Delhi officials ask ex-007 Brosnan to explain Indian ad

Former 007 star Pierce Brosnan has been asked to explain why he features in a commercial for an Indian mouth freshener linked to chewing tobacco. (Screenshot)
Updated 15 February 2018
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Delhi officials ask ex-007 Brosnan to explain Indian ad

NEW DELHI: Former 007 star Pierce Brosnan has been asked to explain why he features in a commercial for an Indian mouth freshener linked to chewing tobacco, Delhi authorities said Wednesday.
Health officials in the Indian capital said they had issued a show cause notice requiring Brosnan justify his starring in a James Bond-style ad dating back to 2016 for pan masala — a mixture of betel nut, spices and sometimes tobacco.
The adverts for Indian TV channels, newspapers and billboards showed a bearded Brosnan grappling with villains and flirting with beautiful women before revealing a can of pan masala, a twist that invited ridicule at the time.
But local authorities remain less than impressed, insisting the ads are still at large and warning the 64-year-old Irish actor he could be violating Indian laws against tobacco advertising.
“We saw Pierce Brosnan’s posters advertising Pan Bahar (a pan masala brand) at tobacco shops in Delhi in the last fortnight,” S.K Arora, a health department officer with the Delhi government, told AFP.
Arora said authorities had reached out to Brosnan through Pan Bahar, the pan masala company in question and “even directly on his Twitter account” — but had not heard back.
Brosnan could face a fine of 5000 rupees ($78) or up to two years in jail if he did not answer within 10 days, Arora added.
The makers of Pan Bahar insist their product does not contain nicotine, but many pan masala mixtures in India designed to freshen breath and aid digestion contain tobacco along with pastes, areca nut and spices.
Arora said chewing tobacco had been linked to cancer and millions of Indians chewed pan masala every day. The distinct mixture leaves lurid red stains on the mouth after being chewed or when it is spat out.


Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

Updated 22 May 2018
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Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

PARIS: The hotly hyped “British jazz invasion” has been the toast of international scenesters for some months now, with breathy adjective-heavy sprawls penned on both sides of the Atlantic paying tribute to a fresh generation of musos who grew up not in the conservatoires but the clubs, channelling the grit and groove of grime into a distinctly hip, 21st century strain of freewheeling, DIY improvised music.

Now the Arab world has its own outpost in the form of Chip Wickham, a UK-born flautist, saxophonist and producer whose second album grew out of extended stints teaching in the GCC. “Shamal Wind” takes its name from the Gulf’s primal weather patterns, and there’s a distinctly meditative, Middle Eastern vibe to the title track, a slow-burning, moody vamp, peppered with percussive trills, with hints of Yusef Lateef to be found in Wickham’s wandering woodwind musings.

There’s rather less goatee-stroking to be found across the four further up-tempo cuts, which swap soul-searching for soul-jazz, soaked in the breezy bop of a vintage Blue Note release. Recorded over a hot summer in Madrid, a heady Latin pulse drives first single, “Barrio 71” — championed by the likes of Craig Charles — with Spanish multi-percussionist David el Indio steaming up a block party beat framing Wickham’s gutsy workout on baritone sax.

Having previously worked with electronic acts, including Nightmares on Wax and Jimpster, one imagines the dancefloor was a key stimulus behind Wickham’s rhythmically dense, but harmonically spare compositional approach. Phil Wilkinson’s sheer, thumped piano chords drive the relentless nod of second single “Snake Eyes,” Wickham’s raspy flute floating somewhere overhead, readymade to be skimmed off for the anticipated remix market.

In truth, Manchester-raised Wickham is both too thoughtful, and too thoughtless, to truly belong to the London-brewed jazz invasion — Shamal Wind yo-yos between meditative meandering and soulful strutting with a wilful disrespect for trend.