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Monthly Archives: June 2019

(CNN)Royal Ascot may be known for its glitz and glamor but plenty of work goes on behind the scenes to make it such a spectacle.

About 300,000 spectators are expected to descend on the famous track this week, to soak up the history, buzz, world-class horse racing and spectacular setting.
More than 20,000 flowers and shrubs have been planted specifically for the week and three miles of bunting have been hung on every imaginable surface to ensure each guest has a magical experience.
    Now, with Royal Ascot in full swing, CNN Sport met some of the characters who make the event so special.

    The Dress-Code Assistant

    Fashion is certainly the order of the day at Royal Ascot.
    Guests are sent the strict dress-code before attending and their entry depends on whether or not they adhere to the policy.
    At every entrance to the course, a team of specialized staff — think dress-code assistants rather than fashion police — checks the outfits coming in. Guests are asked to hire suitable items of clothing if something doesn’t fit the bill.
    Rules are strict and depend on which enclosure your ticket allows access to.
    “Fashion and style are an integral part of the Royal Ascot experience for all of our customers,” said Juliet Slot, chief commercial officer of Ascot Racecourse.
    “The annual Style Guide provides valuable support and inspiration when deciding what to wear for a day at the Royal Meeting.”
    However, the event is keen to keep up with the times and occasionally adds new items to the list — including jumpsuits for women two years ago.
    “As the Style Guide enters its eighth year we continue to respond to our customers’ requests for fashion-forward looks that work for each of the four Enclosures, ensuring every racegoer enjoys this special occasion with style.”

    The Bookie

    With all the pomp and ceremony swirling about, it’s sometimes easy to forget the racing is supposed to be the centerpiece.
    But once the horses make their way to the parade ring for the first race, attention certainly shifts to the track.
    Central to the racing operation is, of course, the bookmakers.
    These men and women take bets from the thousands of punters and compete against each other to provide the best odds available.
    Many of the bookmakers on the circuit have been in the business for decades and the trade often gets passed down to different generations of the same family.
    Bookie Peter Norris has been coming to Royal Ascot for 12 years and knows more than most just how lucrative the day can be.
    “There is plenty of money at Ascot, it’s good business and you’re dealing with nice people,” he said.
    “There is far more money placed here, much more money than everywhere else. It’s sort of on a par with Cheltenham Festival.”
    With online gambling becoming more prevalent, traditional bookmakers are finding it harder to make a living but moving with the times is pivotal to staying in business.

      Bob Baffert: The Triple Crown legend

    Ricky took over the family trade from his father and has been working as a bookmaker for more than 40 years.
    “In those days we had a man calling the bets and clerk with a book and a pencil,” he told CNN Sport. “But things changed so much, now there are computers and you’ve got to move with the times.”
    Despite enjoying his work, Ricky doesn’t have a positive outlook on the trade’s future but says Royal Ascot is a chance to simply enjoy the spectacle.
    “It’s a special occasion. Most of us [bookies] don’t dress up normally but I’m here in top hat and tails. It’s wonderful,” he said.
    “It’s all part of the scene, it’s brilliant and I wouldn’t want to change it. It’s just a magic week.
    “‘Till the day I die, I hope to be coming here, I really enjoy it.”

    The Race Steward

    It’s hard not to notice the race stewards at Royal Ascot. Dressed in all black suits and matching bowler hats, these men and women are the heartbeat of the operation.
    They are responsible for keeping the hordes of visitors safe during their stay and add a personal touch to the operation.
    Graham has proudly supervised the iconic grandstand for 25 years since retiring from the British Army, and looks forward to this week every year.
    Taking great pride in his job, he stands at the entrance of the grandstand for much of the day — even in this week’s torrential rain — welcoming each and every guest as they come through.
    “We deal with lots of people out here, especially on the nice days,” he told CNN Sport.
    “People come into this huge place and they look around and feel totally lost. That’s where I come in.”
    To him, Royal Ascot is a celebration of all that’s good with horse racing and he particularly enjoys watching the young generations fall in love with the sport as he did all those years ago.
    “It really is special. I think it’s one of the biggest racing occasions in the world, if not the biggest,” he said.
    “No one does things better than the British.”
    He added: “They [young people] feel freedom on this course. Racing needs that sort of thing to keep it alive.”
    Experienced stewards, such as Graham, have earned the right to wear classic black bowler or “coke” hats, a tradition dating back to 1849.
    He believes such fashionable traditions make the event what it is.
    “The Queen introduced these hats, she loves them,” he said.
    “It gives us a special place on the racecourse. Hopefully, we are all knowledgeable and we can help people with anything they need to know.”

    The Bandsman

    In many ways, Royal Ascot is a show and entertainment is pivotal to creating the spectacle.
    In between races, when visitors are stocking up on food or heading for a refill of champagne, the Coldstream Guards brass band provides a fitting soundtrack.
    Playing a range of tunes, from classical pieces to the latest pop hits, the group helps lift the spirits of the passing crowd.
    “It’s good for us to show the public face of the army, her Majesty is here today so it’s great to have a presence,” Major Paul Norley, director of music for the Coldstream Guards, told CNN Sport.
    “We are entertainment for people when the races aren’t on. Especially when it’s raining, people can get under the umbrellas and have a sing-along.”
    The band has the huge responsibility of playing the national anthem for the Queen’s arrival in the Royal Procession, a honor the group is proud to be a part of.
    However, after such ceremonial duties have finished and the last race has been won, the band can loosen up and have some fun.
    The bandstand sing-along is the featured entertainment of every evening at Royal Ascot where spectators gather around to enjoy the show.
    The band blasts out a medley of songs that keep the guests singing way into the night.
    “It’s been really good fun, we’ve been very well received and well looked after by the Ascot team. We’ve really enjoyed ourselves,” Norley added.

    The International Visitor

    For one international guest, Amy, who traveled from the United States to be here, the music provides that quintessential British touch she was looking for.
      “One of the things I love about coming here as an American and being an outsider is that this is not really a tourist event, this is a British event,” she said.
      “They [brass band] play everything from Frank Sinatra to Robbie Williams and Oasis, it’s amazing!”

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      There is officially no Bad Blood between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry!

      On Tuesday on Instagram, it appears the Shake It Off musician gifted her former nemesis a plate of delicious chocolate chip cookies with “Peace At Last” written in frosting!

      Katy posted a pic of the yumminess with the caption:

      “feels good 🧡 @taylorswift”

      As seen here:

      It appears Taylor Swift gave Katy Perry a plate of chocolate chip cookies! / (c) Katy Perry/Instagram

      Almost immediately, Taylor responded:

      Taylor Swift *hearts* Katy Perry! / (c) Katy Perry/Instagram

      As we reported, fans noticed that the two pop stars have been acting suspiciously friendly towards each other.

      Not only did Perry “like” a pic of Swift and her new cat Benjamin Button on Twitter, Taylor added Perry’s new song Never Really Over to her Apple Music playlist.

      Additionally, on the iHeartRadio Music Awards red carpet in Los Angeles, Perry said she was “open” to making music with Swift.

      Allegedly, the two began feuding after the American Idol judge stole dancers from the Reputation singer years ago.

      In 2018, Katy sent Taylor a literal olive branch amid their drama.

      According to an ET source that year, the Swish Swish musician sent the apology to prove that women should not be pitted against each other. The insider explained:

      “Katy planned a very personal, sweet apology and took time to write a kind note in hopes Taylor would see how much she cared about putting this behind them… Katy told friends if Taylor didn’t accept this apology, she would keep trying because she is done holding on to the past and wants to be part of the change in today’s society. She wants to set a good example for women, so she planned to never give up, if that is what it took.”

      At the time, Katy hoped “they finally can be supportive of each other’s music and maybe one day soon even hang out together again.” The source added:

      “Katy realizes they need to take it one day at a time, but that this is a great start.”

      Prior to sending the olive branch, Perry reportedly made several attempts to make amends with Swift.

      “Katy and Taylor’s years of cruel comments about one another in their interviews, their shots at each other on their social media and their full-blown attacks in their music videos, continued to show their one goal — revenge… In the beginning, both Katy and Taylor were to blame for their digs at one another, but Katy has been trying to make amends for some time. Each attempt by Katy to apologize or show Taylor respect went either unnoticed or worse, ignored.”

      The feud is over, y’all!

      [Image via Apega/Derrick Salters/WENN.]

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      Apples announcement that it is to close the software is a reminder of its role in reconciling music and the internet

      Last Monday, at Apples Worldwide Developers Conference, the companys head of software engineering, Craig Federighi, announced that it was terminating iTunes. In one way, the only surprising thing was that Apple had taken so long to reach that decision. Its been obvious for years that iTunes had become baroquely bloated, a striking anomaly for a company that prides itself on elegant and functional design. So the decision to split the software into three functional units dealing with music, podcasts and TV apps seemed both logical and long overdue. But for internet users dun certain ge (including this columnist) the announcement triggered reflections on personal and tech history.

      Theres been music on the internet for a long time. The advent of the compact disc in the early 1980s meant that recorded music went from being analogue to digital. But CD music files were vast a single CD came in at about 700MB and for most people, the network was slow. So transferring music from one location to another was not a practical proposition. But then, in 1993, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany came up with a way of shrinking audio files by a factor of 10 or more, so that a three-minute music track could be reduced to 3MB without much perceptible loss in quality. They called their new standard MP3 and in July 1994, released the first MP3 encoder, software that could take in CD tracks and compress them using the MP3 filter.

      This was a pivotal moment for the music industry, but it took another five years for that penny to drop. In that time, music-loving geeks everywhere had ripped all of their CDs using MP3 encoders and were storing their music on hard drives. (I remember having to buy a bigger and ferociously expensive hard drive to house my collection.)

      And then in 1999, a teenage geek named Shawn Fanning created a neat software system that enabled internet users who had MP3 tracks on their PCs not only to find others with similar assets but also to exchange these tracks with one another. Fanning called his file-sharing system Napster, released it on the internet and in the process changed the world. By the time the music industry managed to get Napster shut down in 2001, it had acquired upwards of 60 million users and virtually every track that had ever been recorded was available free on the internet, which had now become, as someone once put it, the celestial jukebox in the sky.

      The problem was that most of these tracks were copyrighted and so much of what was going on was wholesale piracy. But the music industrys vanquishing of Napster turned out to be a pyrrhic victory: the genie had escaped from the bottle. Dozens of filesharing systems had come into being and the record business found itself facing an existential threat.

      What it should have done was create a slick online system that would enable law-abiding citizens to pay for music tracks. But this apparently lay beyond the capacity of an industry driven by executives with analogue mindsets and incentivised only to sell physical objects called CDs.

      Their ineptitude created the kind of vacuum that capitalism abhors. And into it strode an entrepreneur who saw in the music industrys incompetence the commercial opportunity of a lifetime. His name was Steve Jobs.

      iTunes was his vehicle for exploiting the opportunity. Based on SoundJam MP, a program that Jobs had acquired in 2000 and treated to an Apple makeover, it was launched early in 2001. From the outset, it was a revelation: nicely designed, functional software that made it easy to upload, organise and play ones digitised music even if one were a complete newbie. And then in April 2003, Apple added the iTunes store to it, which made it easy to buy and download tracks legally.

      It didnt stop online piracy overnight, but it did open up the promise of a celestial jukebox for anyone who believed that its better to pay for stuff. Which, in the end, turned out to be a lot of people. So, in a way, you could say that iTunes rescued the record industry from its own incompetence. But it also gave Apple a chokehold on a colossal market.

      Music played an outsize role in the evolution of the internet. As Larry Lessig put in Free Culture: Filesharing music was the crack cocaine of the internets growth. It drove demand for access to the internet more powerfully than any other single application. Jobs became the first licensed dealer in that drug and iTunes provided the saddle that enabled Apple to ride the tiger.

      But over the years, the company piled more and more functions on to the software until it came to resemble something that Microsoft would have designed in the old days. And we switched to wanting music on tap rather than in electronic containers, as David Bowie predicted in 2002. It should have been re-engineered years ago. But at least that penny has finally dropped. iTunes is dead; long live music.

      What Im reading

      Stick it to the cyberman
      Robots coming for your job? No, your employers are, according to a sharp essay by Brian Merchant on Gizmodo, exploding the narrative that lets companies off the hook for automation.

      Fighting the fake
      Facebook and the fake Nancy Pelosi video: read an intelligent discussion of the issues by Laura Hazard Owen at the online home of Harvards Nieman Journalism Lab.

      Ross Anderson and his colleagues in the Security Group of Cambridges Computer Laboratory have published a landmark study on their Light Blue Touchpaper site of whats changed (and hasnt) in the cost of cybercrime since 2012.

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      Walking into the Bradley Center, I could feel the excitement. The fans, the bass-heavy music blaring, the smell of popcorn and the bright lights of the Jumbotron: This was the symphony better known as an NBA pregame. This was my first game as the fiancée of the Milwaukee Buck franchise player Michael Redd. 

      My heart raced as I politely passed by the other, impeccably dressed ladies. When I looked down at myself, I saw the schoolteacher and preacher’s kid I was ― I looked professional but far from glamorous. Every single detail of these women was perfectly in place, down to their shoes, which were equally as amazing as their handbags.

      I was completely out of my element, and my mind was filled with all of the negative things I ever thought about myself. I mean, who was I kidding? Michael could have anyone he wanted. Did he really think I could fit in?

      Michael and I met — or rather, met again — in 2003. Our families were a part of the same church, and both of our fathers were ministers at that time. We had been in each other’s lives since we were 5 but never really paid any attention to each other. That all changed after he and I both experienced bad breakups in long-term relationships and our mutual friend decided to set us up on a date.

      We met up at GameWorks. Michael showed up in a suit, and I wore cargo pants and a fitted shirt. I felt insecure at first because of our drastic difference in attire, but one look in his eyes and I knew I was OK. From there, I fell for him completely.

      He was everything I wanted and didn’t know I needed. He was my knight in shining armor. Michael encouraged me to be me and never apologize for it.

      We dated for about two years before he plopped down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. From there, we’ve been on this journey together.

      But, truth be told, I never felt good enough, worthy or deserving of anything. Growing up, I learned things could change very abruptly — always when you least expected it. Between the ages of 1 and 5, my parents were separated and nearly divorced four times. Because of my parents’ tumultuous relationship, there was always this pressure to be my family’s everything. I had to be strong for my mom, perfect for my dad and an example for my brothers. I learned to shut down and follow a script. I had to be perfect.

      As I grew older, that need to be perfect only became more prevalent. I felt like I was a fraud, and being an NBA wife didn’t help that. In fact, it nearly destroyed me.

      The Rules Of Being An NBA Wife

      I didn’t have any problems with the other basketball wives. However, I didn’t make many friends, either. Michael was very clear with me to steer clear of the drama, even if I had an opinion, because, as glamorous as the NBA life may seem, this was technically his workplace. Most of the time, this rule was easy to follow: Keep to yourself and don’t cause any drama. This was business, and I understood where Michael was coming from.

      So, I complied.

      As an NBA wife, there are no bad days. Your hair should be perfect, nails nicely manicured, makeup flawless, and designer clothes, shoes and handbags are a must. There is no coming to the game in sweats or jeans and a T-shirt.

      Dealing with the media was a huge learning curve. The less you say, the better. Just smile and be a trophy wife. The vast majority of people don’t care about your thoughts or that you may be college educated, because the overall assumption is that you married well. Your intelligence and career aspirations are the least of their concern. 

      Unfortunately, this outside pressure made my pre-existing battle with perfectionism even worse. Being an NBA wife reinforced the need I felt to meet expectations and be loved based on performance instead of being loved just for me.

      The demands of being an NBA wife became much heavier after the birth of my son. After Michael and I married in August of 2006, I found out I was pregnant in October. Our son was born in June of 2007.

      I was very much a single parent while Michael played. His travel schedule left it virtually impossible for him to help in any way. Meanwhile, I was simultaneously struggling with the demands of being a new NBA wife and a new mom, with a new body shape, unsure of her identity.

      The weight of it all crushed me.

      I was drowning in postpartum despair, and I was afraid to tell anyone. How can you tell someone you’re struggling when on the outside your life looks like a fairy tale? Perfect house, perfect husband, perfect baby, perfect life.

      But it wasn’t perfect.

      We got married in 2006 at the Renaissance Hotel in Columbus, Ohio.

      About two years into our marriage, Michael and I attempted to try to have another child — and I had two miscarriages, back to back. I had to experience the pain of the second one, the most devastating one, while Michael was at training camp in Milwaukee. I remember being in a place of such deep sorrow for this child I’d never known, feeling my body going through the process of “getting rid” of what would never be.

      At the time, I couldn’t see what I was blessed with: a big house, a loving son, a car to drive. I only saw pain. And my perfectionism plagued me through it all. There were no off days.

      When Reality Hits Like A Ton Of Bricks

      It was 2016. I woke up one morning and felt strange. I could feel my legs and arms shaking. I brushed it aside. But as the week went on, it didn’t stop. I was scared but convinced myself it was just my imagination. And then it got worse. 

      One morning, around three o’clock, my eyes popped wide open and I felt complete fear as I hyperventilated and my body twitched. I thought I was dying. I quickly got out of bed, panting, pacing and trying not to wake my husband.

      When the panic subsided a few hours later, I gathered myself and woke my kids up. I tried to follow our normal routine, but I couldn’t get it together. I was crying and shaking and nervous. I was so sick from all of the adrenaline I could barely walk, but miraculously I arrived at the doctor’s office safely.

      After listening to me describe my symptoms, my doctor diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder and depression. 

      That was it — the moment my reality hit me like a ton of bricks. Trauma from my past and present, combined with the pressures of my life as an NBA wife, were like gasoline, and all it took was a spark to set my life ablaze.

      Facing My Struggles

      As hard as it was, I started with identifying the moments and circumstances that had built up to the point of my breakdown. 

      I thought back to my first NBA game and realized that my need to fit in and be accepted was out of control. I would go from being the perfect pastor’s daughter, leading the choir on a Sunday morning, to flying out to an NBA game as Michael’s perfect fiancée. My identity would switch in a matter of hours. I didn’t know who I was or what I liked and disliked. I’d bounced around from one identity to another, and each identity came with a role that I had to play.

      In these moments of reflection, it was hard not to let shame depress me further. But I knew I didn’t want to live in this personal hell any longer, and it was time to make some changes. 

      As much as I didn’t want to ask for help, I realized I needed it. The first change I made was to see my therapist on a regular basis, not only in moments of crisis. Second, I agreed to take an antidepressant prescribed by my doctor. 

      In order to shed my perfectionism, I knew I had to make major life changes and start unlearning the stuff that I was fed as a child. I didn’t understand who I was as a person. I knew who everyone else said I was and, trust me, there’s a huge difference. I had to face some tough things and work through anxiety and feelings of being depressed.

      To say I’m great every day would be a lie. There are highs and lows and even the in-between moments. But I’ve surrounded myself with an amazing community of supportive women. I have grown from learning to be vulnerable with those who have earned the right to hear my truth and to be that safe space for them, too.

      Last summer we took our two kids, Michael II and Ardyn, to Lake Como, Italy.

      As for my hubby, he’s been absolutely amazing through this whole thing. Did it stretch him? Of course. Did it challenge him? Absolutely. Did we disagree and bump heads through all of this? You bet, and still do sometimes. But that is what makes us stronger and our connection deeper. We are each other’s biggest fans.

      Pushing your feelings down is never a good idea. Shrinking yourself so that others feel big is detrimental, just as letting the wrong people into your space does, too. I chose to do the work by finding out who I was ― outside of being the wife of an NBA player ― and who I wanted to be surrounded by.

      I’ve finally learned that I don’t need everyone’s approval. I just need the right people to get me.

      Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on HuffPost? Find out what we’re looking for here and send us a pitch!

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      Nadine Coyle is back and it’s as if Girls Aloud never went away!!

      The voice of the group’s new tune is signature GA!!!

      That sound makes our gay heart even gayer!

      Fool For Love has us so happy!!

      Check it out above!

      Then CLICK HERE to listen to more music from Nadine Coyle!

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      Image copyright Press Eye
      Image caption The star says she’s pulling out all the stops for her Glastonbury debut

      Pop singer Freya Ridings is playing her first ever Glastonbury, after an astonishing 12 months that saw her shoot to fame, thanks to ITV2’s Love Island.

      Her song, Lost Without You, was the tear-jerking ballad that played as Jack and Laura’s romance collapsed in front of three million viewers.

      As a result, the piano ballad ended up in the top 10, with more than 200 million streams and endorsements from Radio 1’s Scott Mills and Radio 2’s Michael Ball.

      It was the first time in six years that a female singer-songwriter had hit the top 10 with a track they’d written completely by themselves.

      The singer continues that theme on her self-titled debut album, which comes out in three weeks.

      She describes it as a “time capsule” of the last 10 years of her life – as she fought dyslexia to win a place at the Brit School, and made her name at open mic nights before signing a record deal.

      Arriving at Glastonbury at the crack of dawn to speak to the BBC, she was full of wide-eyed wonder. “Just being here is like having a caffeine hit,” she said as she sat down to chat.

      This is your first time here. Driving in through the gates, what did you think?

      We had the best cab driver. He was born and raised here and he just gave us a complete history of the festival on the way in.

      We were like, ‘This farm must be massive!’ but he explained that Michael Eavis has to rent land from other farms to be able to put the festival on.

      Does playing your first set at Glastonbury give you the jitters?

      I’m not going to lie. I haven’t had anything that’s made me nervous a week in advance in a long time!

      I was watching Dua Lipa’s set from the John Peel stage two years ago, and it suddenly hit me – that’s a really big crowd, and I’m getting to do that.

      Have you planned anything special?

      There’s a part of me where I was like, ‘That’s a crowd where you should crowd-surf,’ and if I didn’t do sad songs, I would so do that. Just fling myself in there. But I’m a bit clumsy, so I’d probably break someone.

      Your album is out three weeks today…

      Oh my God. Oh my God! We did a TV show the other day and they held up a copy of the vinyl, and it’s the first time I’d seen it. They thought I was really geeky but I was just freaking out because that’s the last 10 years of my life on an album. There’s something intangible about it. But I’m so, so proud of it, and I can’t wait to share it with all the fans who’ve been so supportive.

      It’s called Freya Ridings, which presumably means it’s a very personal record?

      Totally. I’ve been writing for so long, and writing got me through so many hard times – because I was so isolated at school, and I couldn’t read music.

      So, to be able to put out an album where I’ve written every song on it… I’m so proud of the little girl who didn’t have any friends, but did have a piano, and now there’s an album because of that. It’s a crazy journey.

      What’s the earliest song on there?

      I think it’s probably Poison – which starts the album with this cinematic, gothic element. I’ve always been obsessed with film music.

      If there was a film you could do a soundtrack for, what would it be?

      Literally, doing a film soundtrack, or writing a song for a film, is one of my total goals.

      They’re shooting a new Bond film right now.

      [Gasps] Are they? I mean, ugh, that would just be an honour! But there’s part of me that’s like, there’ve been so many pinch-myself moments that I’m like, ‘I can’t push it. I’m at Glastonbury, I should just be happy.’

      Let’s make this the start of the official campaign to get your own Bond song.

      Oh my God, if they ever need anything, I’m here, I’m ready.

      The last year has been crazy for you. What’s it like to have a top 10 single and your own headline tour?

      I remember, a couple of years ago I was playing my first headline show, and it was to 100 people in St Pancras Old Church in London; and me and my mum were like, ‘We don’t know 100 people, how are we going to sell these tickets?’

      And this time, we’re playing a headline show in the Apollo in London, and my mum was joking, ‘We don’t know 5,000 people!’

      It’s just incredible what having fans can do. I’m so used to playing these songs at open mic nights, and them shouting, ‘Play something we know’. So to have people come out specifically to hear my songs is an honour. I’m just going to push the boat out every night.

      On YouTube, you have loads of cover versions that you recorded at public pianos around the UK. Can you still do that without being mobbed?

      This is an interesting question. I feel like you can still totally do it, but if we tell people we’re going to be there in advance, it’s slightly different.

      We did some at Bristol bus station last time we did a headline show there, and it was so sweet because this homeless man just ambled over and joined in. It was one of those moments where you realise that everyone has that musical soul within them, but some people just don’t have the opportunity to play. So I love playing those pianos.

      Your father is the voice of Peppa Pig’s dad. Are you sick of being asked about it?

      I understand it. If Florence + The Machine’s dad did the voice of Homer Simpson, I’d want to know about that, too.

      Does he break the voice out to impress kids at parties?

      Well, the thing is, that’s just the way he speaks normally!

      Image copyright Getty Images
      Image caption The singer plays two shows at Glastonbury over the weekend, with highlights on the BBC

      You’re playing two shows at Glastonbury. Who do you want to see between gigs?

      I love the acoustic sets. Growing up, me and my dad would always watch those because we loved seeing the songs stripped back. But hopefully I’ll see Hozier and Lizzo. Although I’m supporting Hozier on tour, so part of me’s like, ‘Maybe I should just save it all up’.

      You’ll be so sick of Take Me To Church by the end of that tour.

      That’s physically not possible. I will sing that song at the top of my lungs every night.

      Next year is Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary. If you were Emily Eavis for a day, who would you book to headline?

      I’m obsessed with Beyonce. She’s just effervescent, I love her. So I’d probably get Beyonce back with Coldplay and Bruno Mars – and they could do their mash-up like they did at the Super Bowl. If they all just played their hits, that would be an amazing show.

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      Image caption The star’s dance routines were punchy and impressive

      In the run-up to Glastonbury, Janet Jackson raised a few eyebrows when she tweeted a line-up poster that put her name above the headliners.

      To be fair, the star is a headline act at home in the US, where she’s one of the most successful female artists of all time.

      Her star was never quite as big in the UK, though, despite having 17 top 10 hits to her name, which made this festival set something of a gamble.

      Admirably, rather than play it safe, Janet delivered a whistle-stop tour of her career, playing a relentless, non-stop medley of 21 tracks in just 50 minutes.

      At times, the pace was dizzying. One of her biggest hits, The Best Things In Life Are Free, was jettisoned after the first chorus; and minor tracks Throb and Come On Get Up got a fuller airing.

      For die-hard fans, it was a dream setlist (and there were plenty of them singing their lungs out) but for a festival crowd unfamiliar with the corners of her back catalogue, some of the song choices were perplexing at best.

      But the blessing of the attention-deficit setlist was that every time an album track started up, a pop banger was just around the corner – whether it was the punchy 1980s funk of What Have You Done For Me Lately, or the breezy pop melodies of Escapade and Miss You Much.

      Image caption The star has 10 number ones in the US, only one less than her brother Michael

      It was a physically-demanding performance, full of crisp, impressive dance moves – often directly lifted from videos Janet shot 30 years ago. But the 53-year-old easily fell in step with her troupe of eight dancers, despite wearing a heavy tail-coat in the 30C heat.

      She paused only once, to dab the sweat off her face with a towel, which she then threw aggressively to the floor so she could get on with the next routine.

      In fact, she seemed happiest when she was goofing off with the dancers, breaking into laughter when one blew her a kiss during Escapade, and tossing around her red tangle of curls as they vamped on some of The Jacksons’ old routines.

      Janet’s vocals were sometimes too quiet in the mix, but she seemed to have worked out a way to sing – mostly – live while galloping around the stage; and the rip-roaring Black Cat proved she could belt it out when she needed to,

      Never the most loquacious of stars, her stage banter was minimal, save for a few exhortations to sing along and, during Nasty, declaring: “I could learn to like this, Glastonbury”.

      Meeting the press backstage after the show, though, she said the view from the stage had been “amazing”.

      “So many people,” she marvelled. “Everybody seems to really enjoy it every single year. I hear so much talk about it.”

      It’s easy to overlook what a trailblazer Janet was in the 1980s and 1990s, emancipating herself from her overbearing father, Joe, and singing about female empowerment and sexuality long before Beyonce and Rihanna.

      Meanwhile, her Rhythm Nation album was ripped from the headlines, with songs that tackled social injustice, racial prejudice, homelessness and illiteracy.

      Two of those songs, State Of The World and The Knowledge, formed a centrepiece of Saturday’s set, and sadly proved as relevant now as they were in 1989.

      But it was the hits, not the deep cuts, that really connected. The lovestruck funk of Love Will Never Do (Without You) was a highlight, as was the military stomp of Rhythm Nation, which closed the set.

      A technical delay at the start of her show meant the planned encore of Together Again had to be dropped.

      In the final analysis, it might have been wiser to drop the jukebox approach and concentrate on 10 or 12 guaranteed bangers, but after what felt like a 50-minute tour of modern R&B history, you couldn’t accuse Janet of slacking off.

      She’s done a lot for us lately.

      Image caption The rock riffs of Black Cat were a highlight


      • Intro
      • Trust A Try
      • If
      • What Have You Done For Me Lately
      • Control
      • Nasty
      • R&B Junkie
      • The Best Things In Life Are Free
      • All For You
      • Come On Get Up
      • Rock With U
      • Throb
      • That’s The Way Love Goes
      • Made For Now
      • State Of The World
      • The Knowledge
      • Miss You Much
      • Love Will Never Do (Without You)
      • Alright
      • Escapade
      • Black Cat
      • Rhythm Nation

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      Media captionHighlights of Stormzy’s set at Glastonbury 2017

      When he strides onstage on Friday night, Stormzy will make history as the first British rapper to headline Glastonbury Festival.

      His ascension to the top of the bill has been rapid – he’s only released one album – but the sense of anticipation is immense.

      “I think it’s going to be amazing,” says fellow grime star Ghetts. “I think it’s going to be a shut-down.

      “It’s probably the most energy that Glastonbury has ever seen. I know that sounds like a big statement but, trust me, it’s going to be crazy.”

      “It’s like a moment in history,” agrees Stefflon Don, who plays the John Peel tent on Sunday.

      “Stormzy always brings it with his live shows and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the Pyramid stage.

      “I think and hope it will go down as one of the most memorable, iconic Glasto performances.”

    • Stormzy: Glasto doubters have ‘gone mad’
    • BBC Sound Of 2015: Stormzy
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    • “If he does say anything outside of his music, it’ll be something that’s been very well thought-through. It won’t just be an off the cuff statement.

      “He’s a great spokesperson for the people he represents, the people he knows are underserved, and not listened to.

      “There are other artists in the world that have outbursts, who speak out of turn, but with Stormzy it never feels like an outburst, it feels like this is something he really wants to address, and I guess if he decides he wants to address something on Friday night it’ll have a huge impact.”

      Image copyright PA Media
      Image caption The star is likely to play hits including Big For Your Boots and Vossi Bop, and maybe some of his earlier freestyles

      Stormzy isn’t the first British rapper to play the Pyramid Stage – Skepta, Tinie Tempah and Dizzee Rascal all paved the way, and grime has had a presence at the festival ever since DJ Cameo brought a whole crew of key London MCs including Trim and JME to the Roots Tent back in 2005.

      There have been some lean times since then, but 2016 was a watershed year, with a day-long line up on the Sonic Stage featuring Kano, J-Hus, Nadia Rose and Novelist, which prompted a slew of articles about Glastonbury’s Grime Takeover.

      This year, though, British rap and hip-hop can be found in every corner of Worthy Farm, whether its Dave and Loyle Carner on the Other Stage, Octavian and Stefflon Don in the John Peel tent or AJ Tracey and Lady Leshurr in the Silver Hayes area.

      Door ‘booted open’

      “I remember doing Glastonbury as part of Roll Deep in 2010,” says DJ Target. “Tinie Tempah was on before us, then Bashy and Giggs. We were all on the East Dance stage and it kind of felt like that was our area within Glastonbury.

      “And now – I just flipped through the line-up, and I’m literally going to be having 20-minute treks across Glastonbury to see everyone I want to see. They’re sprinkled throughout the whole festival, and in some stages they’re top or second-to-top billing. It’s going to be hard work to catch them all – but that’s a great problem to have.”

      “What we’ve seen over the last few years, each milestone that’s been reached, you go, ‘Wow, is this as high as it can go, or is this another massive door that’s been booted open?’ and it’s mostly been the latter.

      “Every time something like Stormzy headlining happens, it inspires the next artist to believe it’s achievable.”

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      End of Youtube post by Stormzy

      Festival organiser Emily Eavis, who booked him for the slot, has no doubts about his readiness.

      “When I saw him play the 2017 festival on the Other Stage, I knew straight away that the next time he played he would be headlining the Pyramid,” she said.

      “The reaction in the field was unbelievable. He’s got such a presence and the energy is incredible.”

      According to Julie Adenuga, though, there’s one thing his performance will be missing.

      “He told me he doesn’t like dancing because he’s too tall,” she laughs.

      “I think he’s just too shy, but there’s no space for shy when you’re headlining Glastonbury!”

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      This is épicé!

      The Magician is giving us the passionné with his song, Love Break, feat Hamza.

      The Belgian DJ/producer is giving us major Drake vibes! So much so that he needs to work on Champagne Papi’s next album!

      Check it out above!

      Then CLICK HERE to listen to more music from The Magician!

      Read more:

      Lip-syncing jumpstarted TikTok’s rise to the center of teen culture, arguably displacing Instagram . Now the Facebook-owned app is striking back with a new feature that lets you displays lyrics on your video Story synced to a soundtrack you’ve added with the Music sticker. Lyrics could help creators and their fans sing along, and the visual flare could make the amateur MTV content more watchable.

      Instagram scored a big endorsement from teen scare-pop phenomenon Billie Eilish who’s featured in the demo video for Story lyrics, which are now available in all the countries where Instagram Music has launched including the US, Germany, and France.

      To play with the feature, first select the Music lens type (amidst Boomerang and other options) before you shoot or the Music sticker after. Once you pick a song, you’ll see lyrics pop up which can help you cue the segment of the music you want to play. Then you can cycle through a bunch of animation styles like traditional karaoke teleprompter, a typewriter version that preserves mystery by only revealing lyrics as they’re sung, and big flashy billboard font.

      “Music can be a big part of expression on Instagram – between adding music to Stories, connecting with artists, sending song recs back-and-forth, there are lots of ways to connect with music on IG” an Instagram spokesperson tells me. “Now, we’re building on our music features andintroducing the ability to add lyrics when you add a song to your story.” As with pretty much everything Instagram launches, it was first dug out of Android code and revealed to the world by frequent TechCrunch tipster and reverse engineering master Jane Manchun Wong. She first spotted Lyrics in March and we wrote about the prototype in April.

      But TikTok isn’t waiting up. Today it launched its own text feature for adding overlaid captions to videos. Typically, creators had to use Snapcat, Instagram Stories, or desktop editing software to add text. Creators are sure to find plenty of hilarious use cases for text on TikTok, and it could help replace the common trope of writing captions on paper and holding them up during clips.

      All of these features are about keeping social video from going stale. The manicured, painstakingly posed Instagram aesthetic is over, as The Atlantic’s Taylor Lorenz deftly identified. Fans are sick of perfection, which breeds envy and feels plastic or inauthentic. Comedy, absurdity, and the rough edges of reality are becoming the new ‘look’ of social media. Tools to overlay lyrics and text give creators more freedom to express complex jokes or just act silly. The popularity of Billie Eilish’s own dirtbag chic fashion and willingness to reveal her own insecurities exemplifies this shift, so it’s smart Instagram is using her as the face of its next wave of visual communication.

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