British rock acts The Cure, Franz Ferdinand and Mystery Jets have thrown their support behind a new campaign to make gigs more accessible for disabled music fans. The MusicWithoutBarriers drive aims to raise awareness of the problems facing disabled revellers when they want to see their favourite bands live in the U.K.
A statement from the Mystery Jets, whose frontman Blaine Harrison suffers from spina bifida, reads, "Whether it's watching a friend's band at a local venue or watching Radiohead from the disabled platform at Glastonbury, gigs should be accessible to everyone."
Other performers backing the cause include The Cure, Franz Ferdinand, Alt-J, Tom Odell and Frank Turner, who adds, "Everybody deserves the chance to enjoy live music, and coming together to improve access for all is only going to make shows better for everyone."
British singer/songwriter Frank Turner has struck a deal to publish his tour diaries. The musician will share his experiences on the road as an unsigned artist to performing at the 2012 London Olympic Games' opening ceremony.
Turner says, "It took some persuading for me to think about writing a book of any kind, but in the end I realised that I have spent a pretty unusual amount of time touring hard in the last few years, and I have a fair few stories to tell, and maybe even a tiny smidgen of wisdom to impart to people starting out on the same path. Plus I come from a family of yarn-spinners, and I can run my mouth, so it makes sense."
The book is slated for release in early 2015.
Actor Aaron Paul and singer Frank Turner are among the celebrities who have made cameo appearances in a new music video for rising British rockers The Travis Waltons. The Breaking Bad star and British songwriter Turner have lent their support to the group for their new single Homewrecker.
Paul introduces the video by referencing his character's iconic catchphrase, saying, "The Travis Waltons band is a b**ch and your song Homewrecker is a b**ch, b**ch".
Turner even filmed his own cameo on a cell phone in his bathroom.
The group also recruited porn star Joanna Angel, bands Bloody Knees and Lonely The Brave, and controversial British comedy performer Kunt and the Gang for the video.
British funnyman Russell Brand and musician Frank Turner are among a star-studded line-up of speakers booked to appear at the U.K.'s prestigious Cambridge University this year (14). The stars will both give a talk for the Cambridge Union Society along with former Libertines frontman Carl Barat and retired ballet legend Darcey Bussell.
The mostly male line-up, which features Bussell as the only female speaker, has drawn criticism from students, but the Union Society's president Imogen Schon has now vowed to book more women.
She says, "We have a fantastic line up of individual speakers, but I do regret the current lack of women in their number. As a result, we have been focusing on inviting female speakers for the past three weeks, in the hope of addressing the imbalance later in term."
Previous speakers at Cambridge University include Sir Ian McKellen, Clint Eastwood and the Dalai Lama.
British singer/songwriter Frank Turner can add Iron Maiden superfan to his resume after winning TV show Mastermind by answering questions about the heavy rock group. Turner picked Iron Maiden as his specialist subject as he took on poet John Cooper Clarke, actor Ben Faulks and comedian Roy Hudd on a celebrity edition of the quiz show, which aired in the U.K. on Friday (03Jan14).
Turner, who performed at the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012, was thrilled to win the TV contest, telling host John Humphreys, "It's been on my bucket list to be on Mastermind since I was a kid."
Turner was playing to raise money and awareness for homelessness charity Shelter.
He joined Billy Bragg for a series of busking gigs in London at the end of last month (Dec13) to raise funds for Shelter.
British musicians Billy Bragg and Frank Turner are set to busk on the streets of London to raise money for the homeless. The A New England hitmaker and folk star Turner are teaming up for a sold-out concert in aid of the Shelter charity on Wednesday (18Dec13) and they will preview the event on Tuesday (17Dec13).
They will travel to London's Kings Cross district to busk for an hour at lunchtime.
Bragg says, "The work that Shelter does is essential every day of the year, but never more so than at Christmas time. I am privileged to have the opportunity to join forces with Frank Turner in helping highlight and support the crucial work that they do."
Turner adds, "I've done a fair bit of work with Shelter over the years and I think what they do is fantastic and important; a society as affluent as ours could and should be able to make sure everyone has a stable roof over their heads. Bring Billy into the equation and it's a great way to sign off for the year and get ready for Christmas."
The exact location of the pair's busking session will be revealed on Twitter.com on Monday (16Dec13).
Radiohead and rocker Frank Turner have voiced their support for new British live music initiative Independent Venue Week. The project, aimed at supporting small gig halls across Britain, will involve the bosses of 18 pubs and clubs curating six days of music in collaboration with artists, promoters, labels and blogs to help support up and coming talent.
Radiohead drummer Phil Selway says, "Small venues are the lifeblood of British music. When you start out as a band, you aspire to playing in your local venue and feel a sense of achievement when you get a gig there.
"In Oxford, we grew up wanting to play at The Jericho Tavern, and were lucky enough to be signed after one of our shows there."
Turner adds, "Without small, independent venues, there'd be no small, independent bands, and without them there'd be no big acts either."
Independent Venue Week will run between 28 January and 2 February (14) in U.K. cities including London, Bristol and Manchester.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Rocker Frank Turner honoured late Nirvana rocker Kurt Cobain at Reading Festival on Friday (23Aug13) by turning up onstage in a wheelchair, mimicking the star's iconic 1992 entrance. The singer/songwriter was one of the headlining acts at the British music event in England, and drew huge cheers from the crowd when he wheeled himself onto the Main Stage.
The wheelchair entrance was inspired by Cobain, who famously turned up in the device at Nirvana's last ever show at the festival in 1992.
Turner then jumped up and played his track If I Ever Stray.
The performance came a week after Turner scrapped festival appearances in Europe due to a back injury.
Cult rockers Diiv have pulled out of their weekend appearances at the Leeds and Reading festivals in Britain after frontman Zachary Cole Smith fell ill. The group was billed to perform at Reading on Saturday (24Aug13) and Leeds on Sunday (25Aug13), but both shows have been scrapped.
DIIV have also cancelled a performance at French festival Rock en Seine on Friday night (23Aug13).
Smith announced the news on Twitter.com with the post, "hey, this sucks but i'm too sick to play Reading and Leeds this weekend. we just called and cancelled. i'm so f**king sorry. back soon."
Meanwhile, singer/songwriter Frank Turner hit the headlines on the opening day of the Reading festival on Friday (23Aug13) by re-enacting Kurt Cobain’s entrance in 1992.
The Nirvana star poked fun at stories about his drug abuse and rehab stints when he took the stage at Reading in a wheelchair, dressed in a hospital gown.