Backstage: Luke Blackall

Bryan Adams’ book 'Wounded: The Legacy of War' shows the silent legacy of conflict


There is a rich history of popular musicians campaigning against war. Bryan Adams, the Canadian musician and photographer, has taken a unique approach to conflict, having created a book, Wounded: The Legacy of War, featuring a series of photographs of servicemen and women who “cheated death” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It doesn’t matter what I think about the wars that happened,” he tells me. “Even if I had protested, who would have listened? No one. One million people went to the streets of London to protest against the invasion of Iraq, and who listened to them?”

His main hope for the portraits, which will be shown as an exhibition next year, was to raise awareness of the plight of injured personnel.

“My hope is that the photographs will convey what words cannot as they reflect the true realities of the wars we’ve been in,” he says.

“Forgetting about these people doesn’t teach us anything, and I hope when people read the stories, it will help to break down the barriers and stigmas that often prevent serving personnel and veterans from seeking help. They, like the innocent people that were caught in these conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, mustn’t be forgotten.”

Adams says that working on the book, which was launched this week with a party at the National Portrait Gallery, was difficult.

“I worked with many different types of people with many different types of injuries, some that couldn’t speak properly, others that had limbs blown off,” he says. “Others had been burnt alive and one that had been shot in the face… yes, it was very hard sometimes.”

Proceeds from the book will go to a range of charities including Blind Veterans UK, Combat Stress, BLESMA, SSAFA and War Child.

Lady Gaga ditches psychiatry and complains to a tree instead

Could A-listers ditching their psychiatrists for art therapy become a new trend? I only ask after performance artist Marina Abramovic has revealed she was the person Lady Gaga turned regain “her centre”.

“She was losing her centre with the pressure of everything around her,” Abramovic says. “She doesn’t believe in doctors and therapists, so she reached out to an artist to help her.”

The artist’s approach was to teach her The Abramovic Method. “I gave her one pound of rice and one pound of lentil seeds,” she tells “You mix them together, and then you divide them and count each one. She did this for four hours. Other exercises are drinking water slowly and consciously, walking with your eyes closed, sitting in nature and listening to the sound of water. Another one is hugging a tree and complaining for fifteen minutes.”

Living wage row hits Curzon cinemas

Support for The Curzon Workers’ Party, the campaign group of employees of the Curzon cinema chain, has started to affect the company’s film programme.

The group, which is calling for the “living wage” and company recognition of the union BECTU, has been boosted by the decision of independent producer Stanley Schtinter who has pulled his film In a Lonely Place, from being shown at the Curzon Soho as part of the 70x70 film season in December. Schtinter says he was a fan of the cinemas, but felt compelled to act. “To proceed with this event would be to tacitly endorse the current policies of Curzon,” he says.

Performers’ union Equity has also lent its support and this week campaigning comedian Mark Thomas held a protest by rearranging the letters showing on the display at the Curzon Soho,  to read “Give us Fair Pay, Recognise the Union”.

Uncomfortable viewing for some in management, perhaps?

McTour odds on to be a big Bust

Pity the poor (not so) young chaps of McFly and Busted. No sooner had the two boybands with guitars announced a new tour as “McBusted” (yes, really) earlier this week, than their detractors sprang into action. Boylesports, a bookmakers, was offering punters odds of just 2/1 that the tour would have to be cancelled due to insufficient demand for tickets.

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