Arts Diary

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I AM pleased to be able to offer help and advice to the music industry. It emerged this week that problems have arisen with the plan by record companies to stage a "Summer Brits" in Manchester. The two-day event will raise money for the Government's Youth Music Trust scheme to provide more music education and instruments in schools, but now some promoters don't want to release their artists until tickets for their own tours are sold. The pop impresario Pete Waterman, who is handling part of the event, says: "If we can't put ourselves out for this, then we shouldn't be in the business."

But there is a way out. Why don't the record companies simply donate money from their massive profits to the scheme? They could easily top the pounds 10m already given by the National Lottery. Indeed, it's a little hard to understand how exactly the record companies are being charitable. The public will spend money to buy tickets; the record companies' acts will get masses of free publicity. It's a curious kind of philanthropy. The best way of giving money remains... giving money.

ANOTHER DAY, another awards ceremony, another lifetime achievement award. This week saw the Rudolph Valentino awards for lifetime achievement in cinema. They are sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of Italy but were presented in London at a dinner hosted by Griff Rhys Jones and Rory Bremner. Well, they probably take their holidays in Italy. The lifetime achievers were Jeremy Irons, Claudia Cardinale and Bernardo Bertolucci, who have a fair few movies between them. But take a glance at some of the others on the shortlist: Daniel Day-Lewis, Ewan McGregor and Kristin Scott Thomas. They have some great performances to their credit. But surely you have to be at least into middle age before celebrating a lifetime's work. Or is the award fast becoming just another way of getting glamorous and photogenic stars to turn up at the ceremony?

ARTSPEAK WORD of the week has to be "festival". There was a time when companies put on productions, shows, operas, concerts. How unadventurous all those words now sound. The RSC's new brochure announces its "summer festival season"; the Royal Opera House announces that the House will reopen with a "festival" of opera, ballet and concerts. Hard to see how the festival differs from the ROH's usual practice of putting on operas, ballets and concerts. But if artspeak can sell tickets, don't knock it.

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