‘The show needed to come back’: how Drake rescued the druglords of Top Boy

It was Britains answer to The Wire. But the gang drama was dead until the rapper stepped in and pitched it to Netflix. Its stars and writer talk grime, gentrification and Boris Johnsons Britain I told them I was on my way out to meet some singer called Drake, says writer Drake was a fan of Top Boy, Bennetts Channel 4 drama about the lives of drug dealers and residents on a fictional Hackney estate called Summerhouse. He had been …

Edinburgh festival performers refuse sterling payments due to Brexit

Artists ask to be paid in euros and dollars as pound continues to fall amid no-deal risk Increasing numbers of artists are asking to be paid in dollars and euros instead of sterling because of Brexit uncertainty, the director of the Edinburgh international festival has said. The three-week arts festival opened on Friday and includes 293 performances by 2,600 artists from 40 countries. Speaking during its opening weekend, Fergus Linehan, who has been its director since 2015, said many performers …

‘You’ve caused an international incident’: how my work mistake came back to haunt me

It was the Observers big scoop of 2003, and as a young journalist, I was asked to type up a top-secret memo. Now my mess-up has made it to the big screen Have you ever wondered whod play you in a film? I had, occasionally, until the day I got the answer. In spring 2018, a message pinged on to my phone via Facebook from a journalist friend. So this is a bit weird, it read. A sister of a …

John Cooper Clarke: I didnt want to quit heroin

While conceding the drug was fabulous the first time, the veteran performer has one overwhelming message: dont do it John Cooper Clarke, the poet and performer who became famous during the punk rock era of the late 1970s, has said he didnt want to quit taking heroin and weaned himself off the drug for the sake of society rather than for his own health. Speaking on BBC Radio 4s Desert Island Discs, Clarke recalled Clarke responded to an Observer reader …

Writers claim being excluded after creating Idris Elba’s play

Tree is billed as a collaboration between Elba and director Kwame Kwei-Armah Two writers claim they were removed from Tree. A gender and power in theatre, Sarah Henley and Tori Allen-Martin claim they conceived the show, which is billed as a creative collaboration between Burn Bright, with the aim of driving positive change for female writers. Kwei-Armah, who succeeded David Lan at the Young Vic after seven years running Center Stage in Baltimore, Original Article : HERE ; This post …

Revealed: creeping privatisation of London parks in summer

Exclusive figures show extent to which London councils are using parks for ticketed music festivals such as Wireless to plug budget gaps As chugging guitars reverberated over Finsbury Park last Sunday afternoon, crowds streamed through the Manor House gate past a banner commemorating the parks 150th anniversary. Next to it was another temporary sign: Welcome! Your park is open as usual. The statement was at best disingenuous the gates were certainly open, and so were many of the facilities, but …

Inside the 21st-century British criminal underworld

The long read: There are almost 5,000 criminal gangs in the UK. But the old family firms are gone todays big players are multinational, diversified and tech-savvy Who rules the underworld today, and where do they conduct their business? Once there were the familiar mugshots and Runyonesque nicknames, the clubs and pubs where the usual suspects gathered, plotted and schemed. Now organised crime is run like any other business, and its leading figures look like every other broker or tycoon. …

Wimbledon ditches plastic racket covers in sustainability drive

All England Lawn Tennis Club move means there will be 4,500 fewer plastic bags this year It may not quite be a Wimbledon tradition along the lines of the all-white dress code but the sight of players discarding the plastic cover from a freshly strung racket is a familiar one at SW19. However, it will not be seen at this years championships, which begin on Monday or in future Wimbledon tournaments after a review of the use of plastics, and …

Janet Jackson lauds Michael’s music legacy but avoids abuse claims

Michael Jacksons sister gives interview ahead of 10th anniversary of his death Janet Jackson has said her brother Michaels musical legacy will continue, but refused to comment on enduring allegations of child sexual abuse. Two men, and interview with the Sunday Times magazine, she said: It will continue. I love it when I see kids emulating him, when adults still listen to his music. It just lets you know the impact that my family has had on the world. I …

Wink murder: is the lascivious gesture dying a death?

When the Trumps came to tea, the Duchesss of Cornwall winked, and people were amused. But is such an exclusionary gesture still OK? When the Trumps went to Clarence House for tea on the first day of their recent state visit to the UK, the Duchess of Cornwall performed (if that is the right word) The novel is set in the 70s, which was a lascivious decade, therefore well stocked with that sort of winker, but the main thing was …