Bruce Springsteen’s Letter To You makes UK album chart history as it hits No 1 | Ents & Arts News

Bruce Springsteen has made UK chart history, becoming the first solo artist to have a number one album in five consecutive decades.

Letter To You, the singer’s 12th chart-topper, outsold the rest of the top five combined to take this week’s highest chart position, ahead of new releases from Gorillaz and Blossoms.

It makes Springsteen, 71, the first credited solo artist to have a number one album in every decade from the 1980s through to the 2020s.

His first was Born In The USA, his seventh album, in 1984, with famous earlier records such as Born To Run, released in 1975, and The River, in 1980, missing out on the top spot.

Springsteen’s first UK number one album was Born In The USA, released in 1984

Known for his marathon live shows, the revered rock star, affectionately known as The Boss by fans, reunited with his career-long companions the E Street Band for the new record.

It is their first album together since 2014’s High Hopes, returning to his trademark brand of rock ‘n’ roll following 2019’s Western Stars.

Lyrically, the 12 songs address ageing and mortality as well as the state of global and US politics – a subject that, as a vocal critic of Donald Trump, the New Jersey-born star has spoken out about in the run-up to next week’s presidential election.

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While Paul McCartney, John Lennon, David Gilmour and Paul Weller have also achieved the five-decade feat, the accolade included their work in groups as well as solo material.

Letter To You is also the fastest selling album of 2020 so far, according to the Official Charts Company, with 95% of Springsteen’s 51,800 chart sales made up of physical and download sales. However, Lady Gaga‘s Chromatica holds the title for the biggest opening week overall for an album this year, including streams as well as sales.

As his 12th number one, the album ties Springsteen with Madonna for the highest number of chart-toppers in the UK – only behind Robbie Williams and Elvis Presley.

Perhaps surprisingly, The Boss has never had a UK number one single.

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Earlier this week, the star urged Americans to vote Mr Trump out of the White House.

Reading a poem by Elayne Griffin Baker on his From My Home To Yours radio show on SiriusXM, he said: “We used to have a president that calmed and soothed the nation instead of dividing it, and a first lady who planted a garden instead of ripping one out.

“We are rudderless and joyless. We have lost the cultural aspects of society that make America great. We have lost our mojo, our fun, our happiness, our cheering on of others.”

Sky News US election coverage

Springsteen is one of many celebrities backing former vice president Joe Biden ahead of the election, along with stars including Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Aniston, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Robert De Niro and Dave Grohl.

Mr Trump’s celebrity fanbase includes musician Kid Rock and Cheers actress Kirstie Alley.

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Kanye West buys Kim Kardashian a hologram of her late father Robert Kardashian for her 40th birthday | Ents & Arts News

Kanye West has raised the present buying stakes for couples around the world, gifting his wife Kim Kardashian a hologram of her late father for her 40th birthday.

Kim shared a video of the holographic resurrection with her hundreds of millions of social media followers calling it “the most thoughtful gift of a lifetime” and a “special surprise from heaven”.

It shows an impressive digital likeness of her dad, Robert Kardashian, who died of oesophageal cancer in 2003 aged 59.

Kim called the birthday present ‘the most thoughtful gift of a lifetime’

A well-known lawyer, he became a household name in America when he represented OJ Simpson during his 1995 murder trial.

In his holographic message, Robert who is dressed in a beige suit and open necked white shirt, tells Kim: “I am so proud of the woman that you’ve become.”

He praises her as a businesswoman, a mother and for her support of Armenia, the country his family originally hailed from.

He also says he is touched by Kim’s decision to carry on his legacy and pursue a career in law.

Kim started a four-year apprenticeship to become a criminal justice lawyer with a firm in San Francisco in 2018 and plans to take her exams in 2022.

The two minute 20 second video begins with Robert directly addressing his daughter and saying: “Happy birthday, Kimberly. Look at you, you’re 40 and all grown up. You look beautiful just like when you were a little girl.

“I watch over you and your sisters and brother and the kids every day.”

The family of five posed together
The hologram praised Kim for her skills as a mother

He describes driving Kim to school in his “little Mercedes” while listening to the Barry Mann track Who Put The Bomp together. At this point the hologram even does a little dance.

He goes on: “I am so proud of the woman that you’ve become Kimberly and all that you’ve accomplished. All of your hard work and all of the businesses you have built are incredible. But most impressive is your commitment to become a lawyer and carry on my legacy.

“It’s a long and a hard road but it’s worth it. And I am with you every step of the way.”

The message also gives the seal of approval to Kim’s choice of husband: “The most beautiful thing I have witnessed is watching you grow your family. You married the most, most, most, most, most genius man in the whole world, Kanye West.”

The flourish points to West having had a hand in the scripting in at least part of the birthday message.

The Kardashians - and Kanye - at the Met Gala in 2019
The Kardashians – and Kanye – at the Met Gala in 2019

It goes on: “You are the most, most, most, most amazing mother to your four beautiful children and they are perfect.

“Keep doing what you are doing, Kimberly, you are a beautiful soul. Know that I’m very proud of you and I’m always with you. I have built a firewall around our family. I love you, Kimberly.”

Kim said she didn’t have the words to describe how meaningful the gift was to her and her family, and said they watched the message “over and over”.

Kaleida – the company who made Kim’s hologram – say they specialise in “Hollywood blockbusters and major theatrical shows” and use “a combination of performance, motion tracking, SFX, VFX and DeepFake technologies to resurrect pop singers, heads of state and historical figures”.

Their website says the performance took place in Tahiti, where Kim is believed to have celebrated her birthday on a private island with her “closest inner circle”.

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Her trip was criticised for being “insensitive” and “tone deaf” by some social media users who questioned both the safety and lavish nature of the event during a worldwide pandemic.

Robert Kardashian is not the first high-profile figure to find themselves reincarnated in hologram form.

He follows in the footsteps of stars including Tupac, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse, all of whom have performed for fans posthumously.

It’s likely the Robert Kardashian hologram was created using a 200-year-old technique called “Pepper’s ghost”.

Named after the English scientist John Henry Pepper, it is made by projecting a two-dimensional image in such a way that it gives the illusion you’re looking at a live person standing on a stage in a three-dimensional space.

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Scarlett Johansson secretly marries comedian Colin Jost in ‘intimate’ ceremony | Ents & Arts News

Scarlett Johansson tied the knot in secret over the weekend, it has emerged.

The Hollywood actress, 34, married comedian Colin Jost in an “intimate ceremony”.

The announcement was made on Instagram by Meals on Wheels America, which stated the nuptials were attended by “immediate family and loved ones”.

The charity added that the event took place in accordance with COVID-19 safety measures.

The actress and the Saturday Night Live star, 38, got engaged in May 2019 after two years of dating.

Meals on Wheels America wrote that the couple wish to “help make a difference for vulnerable older adults during this difficult time” and are encouraging people to donate to the charity, which aims to “fight senior hunger and isolation”.

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This is Johansson’s third marriage.

The Avengers actress was previously married to fellow Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds and to journalist Romain Dauriac.

She has a daughter with Dauriac – Rose – who was born in 2014.

The pair were dating for two years before they became engaged last year

It is the first marriage for Jost, who co-hosts SNL’s Weekend Update.

The two-time Oscar nominee has compared Jost’s proposal to a “James Bond situation”.

Johansson told Ellen DeGeneres: “He did, he killed it. It was a very James Bond situation. It was surprising.”

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Faithless: ‘We created something bigger than the sum of its parts’ | Ents & Arts News

They are one of the defining electronic acts of the last three decades, responsible for arguably the greatest dance track of all time.

Now, Faithless are back with their first album in 10 years; titled All Blessed, but it has come with challenges.

Of course, the effect of the coronavirus pandemic does not need overstating. For an album featuring several collaborations, lockdown threw a few hurdles into the mix.

This is the first Faithless album without Maxi Jazz

But this record, their seventh, was different for another reason, too; for the first time, founders Sister Bliss and Rollo have worked without Maxi Jazz, the group’s enigmatic frontman and instantly recognisable face and voice.

There was no fallout, simply a break to make music with his new band, The E-Types. And the presence of the man who can command a crowd like very few others is still keenly felt; he set the bar high.

“It was definitely a challenge for us to make sure that we honoured that and that Faithless carries on in the spirit which it started, which is really to have lyrics that are meaningful,” Sister Bliss tells Sky News.

Maxi Jazz’s lyrical agenda and poetic style, as well as “the amazing tone of his voice”, have been the “central spine” of the band since they started releasing music in the 1990s, she says.

“For me personally, Maxi’s voice is in my head and it’s in my heart and in my spirit and… [talking about] music being a conversation, so much of our relationship was getting to know each other – on the tour bus, touring the world, late nights in hotel bars, and the first album we made together, Reverence, was that process of us getting to know each other.

“We didn’t all start band at school. This was the meeting of people from three very different corners of the musical triangle, if you like, coming together to create something that has ended up being bigger than the sum of its parts.”

Sister Bliss of Faithless
Sister Bliss co-founded the group with Maxi Jazz and Rollo

The Faithless energy – so distinctive in the goosebump-inducing hits they are best known for, such as Insomnia, God Is A DJ and One Step Too Far – has been carried forward, despite Maxi’s absence, with collaborations with artists including Suli Breaks, Caleb Femi, Gaika and Soul II Soul founder Jazzie B.

“It has been this beautiful process of getting to know new artists, getting used to their flow and their lyrics and the tone of their voices, where they sit,” Sister Bliss says.

“Suli Breaks has quite a high voice, so it was really interesting putting him on a track with Jazzie; it was like the elder statesman speaking in this deep, gravelly voice that has so much gravitas and this rich bassy tone, to a voice that was slightly higher. So it challenged us musically.

“You know, it’s not the same but hopefully it’s fresh and there’s still this intelligence and thoughtfulness. The people we’ve worked with I feel are really incredible artists and we’ve been very blessed to work with them.”

Sister Bliss of Faithless. Pic: BMG
Pic: BMG

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Faithless were lucky to have the majority of the record finished before lockdown hit.

“This year’s definitely been a challenge, putting a new album out into this particular environment, especially as it’s our first album in 10 years,” Sister Bliss says. “And usually while I would have had a summer of festivals, loads of gigs beyond that, live touring and so forth, everything has had to be put on hold because our industry has been in absolute disarray.

“So the good thing is at least there is recorded music to put out into the world. And some of it was refined and finished in lockdown but I would say 80% of the album was done before COVID struck. So I would say that was really… a great blessing because we collaborated with lots of different artists on this album, which would have been much harder to do had we been in a lockdown situation for the last couple of years.”

Sister Bliss of Faithless
Sister Bliss said it had been a ‘challenging’ year to release an album

The musician and DJ says she writes a lot of music on her own, but there is “an energy” that comes from being in the same space as other artists that cannot be replicated.

“Writing a song is quite a vulnerable process,” she says. “You’re showing somebody you don’t know very well something quite intimate about yourself, if you’re writing the kind of songs that you want to connect and have some kind of meaning in the world, which is what we try and do with Faithless.

“So if you’re doing that with someone you’ve known for many, many years, it’s part of a conversation and your relationship. But working with new artists, being in the same room, there is this tangible energy and there’s this alchemy that happens when you talk or you ask what they think about something, their opinion, relationships they have. And from that, inspiration comes.

“So for me personally, being in the same room, especially with vocalists, singers, spoken word artists, rappers, the kind of people we collaborated with on this album, it was really important.”

All Blessed, by Faithless, is out now

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Backstage podcast: Truth Seekers, His House and Shirley | Ents & Arts News

This week… it’s CREEPY.

We chat about Truth Seekers and Scare Me, and figure out whether they were scary enough for our liking.

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We have a bit a fright with Netflix’s His House, and Claire gets called “smart” by Elisabeth Moss (or was it a figment of her imagination? Who knows!) in discussing the not-quite-biographical film Shirley.

Find out if it was a ghoul or goblin whispering in her ear by joining us!

Enjoy! Please do subscribe if you like what you hear and do get in touch using – we love emails!

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Bobby Ball: Cannon & Ball star dies aged 76 after testing positive for COVID-19 | Ents & Arts News

Bobby Ball, one half of comedy double act Cannon & Ball, has died at the age of 76 after testing positive for COVID-19, his manager has said.

A statement on behalf of Ball’s wife Yvonne, his family and his long-time comedy partner Tommy Cannon said he passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Wednesday evening at around 9.30pm.

The statement from Ball’s manager Phil Dale said: “Bobby had been taken to the hospital for tests as he started with breathing problems. At first it was thought to be a chest infection but a test proved positive for Covid-19.

“His wife Yvonne said the hospital and staff could not have been more wonderful, as they were outstanding in their care of duty and they did everything possible for him and she cannot praise them enough.

“She said that the family and Tommy would like to express their sincere thanks to the many, many people who have been fans of Bobby and they know that they will all share in part the great loss and total sadness that Yvonne, the family and Tommy all feel.

“Yvonne added that their need for privacy at this time has to be a priority. No further announcements or statements will be made.”

Echoing one of Ball’s famous catchphrases – “Rock on Tommy!” – Cannon, who first teamed up with Ball in the early 1960s, said: “Rock on, my good friend, I can’t believe this, I’m devastated.”

The comedy legends had been planning four nights of festive comedy at Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion in the run-up to Christmas, after their pantomime date at Crewe was postponed.

Fellow comedians including Les Dennis and Jason Manford paid tribute to Ball, with Dennis tweeting: “Just heard the sad news that the wonderful Bobby Ball has died. He was a true entertainer with real funny bones.”

Manford wrote: “So heartbroken to read about the passing of comedy legend Bobby Ball. Such a hilarious man. The comedy community is a poorer place without him. #RockOn #RIPBobbyBall”.

Actor Shane Richie paid an emotional tribute, writing on Twitter: “35yrs ago my hero became my friend. You always knew when Bobby was in the room, he could make you laugh & cry with just a look. The biggest heart & warmest smile that filled stages everywhere. I loved you Bobby Ball and I always will ,Truly truly one of a kind . Sleep well cocker!”

While singer Robbie Williams wrote: “God bless you Bobby Ball. Thank you for the memories and the laughter. RIP.”

Born Robert Harper on 28 January 1944, Ball found fame on the The Cannon & Ball Show opposite his lifelong friend and fellow comic Tommy Cannon.

The pair first met while working as welders, but their comedy took them from the factory floor to the TV studio, with their primetime Saturday night ITV show successfully running from 1979 to 1988.

They also starred in the 1982 film The Boys in Blue in which they played bungling police officers, and the 1988 movie Mr H Is Late alongside Eric Sykes.

Ball went on to appear in TV series including Last Of The Summer Wine, Heartbeat, Mount Pleasant, Benidorm, The Cockfields and Not Going Out where he had played Lee Mack’s deadbeat dad Frank since 2009.

Cannon & Ball also appeared on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2005.

Whetting his appetite for reality TV, Ball went on to compete in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special in 2012.

In 1986 Ball became a born-again Christian, and was followed into the faith by Cannon six years later. The pair credited their conversion with bringing them back together again as friends and performers.

A patron of the local NHS charity Blue Skies, Ball had recently raised £30,000 towards the development of the dementia garden at his local Clifton Hospital, in Lytham, Lancashire.

Speaking about her husband of 46-years, Yvonne said: “I will always miss him, he was so joyful, full of fun and mischievous.”

His manger, Dale, said: “Bobby was a true comedy star who loved entertaining people and he loved life itself. I spoke to him every day and it would always end in laughter.”

Ball is survived by two sons from his first wife, Robert and Darren, his daughter Joanne,10 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

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Tracey Emin: Artist reveals cancer diagnosis and stoma surgery | Ents & Arts News

Tracey Emin has revealed she was diagnosed with cancer and had a stoma operation earlier this year.

In a new interview, the British artist said she had “half my body chopped out, including half my vagina” after being diagnosed during lockdown.

Speaking to art market news site Artnet, the 57-year-old said she had been working on a painting of a malignant lump before the growth on her bladder was discovered.

Tracey Emin is perhaps best known for My Bed, which was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1999

She said: “It’s exactly the same as my bladder with the tumour in it, before I knew I had the cancer – it’s brilliant!”

Emin underwent an operation in the summer, having some of her reproductive organs removed and a stoma pouch fitted.

She is now in remission.

However, she said one of most frustrating things about her illness is that she has not been able to paint since her treatment.

“It feels like I only really got going in the last five years, that I started to understand what I am doing and what I am painting for,” she said. “Yesterday, I was crying because I wanted to paint and I didn’t have the energy to do it.”

Emin is one of the most well-known British artists of her generation, famous for her work My Bed – a notorious installation that included empty vodka bottles, cigarette butts, stained sheets and used underwear – that was shortlsted for the Turner Prize in 1999.

She was one of the so-called Young British Artists who emerged in the 1990s, along with Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas.

Her latest exhibition, Detail Of Love, opens on 30 October and runs until 19 December at the two Xavier Hufkens art galleries in Brussels.

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Coronavirus has proved people who went to Eton can’t run the country, Danny Dyer says | Ents & Arts News

The coronavirus pandemic has proved that “people who went to Eton” are unable to run the country, the actor Danny Dyer has said.

The EastEnders star said the “little group” who attended the Windsor boarding school have had their chance in power and it is time for “working-class people” to take over.

The 43-year-old said people who “have lived a real life” and are “in touch with what’s going on” should be given responsibility for how the UK is run.

‘People who went to Eton can’t run this country,’ Danny Dyer says. File pic

Appearing on BBC Breakfast alongside his daughter Dani, Dyer was asked how easy he was finding it to obey COVID-19 restrictions.

He said: “It’s very confusing. It’s almost perfect to break rules really because it is hard to understand what the rules are. Just keep them simple and then people will abide by it.

“We want to get out of this as quickly as possible but as confusing as it is, it just makes it so difficult.

“My one rant would be that we must learn now that the people who went to Eton can’t run this country.

“They’ve done it, they’ve tried to do it and this little small group who all went to the same school in the same class, it doesn’t work.

“So I feel we need some working-class people, people who have lived a real life, people that are in touch with what’s going on in reality, to maybe come to the front now and start to get involved in how this country is run.”

Prime Minister David Cameron watches as Mayor of London Boris Johnson speaks during a campaign event at Grey Court School in Richmond, London.
Several former prime ministers went to Eton

Eton College counts Prime Minister Boris Johnson, former PM David Cameron and MP Jacob Rees-Mogg among its former students.

In 2019, research found that nearly two-thirds of Mr Johnson’s cabinet were privately educated – twice as high as Theresa May’s 2016 cabinet.

Asked whether he would ever go into politics full-time, Dyer said: “No, darling, I’m too busy.

“I have got a game show on at the moment, I’ve got another podcast with my daughter, and of course I am in the greatest soap that has ever been, so I am all right for the minute.

“So let’s just watch the government unravel themselves, I think.

“Let’s just try and stay safe and try and not catch this thing, and on the other side I’m sure we are all going to be better, stronger, more considerate people for it.”

The father-daughter duo appeared on the show to promote their unscripted Spotify Original podcast, Sorted With The Dyers.

Dyer previously shared his views on politics on the talk show Good Evening Britain in June 2018.

During that appearance, Dyer labelled Mr Cameron a “t***” for calling the EU referendum.

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Elisabeth Moss: ‘Women are so afraid to be in a bad mood’ | Ents & Arts News

Elisabeth Moss has a history of playing women who fight back against the male-dominated environments they find themselves in.

Fans of Mad Men will remember her as Peggy, the first female writer at the ad firm the series is set around, while millions also know her as June – the handmaid desperate to escape in the TV adaption of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale.

The actress’s latest role sees her playing another woman trying to make her way in a man’s world; the late horror author Shirley Jackson, known for writing The Haunting of Hill House and The Lottery.

Odessa Young plays a young, pregnant woman who goes to live with Shirley, along with her husband
Michael Stuhlbarg and Elisabeth Moss in Shirley
Michael Stuhlbarg also stars alongside Moss and Young, as Shirley’s husband

Moss tells Sky News she was inspired by the real-life writer, who was known for her quick wit and sharp tongue.

“Sometimes I feel like we as women are so afraid to be in a bad mood or not like something and be vocal about it,” she says. “And [playing Shirley] did make me a bit braver.

“I mean, I’ve always been that way, I’ve never had too much of a problem with that, but it did absolutely embolden me a bit.”

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Elisabeth Moss’ new role ’emboldened’ her

Moss says she was drawn to the character as soon as she read the script for the film.

“I didn’t know much about Shirley, but I loved this woman who was so smart and so complicated and so honest,” she says.

“And I felt like there was this big part of her that I felt was inside of me as well, and inside of all women as well.

“That part of you that says, ‘I want to say the really smart but kind of bitchy thing, but I’m not supposed to’ – and Shirley just says it, and I loved that so much.”

Elisabeth Moss in Shirley
While Jackson is a real-life character, the film’s storyline is fictionalised

While the woman is real, the story the film tells is fictionalised – the author, suffering from writer’s block, and her husband invite a young couple to their home – but begin to drive them apart.

Despite Moss seemingly being drawn to the literary world, she says it is only coincidence that has led to her playing the author, as well as writer Peggy, and June, who works in publishing.

“I have never, ever made that connection,” she says. “It’s interesting because the one thing I feel like I can’t really do is write – I can give notes and I can rewrite, but I don’t think I could start from scratch.

“So maybe that’s it – maybe I just like to play something that I can’t do.”

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While Shirley is getting a cinema release in the UK, in the US it went straight to on-demand due to the pandemic.

But despite the impact coronavirus is having on the the entertainment industry, Moss is optimistic about the future, and even curious to see what its effects will be on the art that comes out of it.

“I think the arts are very, very, very important, and I think we know that and I think we feel that,” she says.

“I’m always interested in what will come out of this in art – what films will be made, what music, what paintings – what will come out of the experience that we’ve had in 2020.”

“I’m also back at work, so I’m obviously feeling optimistic about there being things to watch and things to do.

“I think that art has a way of surviving, and I believe in it.”

Shirley is out in cinemas in the UK on 30 October

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