Acid test for new Culture Minister
With each new Culture Minister comes a new set of paintings to furnish the office, chosen by the latest incumbent from the vaults of the Government art collection. Ben Bradshaw revealed the names of the six paintings he has just picked to hang on his walls, one of which suggests a sneaky love of acid house. The screenprint, by the radical Turner Prize winner, Jeremy Deller (best known for his work "Battle of Orgreave", a recreation of a violent clash between police and picketers during the miners' strike in 1984) is called "History of the World" and traces the links between the acid-house scene of the late 1980s and traditional brass bands, as well as taking in themes of de-industrialisation, the miners' strike and press hysteria over ecstasy. Effusing over Deller's artwork, Bradshaw said: "This piece says a lot to me. It makes clear the connection between music and politics, which has always been important to me personally, to my political beliefs and musical tastes." He also chose a view of Polpeor Cove on The Lizard in Cornwall, by John Brett, because, "I really wanted a West Country seascape, having spent all my childhood holidays by the sea in Devon".
The Irish man-band Boyzone, who are set to perform a gig in Somerset this weekend, are rumoured to be staying at the nearby Swan Hotel on the night of their concert at the Big Gig Weekend in Shepton Mallet. It is unclear if any of the "boys" will be staying in room 42 of the 14th-century hotel, which is, according to a source, supposed to be haunted. The band recently starred in a 'Britain's Most Haunted' two-hour special for ITV2 with Louis Walsh, in which they investigated the ghosts of Edinburgh.
Words of war
The artist, Krzysztof Wodiczko, launched his hard-hitting work, War Veterans Vehicle, with a bang yesterday. He projected the words of Iraq and Afghanistan ex-war vets across Liverpool's landmarks accompanied by audio recordings of the interviews played through a PA system on the street. One vet's stark words said: "Think before you sign up. It's not as rosy as you think. You will fight other people's wars. Within one second, here today gone tomorrow. So simple. So sad. You can be shot."
Bats, spiders, Pizza and naked models
Ryan McGinley, the formerly Marc Jacobs model-turned-photographer who is part of the Kate Moss/Stella McCartney "party" set, was this week in conversation with the actress Tilda Swinton (who stars in his first piece of film art) about his new show, Moonmilk, consisting of images of nude figures, theatrically lit and inside the caves of North America. McGinley explained to Swinton that the process was part of a road trip across North America and it was, he vowed, "extremely gruelling", with the crew and models sleeping inside caves filled with bats, confronting giant cave spiders, and as respite, ordering Dominos Pizza and Budweiser – delivered to the cave. The results of McGinley's boy's own adventure are there to see at Alison Jacques Gallery until 8 October. It depicts huge underground caves... and fashionable nudes.
The music that led Obama to power
Just when we thought Obama fever was dying down, the writer and critic Bonnie Greer is set to publish her latest book 'Obama Music' on 31 October, in which she recalls, through tunes, the culture that influenced Obama's call to presidency, the fight for equality by American educational institutions and her own experiences growing up on the South Side of Chicago. The publisher, Legend Press, noted that "the book is an interpretation of Obama through the culture and music that he chose to make his base". The book takes in hip-hop, country, classical and rock'n'roll, all of whichwere heard on Inauguration Day, and also covers blues, gospel, soul and jazz.