Grimes finds a whole new way to make climate change fun

No one want to feel guilty looking at polar bears. The future is obviously safe in the hands of the artist who now calls herself c It is written into celebrity lore that the reason the boyband Blue never made it in the US isn’t because it looked as if the smouldering line-up of Lee Ryan, Duncan James and Simon Webbe were being forced to hang out with Antony Costa because their mums were all friends with his mum. The real reason is quite different: in the wake of the 9/11 attacks – in a let’s-break-America-with-our-wholesome-brand-of-banter interview – Ryan went off-piste and said: “This New York thing is being blown out of proportion. What about whales? They are ignoring animals that are more important. Animals need saving and that’s more important.” And lo: record contract revoked, tail-between-their-legs flight back to Britain, now the fragmented shards of Blue are the face of the home improvement company Ideal Boilers. Before we analyse whether Ryan was right all along and might be an underappreciated intellect-cum-soothsayer (whales are important! He’s right!) (But! With! Caveats!), I want to visit this quote from Grimes, the poptronica, Pitchfork-approved musician who granted a rare interview to the Wall Street Journal this week. “I want to make climate change fun,” she said, describing the theme of her upcoming concept album, Miss Anthropocene. “People don’t care about it, because we’re being guilted. I see the polar bear and want to kill myself. No one wants to look at it, you know? I want to make a reason to look at it. I want to make it beautiful.” Now read Ryan’s one about whales, then Grimes’s bit about the polar bears again. Oscillate between them. Here is my theory: this is the same quote, tumbled out of different mouths. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

‘We are modern slaves’: Mdou Moctar, the Hendrix of the Sahara

His first guitar was made from wood and bicycle parts and his first songs were shared via Bluetooth in the desert. But the Niger musician has become international – and is taking aim at France How do you even dream of making music when your family and religious leaders disapprove, when you live at the edge of the Sahara desert, and you cannot afford an instrument? It helps that the Tuareg musician Mdou Moctar, from Niger, is not easily discouraged. Unable to acquire a guitar, he made one out of a piece of wood with brake wires from an old bicycle for strings, and taught himself to play in secret. “I was from a religious family and music was not welcome, but I would go and listen to local musicians and dream of being like them,” the 32-year-old singer-songwriter says over the phone while on tour in the US. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

The Crossing review – Bai Xue’s slowburn gem delivers the goods

This feature debut about a schoolgirl coerced into small-time smuggling is all the more powerful for shunning high drama With this elegantly elliptical arthouse movie, Bai Xue announces herself as a cool, confident observer of a new generation of Chinese youth. There are echoes of Sofia Coppola in Bai’s directing debut, a coming-of-age story inspired by real-life criminal gangs in Hong Kong who recruit schoolkids to smuggle mobile phones into mainland China. It’s a wisp of film that never quite gathers speed or force but it gets under your skin, capturing the impulsiveness and impatience of teenagers. Others may find it a little flat or frustrating. Huang Yao is shy 16-year-old Peipei, who’s frantically saving up for a holiday in Japan with her rich best friend Jo (Carmen Soup). Peipei commutes daily between her home in the Chinese city Shenzhen and school in Hong Kong. To make a little extra money she smuggles for a gang. It begins harmlessly enough, slipping a couple of iPhones wrapped in cling film into her school bag. If stopped by officials at the airport-style security on the metro, she can reasonably claim the phones are for personal use. As Peipei slips between worlds, Bai changes up the camera style, from handheld in busy Hong Kong to still compositions in Shenzhen. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Purr evil: cats with hidden agendas – ranked!

As Goose the Cat has stolen the show in Captain Marvel, we pick 10 fiendish felines from past films Orion is a ginger-and-white puss who sees his beloved can-opener, an elderly Manhattan jeweller called Rosenburg, being murdered by a giant cockroach-like alien called Edgar, and refuses to leave the old man’s corpse. The cat’s loyalty to the dead man is genuinely moving in a sci-fi comedy that otherwise opts for flippancy. But Rosenburg had a secret and so does his cat. SPOILER! Hanging from the collar around Orion’s neck is a bauble that turns out to contain the missing galaxy for which everyone in the film has been searching. Continue reading… [hmp_player]