Music movies dancing in the gods a haven for uk

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2017

MUSIC & MOVIES

Dancing in the 'gods': A haven for UK concert lovers

It's a world apart from the polished atmosphere of traditional classical music concerts. Way up near the roof of London's Royal Albert Hall, spectators at the summer-time Proms soak in the music without worrying about the conventions. "If you're sitting in a seat, you have to sit with your back straight all the time and you can get a bit uncomfortable," said Lisa Beecham, a 38-year-old teacher from London. "But up here you can lie down, you can walk around, you can move position." She is among the tens of thousands who flock every year to the Proms, the world's biggest classical music festival staged at the 5,500-capacity venue.

Only a minority of them experience the concerts from the Gallery, right at the top of the circular, domed 1870s Italianate masterpiece on the edge of Hyde Park. The Gallery is a unique place to experience the BBC Promenade Concerts, which run annually for eight weeks between July and September. The circular corridor, more than 250 meters (820 feet) long, rings the top of the auditorium and offers a striking view from beneath its high arches. Up here in the Albert Hall's highest reaches-an area referred to as "the gods" in British theatresthere are no padded red seats or numbered rows.

Prommers stand where they like to best appreciate the music floating up from the philharmonic orchestra on the stage a dizzying distance below. Leaning against the barrier, with a clear view down to the musicians, Matthew Knight said he prefers standing. "You feel more part of it than if you were just sitting down," he said, marking the tempo with his right hand. "You get more concentration, you get more of the music because you're not just sitting comfortably." Knight, who works at London's Southwark Cathedral, comes to around a dozen concerts each year.

"It is the best festival in the world," he added. Like him, most concert-goers in the Gallery lean against the railing to see the stage, some with binoculars to follow the conductor close-up. If it gets crowded, elbow room is at a premium in order to see the orchestra.

Dancing with the music A few meters back from the railing, lying on a blanket, Erica Seo and her partner have made the opposite choice. They listen to Robert Schumann's "Violin Concerto" with their eyes closed, each one lost in their own thoughts. "It is just like being in the living room, but much better music, because it is obviously live, and you get really a feel of the detail, you can feel the pulse," she said. "Usually we would sit there and watch it more closely, but today we wanted to be a bit relaxed." Jane Smith, 61, is attracted by the "anything goes" ambiance. Barefoot and swinging with the rhythm, she is a regular who comes several times a year-and always to the Gallery. "Sometimes, on the top, I can dance, but it has to be the right music. I haven't danced this year. Oh yes, I danced once," she said, with a smile. "And I can go the toilets whenever I want." Standing by the access stairs, the ushers are relaxed towards Gallery-going Prommers. "It's kind of a special area because generally it's supposed to be standing, but it's like a tradition for each person to do their own thing," said Albert Hall employee Ruta, 21. "As long as they don't make much noise, it's not a problem," she said. Some groups of friends make a mini-picnic out of it, sitting on the floor munching sandwiches, with plastic glasses spread out around them. The "unpretentious, relaxed" atmosphere pulls in a "much more diverse" crowd than other London classical music concerts, said Sarah Legrand, 33, who came with a friend. "Here you can see students, young people with their kids," she said, looking around. "In other normal indoor classical music venues, most people are retired." The diversity is fostered by the cheap ticketing strategy. Gallery tickets are sold on the day for ?6 ($7.75, 6.50 euros). Seats cost from ?7.50 to ?100. Purists lament the end this year of the traditional colorful queue outside for tickets-which has, like so much else, moved online. -- AFP

This file photo shows the crowd and stage during the last night of the Proms at The Royal Albert Hall in west London. -- AFP

Foo Fighters follow 'Adele' blueprint on return

Grunge veterans the Foo Fighters are channeling their inner Rick Astley with a bold new record the American rockers describe as their "weirdest" yet. While their DNA is rooted in the Seattle grunge scene of the early nineties, the band told AFP that turning to British pop diva Adele's award-winning producer Greg Kurstin for their ninth studio album, "Concrete and Gold", brought a fresh dimension to their sound. In an interview before headlining the Summer Sonic festival in Tokyo-where they invited Astley on stage for an improbable mash-up of the eighties pin-up's "Never Gonna Give You Up" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"-Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett said:

"People think it's a really weird choice for us to work with a pop producer but it made perfect sense. There's so much more to Greg and his love of music and knowledge base than just the pop stuff." Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, the former Nirvana drummer, chose him to replicate the alchemy he has with Adele, this time with a gnarly rock band. "We weren't getting Greg for Adele's sound," said keyboardist Rami Jaffee, previously a fan of Kurstin's indie synthpop duo The Bird and the Bee. "The Greg we had in the studio was definitely the more adventurous soundscape guy-he brought more of that stuff," he added.

"I thought: 'Oh boy, we're getting weird quick!' This record we really took extra leaps and bounds, sonically." Due out next month, the new Foo Fighters album combines thunderous guitar riffs with lush, harmonic textures. Tracks such as "La Dee Da" and the Donald Trump-inspired single "Run" rock out, but the Foo Fighters shift gears on the dreamy "Dirty Water", while the title track is a slow-burner that features Boyz II Men's Shawn Stockman. Beatles legend Paul McCartney also plays drums on one track among several other guest turns, including Alison Mosshart of The Kills.

Bootleg tape "Paul McCartney is a fan of music," said Shiflett, nibbling on vegetable sticks in between photo shoots. "He only did two passes at the song, which he had never even heard before. Then he just wanted to noodle around so we just jammed on a bunch of other stuff." The Foo Fighters shot to fame in the late nineties with hits such as "This Is A Call," "Monkey Wrench" and "Learn To Fly" and have sold more than 30 million records worldwide. "I didn't join the band until '99 but I remember a cassette tape bootleg of the first album way before it came out circulating," said Shiflett.

"All my friends that were in the know had it and it was just something that would be on the stereo at parties." But after a turbulent 2015 when Grohl broke his leg after plunging off the stage and they were forced to cancel a tour, rumors persisted that the group were set to split. "It would be so dumb for any band to break up," insisted guitarist Pat Smear, who also used to tour with Nirvana. "You just look stupid when you get back together."

Shiflett believes the secret of the band's longevity lies in not taking themselves too seriously, pointing to a spat with Coldplay, who took offence at a mischievous bumper sticker joke in a 2011 Foo Fighters video. "I remember at the time Chris Martin got super offended and actually got into it with Dave at a kids birthday party or something," he said. "It certainly wasn't meant to offend anybody. I don't think this band could ever take itself too seriously." Jaffee agrees. "Not taking yourselves too seriously-all other bands take note," he said. "It's a very important thing to keep in check and I'm sorry, Chris Martin, but all our wives love you!"-- AFP

A reptilian tail? A solar eclipse: Taylor

Swift teases fans

File photo shows Taylor Swift arrives at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in Inglewood, Calif. -- AP

Who can eclipse an eclipse? Why, Taylor Swift. Just days after going dark on social media, the pop star put out another clue Monday leading to a possible song drop on the same day as the big solar eclipse. And if the lyric-sharing site Genius was to be believed, the tune is titled "Timeless." The title was teased there but taken down later Monday.

As for the video clip that appears to be a twitchy reptilian tail, well, we're not sure how that might play into Swift's anticipated sixth studio album that all of her social media shenanigans seem to be leading up to, possibly in October to coincide with the anniversary of the release of her "1989." The tail may or may not have something to do with all the snake emojis that took front and center last year on Swift's social streams, including when anti-Swifties used them in Instagram comments after Kim Kardashian West released audio recordings she said proved Swift gave West's hubby, Kanye West, the go ahead for a Swift reference in the song "Famous." Swift wiped her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and website on Friday, the third anniversary of the release of her "Shake It Off" single. -- AP

Photo shows Dave Grohl, frontman of the US band Foo Photo shows members of the US band Foo Fighters performing at the Summer Sonic festival in Makuhari, suburban Fighters, performing at the Summer Sonic festival in Tokyo. Makuhari, suburban Tokyo. -- AFP

Coroner: Jerry Lewis death; from end-stage

heart disease

Authorities in Las Vegas say Jerry Lewis died of heart disease, but the wording of his death certificate differs from what was reported earlier. Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said Monday that Lewis' official cause of death was end-stage cardiac disease and peripheral vascular disease. Lewis was the clownish comic hailed as an artistic genius and the host for decades of annual muscular dystrophy telethons. He died Sunday of natural causes in Las Vegas at age 91. Fudenberg says coroner deputies had been told Lewis died of ischemic (ih-SKEE'mihk) cardiomyopathy. Ferozan Malal is the hospice and palliative medicine physician in Las Vegas who signed Lewis' death certificate. She tells The Associated Press that peripheral vascular disease and ischemic cardiomyopathy both fall under the category of end-stage cardiac disease. -- AP

This file photo shows Jerry Lewis accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences during the Oscars telecast during the 81st Academy Awards, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. -- AP.

File photo shows Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. -- AP

Cosby hires Michael

Jackson's lawyer

Bill Cosby has hired Michael Jackson's former lawyer to represent him at his November retrial on sexual-assault charges in Pennsylvania. Cosby's spokesman announced Monday the 80-yearold comedian is bringing in Tom Mesereau to lead a retooled defense team. Lawyers from the first trial in June had said they wanted off the case. Mesereau won an acquittal in Jackson's 2005 child molestation trial. He also has represented boxer Mike Tyson, rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight and a Playboy bunny. Mesereau will be joined by former federal prosecutor Kathleen Bliss and Sam Silver, who represented now-imprisoned former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (SHAW'-kah fa-TAH') in a corruption case. Cosby's first trial on charges he drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004 ended in a hung jury. -- AP

Mystikal surrenders

on rape charge

The rapper Mystikal has surrendered to authorities in Louisiana, where he faces a sexual assault charge. KSLATV video-recorded the 46-year-old rapper, whose real name is Michael Lawrence Tyler, as he entered the Caddo Correctional Center in northwest Louisiana on Monday. Tyler was wanted on a warrant listing a charge of first-degree rape.

KSLA reported that the allegation stems from an occurrence at a Shreveport casino last October. Online booking records show Tyler was in the correctional center as of Monday afternoon. Tyler was released from a Louisiana prison in 2010 after serving six years for sexual battery and extortion. Roy Maughan Jr., a Baton Rouge lawyer who represents Tyler in some matters, said he was uncertain whether counsel has been retained for the current case. -- AP

File photo shows Mystikal performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans. -- AP

Brian Aldiss

British science fiction

writer, Brian Aldiss dies

Brian Aldiss, one of the most prolific and influential science fiction writers of the 20th century, has died aged 92. Literary agency Curtis Brown said Aldiss died early Saturday at his home in Oxford, England. Born in 1925, Aldiss served in India and Burma with the British Army during World War II and later became a bookseller, publishing his first stories in a trade magazine. He went on to have a huge influence on sci-fi, as a writer of stories and novels and as editor of many anthologies.

His work includes "Greybeard," set in a world without young people, and the "Helliconia" trilogy, centered on a planet in which the seasons last for centuries. Aldiss' 1969 short story "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" was an unrealized dream project for the late Stanley Kubrick and formed the basis for Steven Spielberg's 2001 film "A.I." He also wrote general fiction, some of it inspired by his wartime experiences, and two volumes of autobiography.

Son Tim Aldiss tweeted that his father was "a drinking companion of Kingsley Amis & correspondent with C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien," and younger writers hailed Aldiss as a major influence and encouraging mentor. On Twitter, "Sandman" author Neil Gaiman called him "a larger than life wise writer." Aldiss was awarded the title of Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. -- AP

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