Media

Culture

 

British Queen celebrates

Culture

 

Rock veterans The Rolling Stones returned to where it all began as they posed outside a recreation of the venue of their first ever gig, half a century on.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood gathered at a mock-up of the old Marquee club venue to mark the 50th anniversary of their debut.

They were captured by renowned photographer Rankin, the first time the members had been pictured together for four years, since the premiere of their Shine A Light movie.

The group played their first show at the club in London's Oxford Street on July 12, 1962, under the name The Rollin' Stones, hastily chosen from a song by their blues hero Muddy Waters.

The group landed the gig when the venue's regular band Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated were booked for a BBC radio show and Marquee owner Harold Pendleton booked them to fill in.

The line-up for the show in that early incarnation was listed in Jazz News as: "Mick Jagger (vocals harmonica), Keith Richards (guitars), Elmo Lewis, real name Brian Jones (guitars), Dick Taylor (bass), Ian Stewart (piano), & Mick Avory (drums)."

The group, regular visitors to the club, had been rehearsing a set of R&B standards at the nearby Bricklayers Arms pub in Soho's Broadwick Street.

Racy publishing phenomenon EL James has seen her debut book Fifty Shades Of Grey become the first to sell more than one million copies for Kindles.

Online retailer Amazon.co.uk said she has already become its best-selling author of the year and the book is the biggest Kindle ebook yet.

James - whose real name is Erika Leonard - has had colossal sales for her erotic fiction books, with the paperback version of her debut achieving the UK's highest weekly sale for a paperback.

Amazon said the Kindle edition of Fifty Shades was outselling the print book at a rate of more than two to one.

Her trilogy of saucy Grey books was published in March. The film rights have already been snapped up.

Gordon Willoughby, director of EU Kindle, said: "EL James's books have become both the fastest-selling and the best-selling series ever on Kindle - that's an exceptional achievement for a debut novelist and we're excited to see her pass the one million sales milestone."

 

Websites will be given greater protection from being sued if they help to identify internet trolls under Government plans.

Major reforms of the libel laws will see a duty placed on internet service providers to try to identify those posting defamatory messages without victims needing to resort to costly legal action.

The Defamation Bill, which will be debated in the Commons, will also see would-be claimants having to show they have suffered serious harm to their reputations, or are likely to do so, before they can take a defamation case forward.

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said: "As the law stands, individuals can be the subject of scurrilous rumour and allegation on the web with little meaningful remedy against the person responsible. Website operators are in principle liable as publishers for everything that appears on their sites, even though the content is often determined by users.

"But most operators are not in a position to know whether the material posted is defamatory or not and very often - faced with a complaint - they will immediately remove material. Our proposed approach will mean that website operators have a defence against libel as long as they comply with a procedure to help identify the authors of allegedly defamatory material."

He went on: "The Government wants a libel regime for the internet that makes it possible for people to protect their reputations effectively but also ensures that information online can't be easily censored by casual threats of litigation against website operators. It will be very important to ensure that these measures do not inadvertently expose genuine whistleblowers, and we are committed to getting the detail right to minimise this risk."

US pop diva Lady Gaga arrived in South Korea late Friday, one week before a Seoul performance which will kick off her third concert tour. The singer, wearing a floor-length low-cut white dress, white gloves and a pearl-encrusted mask, blew kisses to fans at Seoul's Gimpo airport who tried to snap her image on smartphones. Her schedule in South Korea for the coming week was unclear and concert organisers Hyundai Card declined to give details. "The Born This Way Ball" tour begins on April 27 at Seoul's Olympic Stadium. From there Lady Gaga will take her hits and extravagant costumes to Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia, and then on to 21 European cities. South Koreans aged under 18 have been banned from the concert after it was rated unsuitable for younger audiences.

 

Social networking giant Facebook is to spend one billion dollars (£629 million) to buy the photo-sharing software company Instagram.

The deal comes days after the service began offering a version for Android phones. The payment will be in cash and Facebook stock.

Facebook is expected to complete its initial public offering of stock next month.

It is Facebook's largest acquisition to date.

Instagram lets people apply filters to photos they take with their mobile devices. Some make the photos look as if they were taken in the 1970s or on Polaroid cameras.

Facebook says it will keep Instagram running independently. Users will be able to run it on rival social networks such as Twitter - a departure from Facebook's tendency to buy small start-ups and integrate the technology - or shut it down. The deal is expected to close by the end of June.

"This is an important milestone for Facebook because it's the first time we've ever acquired a product and company with so many users," CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. "We don't plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.

 

 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson called on Irish people to help make this summer's Games the "O'Lympics" as he took part in St Patrick's Day festivities.

He joined thousands of revellers, including Irish Olympians and Paralympians, for the annual parade of colourful floats. It ended in a festival of music, dance, crafts and food at Trafalgar Square.

Describing the turn-out as "fantastic", Mr Johnson said: "I think it shows the amazing strength of the Irish community in London. We must have tens of thousands of people here today.

"There is an enormously optimistic mood and I hope that some of the spirit we have got here from the Irish community will feed on through to the summer where we are putting on the greatest party, the greatest show on earth.

"Let's hope that we put the apostrophe into the O'Lympics."

He praised the "real skill of the Irish community in educating everybody in the business of having a party" but admitted "there are anxieties about some aspects of" the Games.

He went on: "There is anxiety about keeping the costs under control. It's very important that we continue to do that. There is anxiety about transport systems and the security. But I think that most people know in their hearts we're going to put on a fantastic show. It will be a great Games."

 

 

Encyclopaedia Britannica is to stop publishing print editions of its flagship encyclopaedia for the first time since the sets were originally published more than 200 years ago.

The book-form of Encyclopaedia Britannica has been in print since it was first published in Edinburgh in 1768. It will stop being available when the current stock runs out, the company says.

The Chicago-based company will continue to offer digital versions of the encyclopaedia.

It said the end of the printed, 32-volume set had been foreseen for some time.

"This has nothing to do with Wikipedia or Google," Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc president Jorge Cauz said. "This has to do with the fact that now Britannica sells its digital products to a large number of people."

The top year for the printed encyclopaedia was 1990, when 120,000 sets were sold, Mr Cauz said. That number fell to 40,000 just six years later in 1996. The company started exploring digital publishing the 1970s. The first CD-ROM version was published in 1989 and a version went online in 1994.

21

 

Just over a week after her spectacular sweep at the Grammys, soul diva Adele triumphed on home soil at the annual Brit Awards in London.

The 23-year-old picked up two awards -- including the prestigious British album of the year -- to add to the six Grammys she won in Los Angeles, cementing her status as one of Britain's most successful pop exports in years.

Adele -- whose career was threatened last year by a throat illness -- claimed British female solo artist and best album for "21," which topped the charts in Britain and the United States.

Accepting the best album gong, she said: "Nothing makes me prouder than coming home with six Grammys and then coming home and winning British album of the year.

"I'm so proud to be British and to be flying the flag."

The singer also thanked her record company "for letting me be the kind of artist that I've always wanted to be," and her fans. "No one's ever made me feel like I have to be any different, so thank you very much," she added.

However, her global chart-topper "Rolling at the Deep" was beaten to best single by British boy band One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful."

 

 

 

Pop legend and actress Whitney Houston died in a Beverly Hills hotel, triggering shock and tributes as the music world gathered for the annual Grammy awards show. She was 48.

Houston, whose hits include "I will Always Love You," was found dead in her room at the Beverly Hilton, hours before a traditional pre-Grammys dinner at the hotel where she was reportedly due to perform.

Musicians, gathered ahead of the Grammys on Sunday evening, lined up to pay tribute to the singer, who sold over 170 million records before descending into a very public battle with substance abuse.

"She was one of the greatest singers I ever heard," said veteran crooner Tony Bennett, on the red carpet at the Beverly Hills hotel, where Houston's body was found in her fourth floor room.

Obit:Whitney Houston broke records, barriers and hearts

Police confirmed her death in a brief statement outside the hotel, where stars were gathering for the annual pre-Grammys dinner hosted by veteran producer Clive Davis.

"At 3:55 pm, Whitney Houston was pronounced dead at the Beverly Hilton hotel," said Mark Rosen, a police spokesman.

Rosen said police received an emergency call from someone in her entourage and found Houston on the floor of her room as attempts were being made to resuscitate her.

"There were no obvious signs of criminal intent at this time, and it is being investigated by the Beverly Hills police department," the police spokesman added.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

People magazine and the TMZ celebrity website reported that Houston had been due to perform at the Saturday night dinner, but this could not immediately be confirmed.

A mobile crime laboratory and a number of police cars were stationed outside the hotel, while inside guests watched live television coverage about Houston's death.

Condolences poured in on Twitter from shocked fans and from the famous, as sadness over the news spread through the entertainment world.

 

Criticism was mounting Wednesday over the removal of Fred Goodwin's knighthood, with former chancellor Alistair Darling and the Institute of Directors among those condemning the move against the former Royal Bank of Scotland chief.

Writing in the Times, Labour's Darling said: "There is something tawdry about the government directing its fire at Fred Goodwin alone; if it's right to annul his knighthood, what about the honours of others who were involved...?

"If policy is not based on principle but is about individuals, the government will carry on being blown in the wind," he wrote.

The Queen stripped Goodwin of his honour -- given for services to banking -- on Tuesday after a committee of senior civil servants recommended it be annulled, although Goodwin has not been convicted of a criminal offence.

Its removal places Goodwin in a select club that also includes Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Soviet spy Anthony Blunt, and Romanian Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who lost his honour the day before he was executed.

The committee said Goodwin had brought the honours system into "disrepute" with management which brought the bank to the brink of collapse, resulting in a £45 billion taxpayer bailout in 2008.

Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said he was concerned about "anti-business hysteria".

"I don't approve of the decision to strip Fred Goodwin of his knighthood," he told BBC News.

"I don't think it's a business issue -- I think it's an honours system issue. There's a well-established practice where if people are convicted of a criminal offence, they lose their honours that they've been granted -- that's historic and that is appropriate.