Veteran British broadcaster Tony Blackburn was honoured for his 50-year career at the 2014 Radio Academy Awards in London on Monday (12May14). The DJ was presented with the Gold Award from Radio Academy officials for a second time - he was first feted with the same prize in 1989.
He joked to the audience, "It's very kind of you. I want to thank the medical team that keep me going."
Blackburn has been a stalwart of BBC Radio since 1967, when he became the first DJ to broadcast on Radio 1. The 71 year old still hosts a show, Pick of the Pops, on Radio 2.
Other winners at the prizegiving included comic Frank Skinner (Best Speech Programme) and DJ Greg James (Best Entertainment Programme).
Jazz musician Jamie Cullum has been honoured for his skills as a radio host after receiving a top prize at the Radio Academy Awards in London on Monday (12May14). The British star is best known for his singing career, but during a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel, he was feted as the host of BBC Radio 2 programme Folded Wing.
Cullum nabbed the Best Music Programme prize, beating out the likes of Blur bassist Alex James, who was nominated for his Magical Musical Tour show.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As grand as the themes of good and evil, needs and deservings, power and responsibility and such forth are, superhero movies are generally pretty straightforward in premise: hero stops villain from wreaking havoc. As off-putting as this kind of simplicity might sound, it's usually the right way to go. If you pack enough substance into your characters and adhere your plot to these linear margins, you can actually wind up saying a healthy amount (and having a lot of fun). The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets half of this formula down pat. Although Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker is still a moreover undistinguished identity, his emotional magnitude (re: his relationship with Gwen Stacy) is enough to keep him valid through the storm of lunacy that is his second feature. And it's not even that lunacy that holds him back. The problem isn't how wild his conquests are, how silly some of the action sequences feel, or how absolutely bonkers his villains turn out to be. It's all the other stuff (and yes, if you can believe it, there's a ton more going on in this movie than what I've already mentioned — that's the issue). All the plot twists, tertiary mysteries, ominous flashbacks, abject reveals, and weightlessly sinister pawns in this brooding game that, save for its fun with the baddies, takes itself way too seriously. All that stuff that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 thinks is necessary to make Peter Parker matter? It actually does just the opposite.
Peter is at his best when he's playing Tracy and Hepburn with the girlfriend he's perpetually disappointing (the eternally charming Emma Stone), or trying to win back the favor of the only remaining parental figure from whom he's rapidly slipping away (Sally Field, reminding us why she's a household name), or angling to connect with the mentally unstable engineer who just wants people to notice him (Jamie Foxx working his comic shtick with a frightening zest). We have the most fun with Peter when he's playing the simplest games, and we connect best with him on similar ground. But Peter and company, at the behest of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise's Sandman-sized aspirations, spend so much time exploring new avenues: the secrets surrounding the death and work of Richard Parker, the behind-the-curtains operations of OsCorp, the nefarious goings on in the waterside penitentiary Ravencroft.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As a result of the grand stab at world building, there is just so much stuff that Peter has to wade through in this movie, dragging the likes of Gwen and his boyhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, mastering angst, menace, and upper-class privilege all at once) into the dark crevasses of narrative waste. With so many diversions into the emotionally vacant, deliberately joyless explorations of Parker family origin stories, secret brief cases, and underground subways — The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rivals Captain America: The Winter Soldier in complexity, but forgets the necessary ingredient of fun — we barely have enough energy left when the good stuff hits.
And in truth, the good stuff isn't really good enough to sustain us through all the duller periods. Garfield and Stone do have laudable chemistry. Foxx is a hoot as Peter's maniacal new foe, especially when paired with the grimacing DeHaan. And the action, while often straying from any aesthetic authenticity, is nothing shy of neat-o. It's all passable, occasionally worthy of a hearty smile, but rarely anything you'll be definitively pleased you took the time to see.
But beyond coming up short in the micro, the film's regal downfall is its scope. With so much to do, both in accomplishing its own necessary plot points and setting up for those to come in future films, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't seem to take time to make sure it's having fun with its own premise. And if it isn't having fun, we won't be either.
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Sir Mick Jagger and singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright have shared their playlists with British Airways bosses as part of a new inflight programme that will allow fans to listen to their favourite tracks as they fly. Kicking off the new initiative in March (14), Jagger will introduce passengers to artists like Malian singer Salif Keita and late Nigerian star Fela Kuti, while Wainwright will offer up songs by Angelique Kidjo and The Gloaming in April (14).
Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire composer A.R. Rahman, Brian Eno, Jamie Cullum and Steve Martin have also been approached by British Airways bosses and asked to create playlists of their favourite tunes.
"I'm married to a really, really good guy. He's intensely curious and engaged with life, and we bring out the best in each other. When you meet someone who really sees you, it gives you the emotional freedom to pursue your dreams." British model Sophie Dahl heaps praise on her husband, singer Jamie Cullum.
Acclaimed British jazz pianist Stan Tracey has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 86. The sad news was announced in a post on the official Stan Tracey Appreciation page on Facebook.com on Friday (06Dec13).
The message, posted online by his relative Ben Tracey, reads: "It is with deepest regret that I must announce the death of Stan Tracey... today, at the age of 86. After a struggle with illness, he passed away having recently celebrated his 70 year professional career as a jazz pianist/composer.
"He is survived by a family who love him, and will miss him profoundly. His legacy is the generations of musicians young and old, past and future who have his influential example to look to. Many thanks to all those who have shown him such love and support over these many years."
Tracey, who has been hailed as the godfather of British jazz, started his career as an accordion player during World War II.
He then switched to the piano and performed with the Ted Heath band and served as the house pianist at London's iconic Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club for six years from 1959.
The musician received several awards throughout his career, including a lifetime achievement accolade at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2002 and the first Ivor Novello award for jazz in 2012.
He was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1986 and was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2008.
Paying tribute to Tracey on Twitter.com, jazz star Jamie Cullum writes, "He played like a demon right up until his last days on earth as an Eightysomething (sic)."
Jazz star Jamie Cullum has come under fire from animal rights activists after he played a show at the home of a controversial circus. The British musician played to a sold-out crowd last month (Nov13) at the main venue of Circus Krone, one of Europe's largest circuses, which still includes 'performances' from an array of exotic animals, including big cats, elephants and monkeys.
The gig has angered officials at animal charities, who claim Cullum should have researched the venue's history before booking his concert.
Peter Hoffken, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), says, "We would wish that the celebrities or agents would inform themselves before they book this venue. We hope that at some point Circus Krone will stop exhibiting animals and just concentrate on renting out its premises for singers."
Jan Creamer, chief executive of Animal Defenders International (ADI), adds, "The welfare needs of tigers, lions and other wild animals can never be met in circuses where these majestic animals are confined. We are very concerned that celebrities including Jamie Cullum are apparently condoning such cruelty by performing at animal circus venues."
A representative for the singer has defended him by insisting no animals performed during his show, telling Britain's The Independent, "He was not aware that the venue was used for live animal performances during the summer months. I can confirm that no animals featured in his performance and that he does not condone the use of live animals as a form of entertainment."
Animal performances in circuses will be banned in Cullum's native Britain from 2015.
British pop stars Jessie J, Emeli Sande and Rita Ora led a high-profile line-up at a memorial concert for a murdered teenager on Sunday night (29Sep13). The big-name cast, which also featured British musicians Jamie Cullum, Tinie Tempah, Rizzle Kicks, Labrinth and Plan B, gathered to perform at London's O2 Arena in memory of Stephen Lawrence, a black teenager who was stabbed to death in a racially motivated attack in 1993.
The concert marked 20 years since the 18 year old's slaying, and proceeds from the event will go to The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, which was set up following the murder to aid underprivileged young people.
After her performance, Jessie J told British newspaper the Daily Star, "I want people to walk away thinking: 'What can I do to make the world a better place to live in?'"
Emeli Sandi took to Twitter.com to write, "I feel so blessed to play a part in todays (sic) concert in memory of Stephen Lawrence. Let the music strike & inspire unity and justice."
Two men, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were convicted of Lawrence's murder last year (12) after the initial investigation into five suspects collapsed amid allegations of racism within London's Metropolitan Police.
Rizzle Kicks made their new album a family affair by inviting Jordan Stephens' parents to sing on the record. The British hip-hop duo's new album Roaring 20s features collaborations with stars including Jamie Cullum, Fatboy Slim and The Wire actor Dominic West, who recorded a rap for the pair.
However, Stephens was most impressed with a guest appearance from his family members, including his mother, father and cousin, who all sing on the album.
He tells Britain's Capital FM, "On the album... My mum sings a chorus, my dad sings a chorus, my cousin sings a little bit. It actually sounds dope (good)."
The star goes onto reveal the multiple collaborations were inspired by two big-name acts, adding, "There's some different voices. Jamie Cullum - so that's interesting. There's the Dominic West thing... It's not 'featuring this and that'. We're big fans of Gorillaz and Kanye West and the whole thing, which doesn't happen so much in Britain."
Jazz singer Jamie Cullum is backing a campaign to save the venue where he played his first ever gig after bosses proposed plans to transform it into a restaurant. The Bull's Head in Barnes, London has been a popular haunt for jazz players and fans since 1959. Cullum played his first show there when he was 19 and he has been left devastated after discovering brewery bosses who have purchased the property are planning to relaunch it as a posh eaterie.
Taking to Twitter.com, the Brit has urged his followers to sign an online petition in a bid to save the music space, writing, "My very first gig London was at The Bull's Head in Barnes when I was 19 with a band called the Alex Jackson Quartet.
"I've since played there many times and seen many of my heroes there including the great Stan Tracey. It has been providing that service since 1959 and is a national institution. The new owners Youngs (brewery) want to turn it into a gastro pub (a bar selling food). You can help to stop this from happening and help save a great music venue by signing this petition."