Morning, afternoon, good evening. I hope you are all having great days, and are ready for another dose of interesting, bizarre, silly, exciting and frustrating arts and cultural news. I will keep this intro brief this week, partly because nothing I say will top the comments made by one Donald Trump this week, calling for both a ban on Muslims entering America, and a shutting down of the internet with the help of Bill Gates. He then praised Katie Hopkins, and said the UK should be grateful for all the money he spent making golf courses in Scotland. There were spurious comments about areas of London (to which Boris Johnson has the most amazing response), and the UK population has responded with the most signed petition of all time, asking for Trump to be banned from entering the UK. Ultimately, it has not been the best week for Trump, and he has proven himself to be a bit off the mark in terms of Presidential material.
Enjoy the slightly less contentious news items, and good luck with the panic buying of presents! What, just me who's terribly unorganised? Ok then…
Nominations for the 2016 GRAMMYs have been announced
Kicking off awards season with an underwhelming bang, the nominations for next year's Grammy's have been announced. It's been a good year for brits and a confusing year for pop music with some exceptions. Kendrick Lamar leads with a humongous eleven nominations and Taylor Swift and The Weeknd trail behind with seven. British nominees who have done well in the more competitive categories are of course Ed Sheeran, James Bay, and Florence + the Machine. In addition, Lianne La Havas gets her first nomination for her hugely acclaimed second album, Blood, as well as nominations for Wolf Alice, Jamie xx, and Muse. Our best representation comes in rock categories.
Spotify 'Year in Music' feature launched
Spotify has launched a feature which not only lets you look back on music in 2015 but personalises it to see what your own music listening behaviour was like. Apparently I listened to a lot of Gretchen Peters last winter...it shows you your most streamed songs, artists. It serves as a welcome bit of nostalgia to kick off the end-of-the-year festivities and has been trending on social media. You can sign in using your Spotify account and allow it to generate your musical diary! Of course, how much we all listened to Taylor Swift won't be included...
Coldplay's new album won't be on Spotify, but Spotify might have a plan for that…
That isn't the only news to break regarding Spotify this week. Perhaps one of the biggest and most successful bands in the world has announced that their new album A Head Full of Dreams will not be available on Spotify immediately on launch: The free tier is reportedly to blame. The move mirrors that of musicians like Adele and Taylor Swift. However, the Wall Street Journal reports that Spotify is at least considering allowing artists to withhold music from the free tier of their service, meaning albums could launch on the service, but only for paying members. It would be a reversal in the philosophy of Spotify, but with more artists boycotting, and competitors like Apple Music entering the scene, it's a case of adapt or die.
Trailer for Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of Roald Dahl's The BFG released
The latest Hollywood treatment of a Dahl book since Depp took on Willy Wonka back in 2005. The archetypal posh orphan girl takes on her darknesses when she uncovers the BFG. The first trailer doesn't give much away and leaves a lot to assumed knowledge - a good ploy to pander to Dahl's existing fan base. It looks to warn of a storm of visual effects which could diminish from the visuals in a The Hobbit saga fashion but we'll have to wait a few months for the next trailer/posters to find out.
Trailer and poster for David Yates' film adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan released
Speaking of The BFG's trailer and poster, that's precisely what we've been bestowed with by Warner Bros. We have the first look of Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan and Margot Robbie as Jane in a sequel to the tale of Tarzan titled The Legend of Tarzan. Here, Tarzan and become accustomed to his life as gentleman-husband of Jane back in London when he's asked to return back to the jungle to investigate the jungle excavation that's taken over his homeland. Huge names with Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson tells us that at least the performances are going to be worth catching the film for. CGI animals look pretty darn impressive from what we see of them in the film so, as far as this goes we're excited.
Nominations for Golden Globes 2016 have been announced
Powerful romantic drama, Carol, leads the nominations with five including Best Drama Film and two Best Actress noms. Also a lot of love for Alicia Vikander who is up for both Best Drama Actress and Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl and Ex Machina respectively. Surprise noms come for Mad Max: Fury Road for Best Drama Film and Best Director where action films are rarely recognised. Notable absences are of Black Mass, Spotlight, and The Hateful Eight with none for the first two and two for Tarantino's latest film. Over in TV, lots of love for Fargo and Netflix newbies Mr. Robot and Narcos. Also a great year for brits with Vikander, Eddie Redmayne, Helen Mirren, Idris Elba and Maggie Smith being among the nominees. Surprising what series the Globes have called comedies, too…here's to getting Fey and Poehler back on our screens again.
Prince finally lets fans listen to his live performance of Radiohead's Creep
Quick background for you: Prince has a very odd relationship with the internet, and a laser focused legal team who take down any and every video of Prince whenever they pop up. In 2008 he performed a version of Radiohead's Creep at Coachella Festival, but if you weren't there, you probably have never seen it. Well, rejoice, as Prince has now decided the Internet isn't all bad, and has allowed the performance to be uploaded, and is even directing fans there. "Well, tell him to unblock it. It's our … song." was the response of Thom York, the musician who actually wrote the song, and first complained about the practice over 7 years ago! The Verge have a timeline over the events. Not going to lie, I don't think the cover is that good...
Androgynous model challenges Victoria's Secret beauty stereotypes
Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2015 was broadcast the 8th of December from New York in occasion of their annual beauty exhibition. The show is famous for the extravagant lingerie displayed and the beautiful models called "The Angels". The androgynous model Rain Dove recreated Victoria's Secret Christmas Shoots to challenge the beauty stereotypes of the show. She posed with the same lingerie and attached the faces of the Angels over her body. She then presented in comparison the original photos with the ones modified. Rain Dove's message is that feminine beauty stereotypes need to be changed and discrimination of who doesn't fit this standard need to be stopped.
BBC iPlayer to start showing pre-programme trailers
In a move to make iPlayer more personal to you, the BBC will start to include trailers for other shows you may like before you watch your chosen show. These trailers will be based on your watching habits, and will be for BBC shows only - at the moment at least. You can also skip the trailer if you don't like it. The rollout started this week for the Flash version of the player. If you use the HMTL5 player, or watch iPlayer on smart TV's, then you won't see these adverts until 2016. There are future plans to include a bookmark option to add shows to your 'My Programmes' list if the show isn't yet available on iPlayer. A good idea in principle, but in reality, will people get annoyed by the delay in their content?
Call someone you care about
Sorry if you were looking for something arty or cultural but this week I have nothing. I don't know whether I'm just feeling particularly emotional and sentimental this week, but if you are stuck for something to do, then call up the people you care about. Parents, grandparents, a sibling, your better half, a friend you have fallen out of contact with. Give them a ring. Get in touch, check in, see how things are going. While life is hectic, it's also short, and too often we get so absorbed in the what ifs, and the stresses of school/work/life that we fail to see the forest for the trees. You have no idea how much of a difference it might make to someone's day to know you thought of them, and you may learn something new! They might even give you something exciting to try, so you could say I'm outsourcing the section for this week.
Have beautiful weekends, and stay safe!