite with Leeway on a Channel 4 show in 2001, they have so far resisted the urge to go down the nostalgia road and reform.

In 2014, Bailey began performing the band’s hits as The Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey and continues to tour in 2017.

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