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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Theres no plot, no subtext and no apparent point, but the tunes including Memory, sung by Leona Lewis drill into your brain like a flesh-eating worm

For the entirety of the two hours I sat watching Cats, which is back on Broadway after a 16-year absence, I had a version of the Muppets Statler and Waldorf routine going on in my mind. This revival is TERRIBLE, I thought; hideously dated, boring, empty, meaningless, unfunny, kitsch without meaning to be, complacent, simultaneously bloated and undernourished. Bringing it back was a terrible idea and Trevor Nunn, who directed the original and has been re-engaged for the revival, should be thoroughly ashamed of himself.

Wait. Wait a goddamn minute. What on earth am I talking about? This is TERRIFIC. Look at me Im actually smiling in the darkness! Look at these fun people on stage, doing scissor jumps and backflips in their cat-themed lycra body suits! This is amazing! How could anyone resist this? This is the most charming, life-affirming thing Ive ever seen. This is my nine-year-old self, leaping out to take the hand of my 40-year-old self and begging her to give up on her cynicism and submit to the magic! Look LOOK! its only bloody Magical Mr Mistoffelees!

I still have no idea which view is the right one. What I will say is that, as with every Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Ive ever been to, I travelled home on the subway afterwards humming a tune that had drilled its way into my brain like a flesh-eating worm. (In this case, Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat.) I will also admit that, while there was, as ever, no plot, no subtext, no apparent point to Cats, in the aftermath of seeing it I felt very cheerful.

Leona Lewis as Grizabella: a tough job. Photograph: Matthew Murphy

This production, which has transferred from London, originally featured ex-Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger in the role of Grizabella she who sings Memory but after demanding that her name go above the shows title on the awning, she was replaced at the last minute with Leona Lewis, a former winner of the British X Factor.

Lewis has a tough job. Cats is a show that is all chorus and no leads, with the exception of Grizabella, on whose shoulders must rest the musicals best-known song. And she has tough acts to follow: Memory has been covered, over the years, by Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion. In its original 1981 London production, Elaine Paige was Grizabella (a year later, on Broadway, it was Betty Buckley), with Brian Blessed as Old Deuteronomy and, somewhat incredibly, Sir John Mills as Gus, the Theatre Cat, here played with lovely pathos by Christopher Gurr.

But back to Leona Lewis. Any song from a show that has, over the years, unshackled itself from the score and become a standalone hit is hard to re-embed in the original narrative since, at the first strains of the opening bars, the audience tends to snap out of its reverie and be brought to a moment of keen self-awareness. Eh up here it comes!

So it was here. Lewis has a beautiful voice, but when she performed Memory, she was not Grizabella the mangy old cat, but Leona Lewis, pop star and seller of 20m records, just as, a few years ago, when Catherine Zeta Jones played Desiree in A Little Night Music (also directed by Nunn) she busted out of role to sing Send in the Clowns with the zip of the Incredible Hulk busting out of his shirt.

Perhaps this doesnt matter. A song sung on these terms can still be highly enjoyable, although in this case I found the performance of Memory rather stressful, particularly the crescendo at the end and the bits when Lewis listed dangerously to one side while doing some Acting. It was a relief when the story moved on.

The set is impressive, with a huge moon projected on to the back of the stage and large, junk shop-type furniture plastered all the way up the wings of the theatre. And the rest of the cast is very good, particularly Ricky Ubeda, the dancer who plays Mr Mistoffelees.

Nine lives a night: Andy Huntington Jones as Munkustrap. Photograph: Matthew Murphy

Id also forgotten how sinister Cats is in the middle, full of weird, trippy scenes that look as if they belong to the 1979 gang film The Warriors.

The shows original choreographer was the legendary Dame Gillian Lynne, and this production apparently features updated choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, who choreographed Hamilton, not that youd know it. Everything feels faithful to 1981, a testament, one assumes, to Lloyd Webbers conviction that, like Balanchines The Nutcracker, Cats is enough of a classic to require little in the way of modernisation. And he may be right; meddle with these juggernauts at your peril. The 2012 Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, which closed after a few months, was scuppered by what felt like to me an anxious and tin-eared modernisation.

Cats, on the other hand, is a period piece, which is part of its charm and also its peculiarity. I cant see it flying on Broadway in 2016. Too slow, too tame, too threadbare. And so why, 24 hours after seeing it and somewhat to my annoyance, am I still smiling?

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Her projects made room for black womens lives. Our stories matter, and above all, Oprahs life is a testament to that

For people whose entire lives are built around pop culture, some of the first truly impactful music we consume comes via TV theme tunes. For one glorious moment in the 1990s, my worlds collided when the fictional Banks family (from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air) were invited on to Oprahs show. A delighted Carlton did his famous dance to the theme tune, and I threw similar shapes at home. Because Oprah Winfrey was (and remains) one ofmy all-time heroes.

My first exposure to Oprah, now 62, came early. I was fascinated by this black woman with the bighair and soothing but authoritative voice, whostalked her studio, microphone in hand. Somany of us adored andrespected her, and loved that shed become abillionaire (the first black female billionaire inhistory, and one of the worlds greatest philanthropists) after coming from so little.

For me, though, all that dough is merely a by-product of her impact on the culture: how she popularised confessional TV and set the agenda with her Favourite Things; how she consistently humanised black women merely by existing and being visible.

The first time I saw her, as Sofia in the 1985 film TheColor Purple, I was moved to tears. Her projects since have made room for black womens lives. She was one of my first teachers in the valuable art of elevating others wherever possible.

And shes still at it: as executive producer on Ava DuVernays new series, Queen Sugar, and starring in (and producing) Greenleaf, a new TV show set in a black southern megachurch. Our stories matter and Oprahs life is, above all, testament to that. Long may she reign.

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Just as Patti Smith used the New York punk scene to channel defiance and individuality, Rose uses her Appalachian roots to delve deeply into her identity

Chelle Rose is moving home.

She is packing up boxes in Nashville, where she moved 20 years ago. There she married, had two children, and quit an accounting job as she evolved into an acclaimed singer-songwriter whose songs are steeped in her Appalachian heritage of east Tennessee.

Now she is returning to Lenoir City, Tennessee, on the very land where she was raised by her maternal grandparents. By accident or luck, the occasion coincides with the release of Blue Ridge Blood, her third album. Like Ghost of Browder Holler, her 2012 album that earned her accolades and comparisons to Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams, Blue Ridge Blood takes an unflinching look at the people and places of that rich mountain region with a pretty heavy dose of pride.

I hate to admit Im proud to be where Im from, where a lot of people grow up and try to hide their accent and try to be somebody else, she says. I get that. Then I realized there was magic in just being exactly as you are.

Rose became who she was after divorcing her first husband in 2008 and becoming a single mom. Her first album had come and gone years earlier but it had caused strife in her marriage, then paranoia. She was an accountant who became something different: a songwriter and guitarist whose music connected strongly with people both at home and in faraway countries. The change left her alone with her children. I needed music, she says.

The new chapter gave her the confidence to release Ghosts, produced by Texas songwriting hero Ray Wylie Hubbard. Blue Ridge Blood, released next week, continues to forge a genre that is uniquely her own: story songs that are unflinching in their grainiest detail and music that snarls and stomps. Just as Patti Smith used the late New York punk scene to channel defiance and individuality, Rose covers the territory of her rural childhood to delve deeply into her identity. Her songs are universal in what they say but fiercely regional down to her husky vocals, which often sound as dangerous as they do weary.

There are conversations with spirits, lovers, family members who go wrong. With the eerie guitar and stamping beat of Reckon With the Devil, Rose describes the futility of watching someone you love go off the rails. I cant pray I cant fight/I cant get down on my knees every night, she sings, sounding no longer worried but incensed.

This is a country rock album that never lets either side prevail. With its clucking banjo and hollering vocals, Dammit Darling is a modern mountain lament. The opening line Dammit darling/you pine for miss Ohio/dont you know/your loves in Tennessee? is haunting for its desperation. On Hidin Hole, Rose imagines burying herself so deep to escape a poisonous situation. Just let me lie here/Ill let you know when my blood thaws, she sings.

Rose has few peers today, except for Mary Gauthier, Johnny Dowd and Steve Earle, who are willing to explore harrowing themes such as child or spousal abuse in song. Rose says she is a relatively happy person but admits she is drawn to writing about the more disturbing elements of human nature. People think the goal is to be blissful all the time. Maybe. But you need a balance with everything, including lightness and dark, she says. Mean Grandpappy, a song about her grandfather on her fathers side who abused her and two other children in her family, opens with the singer describing his funeral: Not a tear in the eye of any of his kin/Randys gone home to Satans den.

The song was written years ago and shelved because she couldnt face playing it for people. Then producer George Reiff encouraged her to record it for the new album. She did, but only after getting clearance from her family.

Family approval matters. The album is dedicated to her grandmother on her mothers side who raised her since she was three. The last song, Sing Pretty, is a promise to soften things a little: Momma always wanted me sing pretty/hurts her to hear the pain that I pour out, she sings. So this ones for my momma gonna try to do it sweet/A little less vinegar more honey to catch the bee.

Rose used to present the family matriarch with the lyrics of her songs, as unvarnished as they might be. She wasnt really thrilled, Rose remembers. But she recalls the same woman actively painting mountain scenes. From afar, the paintings might have resembled just a natural appreciation of local beauty. But closer up, Rose noticed dark rivers, growing moss, ominous trees. She didnt realize that she was kind of the same way I am on the inside, even though she was this very happy person always on the outside, she says.

Rose brands her music Appalachian rocknroll even though she hails from the mountain region of the US best known for the early string players of country music. The identity is less specific to a sound and more to a certain dignity of being raised in an area that has long been marginalized by outside forces over time. The title song, a harmony duet with Buddy Miller, gets at how things others see as imperfections are the very things to cherish. A lot of people think mountain people are not that smart but everybody I know in my family are completely self-sufficient and could survive on a level that could blow you away, she says.

A line in the song Somebody told me when I was a little girl/Netter change the way I talk never make it in this world comes from a letter her biological mother wrote her from Los Angeles telling Rose that she needed to lose her thick accent. The letter upset her for years. Today they no longer have a relationship. Looking back I thought, No, I dont need to change anything. She was wrong, she says.

Creating Blue Ridge Blood slowed because Rose was stricken with a diseased thyroid that had her housebound for two years. She is healthier today and, with one of her children headed to college, plans to be more active on the road playing shows.

The move back home is part of that personal renewal. She, her daughter and fianc will be away from the congestion of booming Nashville. But she will also be able to show her children where they are from. There are physical reminders the road theyll live on bares the family name and her grandmothers garden is still there, surrounded by railroad ties and also less obvious ones.

Its really back to my roots, she says. As far back as you can get.

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Hes guested on Broad City and starred with Amy Schumer and the comic has also struggled with depression, now material for his brutally raw standup show, which hes about to take to Edinburgh

Im late to meet the comic, actor and talkshow host Chris Gethard at a cafe on the east side of Manhattans midtown. Its not my fault, I swear; the subway is having one of those mornings in which its status-alert website might as well redirect to Uber rather than offering updates on every single snarled line.

I text Gethard from underground, where Ive been stalled for 10 minutes. He replies No sweat! adding that he experienced the same difficulty, heading into the borough from Queens. When I finally get to street level, theres another text waiting for me. (Its counsel: No stress.) And when I finally meet him at the back of our appointed meeting place, he asks if Im OK.

Its not like I was expecting to meet one of the anxiety-addled characters the actor plays on Broad City (in which he portrays Ilanas long-suffering boss) or in various sketches from Inside Amy Schumer. Though the calm forthrightness of his concern is striking all the same. And when we start talking about his upcoming month-long stand at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, its clear that the comedians empathetic streak is being engaged by his new show, which is being billed as an hour of stand-up comedy that focuses on suicide, depression, alcoholism and all the other funniest parts of life.

Gethards past comedy hasnt exactly shied away from issues related to drug addiction or depression. His 2014 record, My Comedy Album, includes a narrative about a bad ecstasy trip (and a subsequent series of bad decisions) undertaken at the Bonnaroo music festival. Though he promises that the new show cuts deeper on the same topics.

I spoke a little bit about some of these issues in my work and would definitely kind of flirt with going there, he says. Id make some jokes and use some of my issues as a launchpad But a couple years ago, I was doing a ton of work with Mike Birbiglia; we would go out on the road a lot together. And when youre on the road, youre just driving around for hours and you wind up telling stories, and he started asking me: So what was that stuff like for real? I would tell him some stories that I thought were really brutal. And hes like: You have to tell that on stage, thats hilarious. And Id say: Mike thats about a time I crashed a car on purpose. I dont think a comedy crowd wants to hear it.

Still, the seed was planted. After testing out some of this rawer material in friendly rooms, Gethard realized that there was some merit to his colleagues advice. People started responding almost immediately. And it was a real adrenaline rush; it was terrifying to go on stage and talk about some of this stuff. And I would say the first 20 times I told some of these stories, I would get off stage and just be shaking. Feeling like: I cant do that again its too much. I just felt very exposed. But it wound up building out into this hour.

He was surprised to find fans sticking around after his sets, eager to talk about the material. It always means a lot to me when people open up, he says. Thats very nice. But he wanted to make sure the work wasnt just a public service announcement for mental health issues.

I always keep my ears open. Theres a lot of times where people go, It was really funny, but it also made me think about this ex-boyfriend I had who suffered from this stuff That was always my indicator. As long as they were saying its really funny but that means its really funny and also it had this other impact. And I like having that other impact. A lot of my favorite comedy does have a little bit more of an emotional reach than just the laughs.

But if the laughs dont come first, then I think its just cheap. Like theres a phrase in comedy called clapter. And I think a lot of comedians hate clapter, which is this idea that you just say a thing that you know everyone in the room is going to agree with, so theyll start clapping. A lot of political comedy falls into that. Like, yeah: if you slam Trump in front of a New York City crowd, theyre all gonna start cheering. But you knew that, and thats not the most challenging thing for you as an artist. This [set] has the potential to descend into that. I worked hard to avoid that tooth and nail.

He cites other comics like Maria Bamford (who has appeared on Gethards talkshow, which is broadcast on Fusions cable network) and Marc Maron for their work in popularizing frank-but-funny comedic approaches to mental health issues. I feel very proud to maybe be a part of this trend or this momentum thats building. Because I feel its fair to say that comedy has been a thing, over and over again, that deals with a lot of taboo stuff. Comedys the first art form to get to some stuff. Because laughter feels good and laughters involuntary.

Im very proud that this show has helped people feel a little less shame and that started with me personally. I realized that all that fear does relate to shame and I didnt think that I had that any more. But this show taught me that I did, and it kind of taught me how to maybe wrangle that fear and wrangle that shame a little bit and turn it into something a little more positive and little more productive.

Gethard cant guarantee that every single joke will translate in Edinburgh, but hes eager to find out which ones fail, so that he can strip them out. One of the goals as a comedian is to try to make sure my jokes are universal. I love being part of the Brooklyn comedy scene but I have a joke in the show about Malcolm Gladwell. That plays really well in Park Slope. But I dont know if Malcolm Gladwell is a universal figure. I will quickly find out with the Scottish crowds! And from what I hear Ive never performed in the UK I hear that the crowds have no problem letting you know if you miss. I hear that they enjoy conversing, and I look forward to that I cant let it be written off as thats just something for Americans. Or thats just for New Yorkers.

I dont know what the opinion of mental health issues is, outside of the US. But I can speak to the US: it seems like its still very much like, Dont let people know if youre crazy. Youll get judged. Its still very stigmatized. Going on antidepressants is still viewed as this weird weakness; so many people I know who go on antidepressants make it goal to get off them. And then it becomes a point of pride. So theres still this very weird view of mental health issues in America, where its shameful to suffer.

The 36-year-old reports feeling more on top of his depression issues now than at any other point in his adult life, a happy reality he attributes more to facing some demons in the course of developing this show than any of the more external markers of his success on television. I think I have started to meet with a little more mainstream success, he admits. And that feels really good. Ive been doing comedy for 16 years; it feels good to be gaining a little bit of a foothold and not just being a totally underground guy in New York.

But he also cites an earlier time when it might have seemed he was riding high, in 2010, when starring on a sitcom. (This show called Big Lake on Comedy Central. It bombed hard, you can look it up.) Of that time, he still recalls losing my mind and going home and crying. [After that] I sort of stopped chasing success To me success and happiness arent necessarily the same thing. And for a lot of people I think that is a very American attitude success means victory.

When things like Broad City happen or when I get a couple episodes where I get to be on the American Office then I almost feel like my job is to find something thats not palatable and fight for that. What can I do to make my life harder? How do I enjoy being on Amy Schumers show and enjoy the fact that that gets me some credibility and opens some doors while also challenging myself to never get too content?

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He was already a successful hip-hop producer but when DJ Khaled found Snapchat he became a pop-culture sensation

To stare at a Rolls-Royce Wraith is to know it is the great misnomer of luxury cars. There is absolutely nothing wraith-like about the solid curves of DJ Khaleds gleaming white whip, which, on this Wednesday in midtown Manhattan, purrs up to the curb and slows gawping pedestrians in their tracks. The car is simultaneously impressive and a bit ridiculous, like Khaled himself. In his capacity as impresario, producer, DJ, artist and businessman, the 40-year-old is a power-node at the centre of hip-hops universe. Since his 2006 debut Listennn… the Album, Khaled has put out seven more albums, been Grammy-nominated for his track Im On One featuring Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne, and worked with just about every other rapper you can think of.

Today, however, he is also known for being a living meme. Snapchat, the video-based social medium which remains bewildering to most people over the age of 21, has become Khaleds kingdom. On it, he broadcasts his days in real time, narrating scenes with catchphrases that are now rap lingua franca(Major key alert!; Another one!; I like that!). They evidence the banalities (breakfast) and extravagances (They dont want you on yachts!) of his lifestyle with inimitable, if unwitting comedy. Later, Khaled will tell me: My everyday language ends up just being contagious, you know what Im sayin?

Maybe thats because hes much like a motivational speaker, fond of inviting fans to ride wit me through the journey of more success. Today, on a full schedule of promo for his ninth studio album, Major Key, I get to do just that. At TV and web channel Music Choice, Khaled films the segment Wise Words, a stream of motivational messages delivered to camera. Music Choice has written him a script but it could just as well have used They Dont Want You To Win, an online quote generator that spews Khaled gems ad infinitum. In the green room, he plays back his Snaps after he makes them, his words recorded and replayed until it starts to feel like an echo chamber of bromidic brainwash.

In his tracks and on social media, Khaleds affirmations have the same all-caps hype-man urgency. Off camera, however, things are slower. Dressed in black sweatpants, hoodie and some heavy duty ice, he walks at a lilting shuffle, permanently engrossed in his phone. If someone says his name with enough force and conviction, hell glance up and switch on a brief, dazed smile at whoever happens to be closest. In these moments he can appear faintly cross-eyed.

This is a ripe moment for slogan-spouting personalities who have levied buffoonery into bewildering heights of power consider, after all, the jokes-made-real of Boris Johnson or Donald Trump. Unlike them, though, Khaled knows what hes doing. Born Khaled bin Abdul Khaled to Palestinian parents in New Orleans, Khaled got his break on pirate radio in Miami, where hed broadcast until late, sleep on the floor for a few hours and then wake up and begin shouting into the mic again. His hustle remains just as relentless: he moved to New York last year for 12 months, just to get a verse from Jay Z for his recent single, I Got The Keys. Jay not only gave him two verses, but ended up directing the video, a montage of prison cells, stand-offs and a suited Jay, Khaled and Atlanta trap mainstay Future, shot in black and white. The biggest hip-hop star in the world is also now Khaleds manager.

Dj Khaled performs with Von Miller.
Photograph: Rex

This shouldnt come as a shock. Khaleds newfound social media virality may rely on absurdity he once Snapped getting lost on a jetski while whizzing back from Rick Rosss private island; recently he announced that hell Snapchat the birth of his child in November but his career is longstanding and legitimate. Still, hes not inclined to reflect on these contradictions. I just feel like Im a music man in full form, he shrugs, because my hands on not just making the music and being part of the creative, but also putting the music out. I do it all. And in a post-Kardashian world doing it all means a total assimilation of self and brand. For Khaled, theres scant difference between shilling gum on Snapchat and getting in the studio.

It connected, everything connected, he says, during our interview in the back of the Wraith, for much of which hes glued to the phone. Obviously Ill always be putting out great music and Ive been a hard-working mogul my whole career, but now with Snapchat, it just shone more light on everything were doing. Thats what we work hard for, a light for your greatness. Since hes on his phone anyway, I ask him if he feels like doing a Snap right now, in the back of the Wraith. He shrugs again, lifts his phone, and with that, several million followers witness their man voice his support for the worlds leading liberal newspaper: Guardian… LONDON BIG UP BLESS UP!

Our next stop is Sony, where a waiting French film crew stare morosely as Khaled begins making phone calls. He mutters a request for some water. I look over to his crew, but theyre so engrossed in arranging bottles of Khaled-endorsed cognac they dont hear him. Theres a stack of water bottles beside me. I hand him one. He takes it wordlessly, without looking up from his screen. When your life is being constantly relayed to millions of fans, theres little space for other interaction.


The moment the interviews over, Khaled is pacing about on the phone once more. You gotta taste this gum, its the most amazing gum! he evangelises. I imagine the person on the other end asks him if hes serious. No Im being real! Youre gonna love it! Back in the Wraith, he looks me in the eye and says, with passion: Everything you see me promote, I love it. If somebody thinks Im selling something, just know I only represent the best.

Khaleds positivity is unwavering and, ultimately, irresistible. He maintains that his Snapchat popularity derives from just being myself and it might be this lack of self-awareness that has made him so successful beyond social media. At his Major Key playback later, the guests revealed to be on the album are testament to that: Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes, Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz, Drake, Big Sean, Nas and heaps more jostle for space. A blazing, Betty-Wright sampling soul song called Holy Key, featuring virtuosic bars from Lamar, elicits particular awe.

Between tracks, the crowd emit Khaled catchphrases as if unconsciously: major key, someone murmurs approvingly, cloth talk (a Khaledism that roughly translates to wisdom thats going to tell you how to be successful) says another. Man and meme, it seems, are one and the same. On my way to leave, when I shake his hand and tell him Ive had fun, he looks at me with total blankness. I wonder if he knows Ive been within metres of him for the last eight hours. Maybe its only that Snapchat that makes it real.

Major Key is out now on We The Best/Black Butter

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The actor on being frisked, anti-stretch mark cream and her desire to cook for Donald Trump

Born in Oman to Scottish parents, Isla Fisher, 40, was raised in Australia. She started acting as a child and went on to appear in the Australian soap Home And Away. Her films include Wedding Crashers (2005), Confessions Of AShopaholic(2009) and The Great Gatsby (2013). She lives in Los Angeles with the actor Sacha Baron Cohen, their daughters Olive and Elula, and son Montgomery. Her book for children, Marge In Charge, has just been published.

When were you happiest?
When I won my first Oscar. Oh, wait that was Amy Adams.

What is your greatest fear?

What is your earliest memory?
Being incontinent.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
David Walliams, for making the transition from comic actor to bestselling kids author. Im not sure Ill be able to do the same.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

What was your most embarrassing moment?
Being frisked by Oscar guards when I had hidden Ali Gs beard and glasses in my Spanx on the way down the red carpet, all so that my husband, who had been warned by producers not to try anything funny, could outwit them.

Aside from property, whats the most expensive thing youve bought?
My sexy Toyota Sienna minivan.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would youchoose?
Eddie Murphy.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Amy Adams.

What is your most unappealinghabit?
People-pleasing. I cant disappoint,which gets me in troubleall the time.

What is your favourite word?
Thingee (sic); it can be used to accurately describe anything.

Which book changed your life?
Confessions Of A Shopaholic. Ibought it at an airport and fell in love with Rebecca Bloomwood. The movie was a breakthrough career-wise, my first role as a leading lady.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Grown up.

What is top of your bucket list?
Starring in a biopic of Prince. We are the same height, which I do not believe is a coincidence.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Following Justin Bieber on Instagram.

What do you owe your parents?
My long legs and height to my mother and my masculine chest tomy father.

What does love feel like?
Suspiciously like indigestion.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Donald Trump my cooking can killanyone.

What is the worst job youve had?
Paradise Beach, a 1990s Aussie soap. I had to wear a bikini the whole time including during funeral scenes.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I would have tried that anti-stretch mark cream during pregnancy.

When did you last cry, and why?
When I heard the referendum result.

Where would you most like to be right now?
Back in the EU.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A small pair of ginger balls.

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Ken Barrie, who narrated the childrens TV show from 1981 to 2005 and sang the theme tune, also had a successful singing career, performing with Fred Astaire

Ken Barrie, the voice of childrens television show Postman Pat, has died at the age of 83.

Barrie, who was born Leslie Hulme, provided the voice for Pat and many of the other characters in the animated series, as well as singing the famous theme song. His daughter, Lorraine Peterson, told the Press Association that he died peacefully at home in Denham, Buckinghamshire, of liver cancer.

Barrie, who was born in Tunstall in Stoke-on-Trent, voiced the famous postman from 1981. He also had a successful singing career, performing on an album with Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby and on advertising jingles for Smash and Martini.

The original Postman Pat theme song.

Paying tribute to her father, Peterson said: He was the master of different characters and voices. He was very reserved about what he did, but he loved it and got to work with his heroes.

The childrens series followed the adventures of a postman as he carried out his mail rounds in the fictional village of Greendale. Barrie got the job after recording his voice on tape, at the suggestion of the guitarist working on the shows music. He later said he never imagined the programme would be so popular.

Peterson said: We are celebrating his life today. He was very proud of what he did for children, but his legacy is not so much Postman Pat he did a lot more and he loved singing after starting in the late 1950s.

When you ask me what dad was most proud of, it was his closest family. We were very close, and he provided for us really well, but particularly his son and my brother, Paul.

We used to go to work with dad when we were growing up, and Paul ended up a successful and accomplished sound engineer in the same industry, but sadly he passed away in a road accident aged 38.

Barrie lent his voice to 31 episodes of Postman Pat between 1981 and 2005, as the narrator, the famous postman and other characters. He also worked on Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service in 2008.

He appeared in TV drama Centre Play and Christmas Eve with Val Doonican, and later topped the charts as part of Peter Kays Animated All Star Band on the Official BBC Children in Need Medley single in 2009.

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With long lines of expectant attendees, these nights illustrate both the necessity and demand for unapologetically open and inclusive clubs

At an unmarked location in Bushwicks industrial zone on Thursday night, GHE20G0TH1K (pronounced Ghetto Gothic) has taken over. A blue neon sign declaring Play With My Pussy encircling a biohazard symbol lights up the dark warehouse.

Inside, more than 500 people dance half-naked with sweat pouring from their bodies as they mosh to the music of experimental rap collective Divine Council. GHE20G0TH1K is part of a new trend in Brooklyn nightlife one that is created by and for LGBT people of color. In the midst of New Yorks rapid gentrification, Brooklyns nightlife seems to be getting more diverse.

GHE20G0TH1K. Photograph: Whitney Wei for the Guardian

As one of the earliest parties that strove for diversity on the DJ lineup and the dance floor, GHE20G0TH1Ks goal is to provide safe spaces for queer and trans people of color. Since it was founded in 2009, its influenced a swathe of similar parties in Brooklyn including iBomba, Azucar, Papi Juice, Fake Accent and Shock Value.

Anuradha Golder is a staple at GHE20G0TH1K and frequently commutes from the Bronx to attend. For Golder, these parties are a few hours of communal celebration in which club-goers can get a short reprieve from judgment, hate speech, and sexual harassment. These nights do so much, from fostering a safe space where everyone is encouraged to enjoy themselves no matter where they are from or what gender and sexual orientation they identify with to providing visibility for under-recognized queer artists and POC artists. Plus, theyre definitely some of the most energetic parties youll find in the city, she says.

For Anuradha Golder, these parties are a few hours of communal celebration in which club-goers can get a short reprieve from judgment, hate speech and sexual harassment. Photograph: Whitney Wei for the Guardian

In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, organizers say the protection of these safe spaces is more important than ever. For many members of the community like Dion McKenzie, a DJ and founder of the party Fake Accent, the dance floor is a sanctuary and functions as one of the few places that offers the freedom of self-expression.

Pulse nightclub happened and it shakes our community to the core and there is no way we can turn a blind eye to that. You feel you were spared, you were saved because it couldve happened to anyone that night. Everyone that night was celebrating. We were all out.

After moving from Jamaica to New York four years ago, McKenzie established Fake Accent, a monthly event to showcase under-represented DJs. New York is a plethora of ethnicity, she states, Why would you want to just play one genre of music when you want to include everyone in the community? I play dancehall, I play club, I play ballroom, I am eclectic about my music selection so I dont alienate people.

Dion McKenzie: Why would you want to just play one genre of music when you want to include everyone in the community? Photograph: Whitney Wei for the Guardian

Papi Juice, a dance party with a self-described mission to affirm and uplift queer and trans people of color, originally began in the small performance venue and neighborhood bar One Last Shag with 300 supporters in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. In the three years since it started, it has grown and moved locations to the music venue Babys All Right in Williamsburg, which attracts crowds of up to 750 people.

From reggaeton to cumbia to R&B, the array of music chosen at Papi Juice reflects the diverse ethnicities and backgrounds of attendees. Having people play that kind of music, party founder Cristobal Guerra says, it feels like theyre telling my story.

The parties offer an alternative to Brooklyns rapidly whitening nightlife landscape one more inclusive of a community now being displaced by increasing rents and cost of living. The neighborhoods where these parties are based are all included in the top 10 gentrifying areas on an annual housing and neighborhood data report released by the NYU Furman Center on Urban Policy.

Williamsburg/Greenpoint tops the list with a 78.7% average change in rent from 1990 to 2014, closely followed by Bushwick at 44% and Bed-Stuy at 36.1%. The centers research analysis also notes a large decrease in the black population of gentrifying neighborhoods as well as a decrease in the Hispanic population of Williamsburg/Greenpoint.

Cristobal Guerra: Having people play that kind of music, it feels like theyre telling my story. Photograph: Whitney Wei for the Guardian

McKenzie says the sense of displacement residents feel is similar to that of LGBT people. Gentrification is pushing out a community from their land. For the queer community, we have always dealt with displacement. Were always feeling like were being pushed out of spaces. To have some balance and stability, we need to find a space that we can call our home, she says. And that is within the club.

Parties such as Fake Accent and Papi Juice follow a historical precedent of New York Citys dance floors being safe spaces for self expression. Derived from the ballrooms of Harlem, voguing rose to prominence in the late 1960s nurtured by gay black and Latino performers. From the South Bronx, hip-hop, MCing, and b-boying (breakdancing) blossomed in poor black and Latino communities during the 1980s. Such underground movements resuscitated the citys nightlife after the first wave of the Aids epidemic and counteracted violence at the height of gang activity.

As nights like GHE20G0TH1K strengthen, with long lines of expectant attendees like this past Thursday night, it illustrates both the necessity and demand for inclusive club nights.

When people talk about our parties and what we do, they talk about how authentic it is and how unpretentious it is. It is unapologetically open and inclusive, McKenzie proudly reports. You can be from the Bronx, you can be from the neighborhood, you can be from Flatbush, but when you enter that space, you feel unified.

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Tim Cook and his investors seem confident that TV programmes, music and software are the path to the future

Apple has been punished by investors in the wake of recent financial results that have posted growth in revenues, iPhone sales and business in China. Shareholders were concerned that the tech groups growth was not as meteoric as expected, so they sold down the stock.

Last week, however, Apples shares surged on a 15% decline in revenues, falls in sales of iPhones, iPads and Macs, and a 33% drop in Chinese revenue.

Has Wall Street lost its bearings, or does it know something other people dont? After all, it is unlikely that the iPhone will ever repeat the red-hot growth of 2014, when larger-screened models drove the companys biggest-ever quarter for revenues and profit. Smartphone sales generally have cooled. Unlike 2010-12, when annual growth rates for all handsets were between 60% and 90%, so far this year worldwide sales growth has been below 1%.

Apple has underperformed the market, recording two successive quarters of falling iPhone sales amid fears that consumers will not flock to upgrade when Apple launches new models in the autumn. Asked about those concerns last week, Apples chief executive, Tim Cook, said the non-hardware part of the business would take the strain. Cook said he expected the services unit to be a star performer, through iTunes, app and iCloud storage sales. We think [revenue from] services will continue to grow very briskly, he said.

Nonetheless, despite their positive response last week, investors are understandably keen for Apple to unearth another big seller, with the iPad and the Watch failing to match the iPhones success. Could Project Titan the codename for Apples electric car project be the new smash hit? Or might virtual reality headsets, or some augmented reality product akin to Pokmon Go, prompt a new reason for overnight queues outside Apple stores? Analysts are sceptical. With a billion iPhones sold since the handsets 2007 release, it is the most successful consumer product ever, generating almost $625bn (475bn) in revenues in just nine years. Apple will struggle to come up with a concept or a category that matches the iPhone what other hi-tech product could you potentially sell to everyone in the world?

There are 2.5 billion smartphone users around the world, calculates Benedict Evans, an analyst at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. That will rise to 5 billion over time. He estimates there are 630 million iPhones in use worldwide, and another 250 million iPads; outside China, there are about 1.35 billion phones made by the likes of Samsung and HTC that use Googles Android system as well as 175 million Android tablets. Inside China, about 450 million phones and 200 million tablets use Android software albeit without access to the Google search engine.

Both Apple and Android have sufficient scale for their [smartphone] ecosystems to be viable, Evans notes. No one else does.

The likely buyers of the next 2.5 billion smartphones will not be typical iPhone customers. Most of these people are in emerging markets, and most will be buying phones for under $50 and certainly under $100, says Evans. In other words, the high-value users Apple has always targeted have mostly been picked off. Any future growth will come from those on comparatively lower incomes in emerging market countries, and switchers from Android.

But with so many iPhones in use, the combination of replacement sales, adjunct sales (such as its Watch, which currently needs an iPhone to function) and services its newest focus has enough momentum to keep Apple profitable. Cooks reference to services is part of the companys new narrative, where its future profits come from users buying a mix of hardware upgrades and content of some sort, such as apps, music or TV shows. The latter will include James Cordens Carpool Karaoke, after Apple bought a distribution licence for the viral smash hit from CBS. That wont make the stock rocket, but former stock analyst Neil Cybart, whose Above Avalon consultancy focuses on Apple, says the character of the people and institutions owning its shares has changed.

Fears over Apples prospects in China caused Carl Icahn to bale out of the stock. Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters

Apple used to be a growth stock: its price rose in a long bull run, beginning when Steve Jobs rejoined in 1997, through to a trough in June 2013 of $56, to what looks like a final peak of $130 in May 2015. Since then, says Cybart, the growth buyers have been replaced by value investors who want a reliable dividend, not a rollercoaster ride. Writing ahead of last weeks results, he called it an expectations reset, and suggested: One sign that a companys expectations have truly been reset [with Wall Street] is that companys stock price increases on negative news. That duly happened.

Two notable stockholders exemplify this shift. The first is Carl Icahn, an activist investor. He bought into Apple in 2012, repeatedly suggested the stock was worth double its price, then sold all his Apple stock in April, citing fears about China after Apples earnings fell.

The second investor is Warren Buffett, renowned for being uninterested in tech stocks, but very interested in solid long-term returns. A month after Icahn dumped his holding, Buffetts Berkshire Hathaway bought a $1bn stake in Apple. Buffett sees Apple as a reliable cash machine through its dividend, which it began paying in 2012.

And the dividend is attractive, as long as you dont think that the iPhone maker is about to fade away which, as Evans points out, is probably a safe bet. Richard Windsor, formerly of Nomura Research and now running his own Radio Free Mobile consultancy, says it is simpler to think of Apple stock not as equity, but a bond paying a return (through its dividend) on the investment of buying it.

Apple is unlikely to see much in the way of growth but it is continuing to distance its ecosystem from Googles, he noted last week. This gives me confidence that its superb profitability and cashflow are likely to remain intact for some time to come.

He points out that Apples dividend is currently running at $52bn a year; that gives it an effective yield of 9.8% per annum on what is seen as a low-risk stock. Over the past quarter the yield has remained above 2% and dividends are paid quarterly. Of course, unlike a bond, there is no guarantee either of getting the capital invested in the shares back, or of a regular payout. But, Windsor points out: For those that are not worried about capital growth, this is a no-brainer. Most companies with bonds yielding 10% are highly distressed.

Apple, however, is not in distress though Cook must hope that this autumns phone releases regain momentum, alongside new versions of the Watch, iPad Pro and Mac computers. Revenues will probably never hit the heights of 2014 again. But when he visits the studios of Apples design chief Jonathan Ive to see the latest car mock-up, Cook wont have to worry where the companys next billion is coming from. We have reached peak iPhone, but it will remain a money-spinner for some time yet.


After the blockbuster hits of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, what lurks in Apples laboratories and design studios that could revive its success in hardware? Nobody outside Apple is certain the company is notoriously secretive but its hirings and patent filings give strong clues.

Virtual reality
Headsets that immerse the user in video and audio may be the next big thing. Facebook spent $2bn on the company behind the pioneering Oculus virtual reality headsets, and other technology companies are investing in the conceptheavily.

Tim Cook has called VR really cool and patents have been filed but any future product might depend on how the broader market develops.

Augmented reality
Superimposing virtual data on to real scenes, or augmented reality, is the concept behind the Pokmon Go craze. Microsoft and Google are working on their own forms, and Cook talked it up in the latest earnings call. Future iPhones could form the basis for an Apple AR push.

TV content and channels
Apple has bought distribution rights from CBS to James Cordens hugely popular Carpool Karaoke, where celebrities such as Adele join the chatshow host for in-car singalongs, which will be distributed through its Apple Music service. It is also seeking would-be participants for a reality show entitled Planet of the Apps.

Such moves suggest that Apple will launch its own TV service through its Apple TV set-top box, based on a bundle of shows cherry-picked from major channels.

Documents and hirings clearly show that Apple is working on a car under the codename of Project Titan. Electric? Surely. Self-driving? Perhaps. The timescale is uncertain, but the company recently brought back Bob Mansfield, the manager behind products like the iMac, iPad and Watch to oversee Titan.

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Five insiders reveal how to run with the locals in the Olympics host city a spectacular tropical metropolis with great beaches, music, views and food

If the Olympic movement is having a hard time of it, consider the year the host city is having. In the build-up to the 2016 Games, Brazil is sinking under a tickertape parade of bad news. Given stories of polluted water, gang and police violence, an economy in freefall, the Zika virus, terror attacks and a president impeached, the reports of unfinished infrastructure for the Games almost pale into insignificance.

The Rio de Janeiro area

Lovely Rio, its easy to imagine, might just think twice given the chance to bid for the Olympics again. And yet, despite everything, the metropolis remains arguably the most beautiful city in the Americas, if not the world: whatever might happen in the sporting arenas, the Olympics has never had a backdrop as stunning as this.

The view over Rio from the Vista Chinesa. Photograph: Alamy

And despite all their worries, most cariocas, as Rios residents are known, are proud of their amazing city. As they prepare to welcome half a million visitors to the Games, we asked five insiders to talk us through the best of their tropical seaside home.

Eating out

Rafael Costa e Silva, chef-proprietor at Lasai, one of the citys five Michelin-starred restaurants

Rafael Costa e Silva Photograph: Claire Rigby

So Paulo has more options than Rio in terms of cuisine, but we outshine them when it comes to avant garde, contemporary local food. As well as Lasai, we have Olympe, owned by the chef who pioneered the fusion of Brazilian and French cuisines; Roberta Sudbrack, with a bistro feel and sophisticated, eight-course tasting menu. Also Oro, which reopened in Leblon recently, is extremely creative.

Were closed on Sundays and Mondays, so those are the nights we can get out to eat. For special occasions, we love Olympe; but we often go to Azumi (on Facebook), a Japanese restaurant in Copacabana. The broths, the udon and the soba there are great (12-21).

Bar Urca looks out over Guanabara Bay.

Bar Urca is a Rio classic highly recommended for visitors. The food isnt the greatest, but you go there for the ambience to meet friends and drink beer sitting on the wall outside, looking out over Guanabara Bay.

Theres a restaurant in Centro, the old commercial heart of Rio, where I dont go as often as Id like, but that I love Escondidinho (on Facebook). My dad used to go when he was young, I go there sometimes, and probably my son will go too. Its a traditional lunchtime restaurant going since the 1940s and known for its beef ribs in broth, with fried cassava and watercress (32, serves two or more). The meat starts to fall off the bone before youve even picked up your knife and fork.

We have a culture of botecos, classic neighbourhood bars where you grab a beer and a snack say a pastel (a small meat or cheese pie) or a coxinha (chicken-and-cassava fritter). Theres a great one in Praa da Bandeira (in north Rio, very near the Maracan stadium, which will stage the Games opening ceremony) called Aconchego Carioca that does all our national dishes and snacks very well indeed.

Aconchego Carioca in Praa da Bandeira

A more rustic, classic boteco is Bar da Gema in Andara. They do fried polenta with oxtail stew on top (10), and you eat it with your hands. Its amazing. They also serve pastel de feijo gordo (1.50), little pies filled with feijoada black-bean stew, our national dish. They are so good I could eat about 10 of them.

Brazil isnt so strong on street food, but the Saturday morning farmers market in Jardim Botnico, on Rua Frei Leandro, opposite Olympe restaurant, does a great tapioca, a kind of cassava pancake. It serves up a version with cheese, tomato, onions and oregano, using a cheese called queijo minas meia-cura, whichmelts perfectly when it hits the griddle.

Bars and nightlife

Alice Guedes, bartender at Brigites, a bistro in Leblon. She has twice finished in the top 10 in Brazils best bartender competition

Alice Guedes at Brigites. Photograph: Claire Rigby

Musically, Rio is incredibly rich its often music that gets people out at night. Monday is outdoor samba night at Pedra do Sal, in Largo Joo da Baiana, 10 minutes walk from the new Museum of Tomorrow (which is definitely worth a visit). Musicians go straight there to play after they get off work, from about 7pm. They play old-school, very traditional samba. Take a taxi if you dont know this area.

Samba dancers at Pedra do Sal. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

And on Wednesday nights at Praa Tiradentes theres a jazz scene in the middle of the square, just people hanging out and playing and listening to jazz. Its free. They just turn up and start playing, and if you get there at about 9pm, its generally in full swing. Cariocas are experts at making something happen out of nothing.

Praa So Salvador in Laranjeiras is another one: on Friday nights, the square gets packed with hundreds of people getting together in the open air, and guys selling beer from ice boxes. Everyone loves it.

Mixing is a kind of speakeasy in Rio Comprido, between Centro and Tijuca. During the day its a school of mixology, but on certain nights it transforms into a bar. Youd never guess it was there from the outside you go through a garage, up some stairs and along a corridor and there it is.

Traditionally, Rio has always been about caipirinhas and chope (light draft beer) but theres a growing cocktail culture. The challenge for Rio bartenders is to convince cariocas to go for drier, more complex drinks as they tend to veer towards sweetness. Bar DHotel, inside Marina All-Suites, has one of the best drinks menus in Rio; another is the new Bar Astor inside the Astor hotel, on the Ipanema seafront. Theyve brought high-level So Paulo-style mixology to Rio, which I love.

In Rio, music on the street is enough to get the party started. Photograph: Felipe Dana/AP

The new Atlntico Rio de Janeiro in Barra da Tijuca is one of the most Rio-spirited bars I can think of, though its owner isnt even Brazilian. Tato Giovannoni came from Buenos Aires, where he owns the bar Floreria Atlntico, and just did something different created a really good beach bar with amazing cocktails and fresh seafood.

He makes a dry martini with a tincture of sea salt, right there on the beach, and serves oysters at about 1 each. Theyre also doing a pop-up bar during the Olympics, at Clubhouse Rio.

For me, the best saideira (nightcap) is at Galeto Sats , open till late in Copacabana. Lots of bartenders and chefs go there after work for beer and grilled chicken. Its a tiny, old-fashioned joint where people spill on to the pavement. My order is a shot of good cachaa and a plate of grilled chicken hearts.

History and culture

Luiza Mello, art producer, Automatica, which produces the annual art event Travessias in the Complexo da Mar favela in north Rio

Luiza Mello. Photograph: Claire Rigby

A place I love to take visitors is Instituto Moreira Salles. Its a wonderful example of modernist Brazilian architecture, with gardens by Roberto Burle Marx and a beautiful panel by Cndido Portinari, facing the pond. It was once the home of a very wealthy family, but today its a cultural institution with an impeccable programme they hold great exhibitions, plus theres a photo collection, a music collection and a photography magazine.

Parque Lage is always good another very beautiful place, home to the EAV School of Visual Arts, with an interesting gallery in the former stables, called Galeria das Cavalarias.

Young people contemplate leaping into the sea by the Museum of Tomorrow Photograph: Alamy

Culturally, Rios downtown area, Centro, just gets more and more interesting. There is a great area around Praa XV, with art galleries, cinema and theatre in the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil ; the former imperial palace Pao Imperial, which is one of the citys most historic buildings and now a cultural centre; and the Casa Frana-Brasil, a contemporary art space in Rios oldest neoclassical building. The Candelria and Carmo churches are also both worth seeing.

An exhibition by veteran Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil. Photograph: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

Centro has another cultural hub now: Porto Maravilha, Rios regenerated port district, with the MAR Museum of Art and theMuseum of Tomorrow. Close to that but less well-known is Cais do Valongo, the archaeological site of Rios former shipping wharf, where hundreds of thousands of the slaves brought to Brazil came ashore. Theres also the Galeria dos Pretos Novos, an art gallery, and part of a memorial complex on the site of an ancient slave cemetery.

Pao Imperial on the Praca Quinze de Novembro. Photograph: Alamy

Pedra do Sal is another historic site in the area, where there was once a quilombo, a community of former slaves and their descendants. Its just behind the MAR, and a very interesting place to visit.

Beaches and nature

Nicole Casares, blogger, Cariocando no Rio. She runs tours of some of her favourite places, booked via her site

Nicole Casares at Parque Lage. Photograph: Camila Neves

Rio is full of quiet spots from which to observe the citys curves, the contours of the hills and the green vegetation against the ocean. There are lovely parks, such as Parque Lage and the Jardim Botnico, and even the gigantic tropical rainforest, Floresta da Tijuca invades the city limits. Or just being in the sea is a peaceful experience.

Palm tree avenue at the Jardim Botnico Photograph: Alamy

If you only go to one beach, Id recommend Ipanema, at Posto 10 (postos are the beaches demarcation points and come every kilometre). Its one of the safest parts of the beach, and it attracts a lot of young, cool people. Theres a good place just across the road for lunch called Balada Mix, with great sandwiches and juices, including aai. Arpoador, a headland between Copacabana and Ipanema, is special too you have to see it at sunset, when people climb on to the rocks to look right down Ipanema beach to the sun setting behind the Dois Irmos peaks.

Surfers on Prainha beach, Barra da Tijuca. Photograph: Alamy

I also like the long beaches to the west: at Barra da Tijuca and also Praia da Joatinga, where the water is a beautiful green colour and there are no crowds. To reach it, you follow a steep trail down on to the sand. Some of Rios very best beaches are even further west, on the very edge of the city, like Praia do Secreto and Prainha.

Because of all the mountains dotted around, Rio must have the most spectacular views of any city in the world. My all-time favourite view is from Mirante Dona Marta. Its breathtaking you can see Sugarloaf Mountain below, with the sea all around it, the boats in Botafogo harbour and all the way across Guanabara Bay to Niteri. And in the other direction you can see Christ the Redeemer close up.

Rio must have the most spectacular views of any city in the world. This view is of Sao Conrado beach and the Rocinha favela. Photograph: Alamy

This unique topography means you can also hike and climb within the city. Of Rios best-known hikes, Dois Irmos is light to moderate, about 45 minutes climb from the top of Vidigal favela (which is safe to visit). You can take a van to the foot of the trail, or a motorbike taxi. Or inside Parque Nacional da Tijuca, Pedra Bonita is a nice, easy walk, about 40-45 minutes. Its steep, but if you take it slowly, its fine, and the view are similar to those from the top of Pedra da Gvea, which is a far harder climb.

One of my favourite, lesser-known trails is the Trilha do Morro da Babilnia. Its really easy only 30 or 40 minutes and has great views of Praia Vermelha beach and Po de Aucar. You start at Ladeira Ary Barroso in Leme, and walk up into Chapu Mangueira favela. Guides from Coop Babilnia, a residents cooperative, will take you up the trail for about 14. Its best to go early in the day, and make sure to be out of the community before evening.