Pink to star at British pop music’s big night

British stars will be recognized, but live performances from US singers such as Pink will also be featured. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
0

Pink to star at British pop music’s big night

  • The Brit Awards have recognized the cream of British pop music since they were first held in 1977
  • The awards have also been criticized for failing to be bold in their choice of performers in recent years

LONDON: Dua Lipa, The 1975 and George Ezra are some of the big names vying for prizes at British pop music’s annual celebration on Wednesday, with US singer Pink also set to be honored.
The 39th annual Brit Awards at London’s O2 Arena will recognize Britain’s top talent of 2018, and also feature live performances from Hollywood A-lister Hugh Jackman and Pink.
The coveted Best Album of the Year Award will be fought out between pop rockers The 1975, rising star Anne-Marie, Florence + The Machine, indie singer George Ezra and Grammy-nominated diva Jorja Smith.
Electro-stars Clean Bandit are up for two awards for their collaboration with US actress/singer Demi Lovato while Dua Lipa, the 23-year-old star of last year’s show, is up for four prizes and will perform with hit producer Calvin Harris during the glitzy ceremony.
Anne-Marie, who shot to fame as the vocalist on Clean Bandit’s worldwide hit “Rockabye,” is nominated for four awards, including for the Britney Spears inspired video to “2002,” her fourth top 10 UK single.
Baritone singer George Ezra will also perform live, and could walk away with three awards, including Best British Male Solo Artist.
He is up against garage pioneer Craig David, veteran avant-garde techno producer Aphex Twin and soul singer Sam Smith.
The British Group award pits indie heavyweights Gorillaz and Arctic Monkeys against each other, with the latter’s May album “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” earning plaudits for its experimental direction.
Three categories recognize foreign artists, with hip-hop giants Eminem, Drake and The Carters all up for awards, along with Ariana Grande and French star Christine and the Queens.
The Brit Awards have recognized the cream of British pop music since they were first held in 1977, and have often been peppered with scandal and farce.
The 1989 Brits are best remembered for the shambolic presenting skills of model Samantha Fox and Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood and a comical series of mishaps.
Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker stormed the stage in protest while Michael Jackson performed surrounded by children in 1996.
In 1998, Chumbawamba vocalist Danbert Nobacon dumped a bucket of iced water over then deputy prime minister John Prescott.
And Madonna suffered whiplash injuries at the 2015 edition when she fell off the stage wearing a giant cape and surrounded by dancers wearing bondage-style costumes and horns on their heads.
The awards have also been criticized for failing to be bold in their choice of performers in recent years.
The British music industry contributed £4.5 billion ($5.8 billion, 5.1 billion euros) to the UK economy in 2015, and British artists accounted for one of every eight albums purchased worldwide.


Children’s author Judith Kerr, who wrote ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’, dies

Updated 23 May 2019
0

Children’s author Judith Kerr, who wrote ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’, dies

  • Kerr's family fled Germany as the Nazi's rose to power
  • She based the characters on animals she had seen in real life

LONDON: British writer and illustrator Judith Kerr, whose death at 95 was announced on Thursday, captivated young readers around the world with her tales of a fluffy tiger coming to tea, a trouble-prone cat and her own family's flight from Nazi Germany.
With curly hair and a mischievous smile, the petite Kerr worked well into her 90s, saying she even picked up the pace in old age, drawing inspiration from events in her own life to become one of Britain's best-loved children's authors.
Kerr was born in Berlin on June 14, 1923, fleeing Germany 10 years later after a policeman tipped off her father Alfred Kerr, a prominent Jewish writer, that the family was in danger from the rising Nazi power.
"My father was ill in bed with flu and this man rang up and said: 'They are trying to take away your passport, you must get out immediately'," she recalled in an interview with AFP in June 2018.
He took the first train to Switzerland and his wife and two children soon joined him. A day after their escape, the Nazis took power.
The family moved on to Paris before settling in London in 1936.
This story is loosely recounted from a child's perspective in Kerr's semi-autobiographical novel "When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit" (1971) in which the fleeing girl can only take one toy and so leaves behind a favourite rabbit.
Kerr, who started drawing at a young age, credited the success of the book with being "published at a time when the Germans hadn't really managed to talk to their children about the past".
But she is better known for "The Tiger Who Came to Tea", released in 1968 to become a global classic of children's literature, with at least five million copies sold and published in more than 30 languages.
Kerr's first picture book, it tells of a girl and her mother interrupted at teatime by a huge, fluffy tiger who eats everything in sight before leaving again.
She was able to write up the story -- a bedtime favourite of her young daughter -- while her husband was at work and their two children at school.
The fictional family mirrors her own at the time, the illustrations featuring the yellow and white kitchen cupboards of their London home.
Kerr used tigers at a London zoo as models for her feline creation.
Next was "Mog the Forgetful Cat" (1970), the first in what became a 17-book series about the antics of a mischievous, egg-loving moggy inspired by her own pet.
"Goodbye Mog" (2002) was meant to be the last offering -- broaching the subject of death with the much-loved cat departing for heaven. But supermarket chain Sainsbury's persuaded Kerr to produce one more in 2015: "Mog's Christmas Calamity".
Proceeds of the last book were for Save the Children's work on child literacy, and a TV advert was the first to feature Mog in animation with Kerr herself also making a cameo appearance.
In her illustrated story "My Henry" (2011) -- for children and adults -- an elderly lady fantasises about adventures with her late husband, such as climbing Mount Everest, hunting lions, and riding dinosaurs.
Kerr dedicated the book to her husband Thomas Nigel Kneale, a respected screenwriter who died in 2006. The couple met at the BBC, where they both worked, and married in 1954.
Commenting on the book in 2011, The Telegraph wrote: "For all the depth of underlying emotion, there's a celebratory feel to it, an unfeigned lightness of spirit that, throughout her life, has been a great boon.
"It has helped her cope with widowhood just as it allowed her to get over the loss, exile, penury and frustration of her early life."
In 2012 Kerr was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to children's literature and Holocaust education.