culture in Brief

The comeback mouse

MICKEY MOUSE will star this weekend in the world premiere of his first cartoon short since 1953. The rodent who helped to launch an entertainment empire made his big comeback yesterday in the 7 1/2-minute Mickey's New Car on American channel ABC. The Mickey "look" - red shorts, yellow shoes, bright eyes and big smile - has changed little in 46 years. "We didn't want to have a knee-jerk reaction and try to make him a 'hip' Mickey," either in style or tone, said executive producer Robert Gannaway. "These cartoons are full of good old physical gags, but with a few more contemporary props."

Fiennes favoured for Razzy

THE SPICE girls squared up to Godzilla and Armageddon in the battle for the worst film of 1998 when the Golden Raspberry nominations for Hollywood's most loathsome annual achievements were announced. John Wilson, the founder of the "Razzies", said the 19th annual list represented a new low for film making, the "worst movie-going year ever". Accordingly, he created a new category to celebrate the worst trends in recent films, including: "Gidgets and Geezers" - 58-year-old men wooing 28-year-old leading ladies, "If You've Seen the Trailer Why Bother to See the Movie" - previews that give away the film's entire plot and "30 Minutes of Story Conveyed in Less than 3 Hours" - longer movies, shorter plots. The award ceremony will be on 20 March, the day before the Oscars. Spice World garnered six nominations, including worst actress and worst new star for the entire five-member group, worst screenplay, worst original song and worst screen couple, which for Spice World was defined as "any combination of two characters, body parts or fashion accessories". The verdict in brief: "a five-member girl group with the talent of one bad actress between them". Bruce Willis was nominated for worst actor for his roles in Armaggedon, Mercury Rising and The Siege, but the smart money is on Ralph Fiennes for his dubious achievements in The Avengers.

The age of the ghost

ACCORDING TO researchers for the Fortean Times Weirdness Index, which specialises in tales of the bizarre, there has been a marked rise in paranormal and weird activity as the millennium approaches. Its report concludes that the world was 4.1 per cent weirder in 1998 than in 1997. Weirdness in the paranormal world was up by a "staggering" 8 per cent on 1997, with the number of weeping statues, prophecies, apparitions and UFO encounters reaching epidemic proportions. "Last year was by far the strangest year since our records began," said Fortean Times associate editor Joe McNally. "As we approach the year 2000 we're seeing unprecedented interest in the paranormal world." Humans themselves are also getting weirder, with ineptitude, stupidity, hoaxes, and cult activity up some 6.5 per cent. 1998 reports included: A 12-year-old from North Carolina, reputed to work miracles despite being in a coma since the age of three; a woman in Merthyr Tydfil who was accidentally abandoned by her acupuncturist in mid-treatment, and spent several hours locked in a surgery covered in needles; and a leap in the number of poltergeists reported in the Australian town of Humpty Doo.

Recaptured youth

BLONDIE, FRONTED by former Playboy Bunny Debbie Harry, returned to the top of the hit parade last Tuesday with the first record it has made in 17 years. Overjoyed at the group's revival, the singer who launched a million schoolboy fantasies in the 1970s said: "I want to recapture my youth, jerk around in front of thousands of people and make money of course." Responding to critics of her current, more ample figure, Harry said, "I always felt I could sing better when there was more meat on me." Blondie enjoyed huge success at the end of the Seventies with a string of five number-one hits and worldwide album sales of at least 40 million. The band split up when Harry left for three years to care for her lover and fellow band-member Chris Stein, who developed a near-fatal skin condition.

We are trying to connect you

THE BRITISH Journal of Psychology reports that the music on telephone answering machines conveys an image that could help companies to boost business. A survey of 103 people showed that most preferred to listen to the Beatles, though they thought almost any melody was better than a recorded message telling them to hold. If callers liked the music, they held on for up to 20 per cent longer than normal and had a better image of the company. Even piped, muzak versions of Beatles hits were judged preferable to the recorded message, which might leave one mystified as to the identity of the "annoying" tunes the report warns against.

Hitler's film-maker defiant

LENI RIEFENSTAHL, 96, once Hitler's favourite film-maker and one of the last surviving personalities of the Third Reich, took the opportunity of a rare news conference at an exhibition of her work in Potsdam to rebut her reputation as a Nazi propagandist. She has long refused to apologise for work she did during Hitler's rule. "It was a completely different time," she said. "There wasn't information about the horrible things that we learned about after the war. It wasn't imaginable." Her film Triumph of the Will documented the 1934 Nuremberg Rally and depicted Hitler addressing cheering crowds. Riefenstahl, however, described the event as "boring". "Making a documentary film was like a punishment for me," she said. "I was a passionate actress and wanted to get better roles. But then I saw that I had the talent of making interesting documentaries out of minimal content." For the record, she continued, "Abroad, no one was interested in these seven months that I worked for Hitler. People were only interested in my films, my work, how I did it as a woman, the techniques I developed that some cameramen are still learning from. Not, 'Did she have an affair with Hitler?' That was all nonsense."

Polished brass plates

British solicitors may be able to drop the PR men recently hired to improve their image. The American Bar Association's reports that hit television shows such as Ally McBeal are already doing the impossible - turning lawyers into likeable, competent characters. Michael Asimow, author of Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies, said a study of people who used to watch the series L.A. Law showed they had consequently developed a more favourable opinion of lawyers. He said lawyers were portrayed far more positively on television than in the movies, where, particularly since the Eighties, they had been depicted as "slime bags". Their British cousins should, however, heed researchers Stephen Daniels and Joanne Martin's warning against aggressive advertising. "Aggressive advertisers are called 'scum', 'bottom feeders', 'incompetents' and worse," they wrote.

Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson on stage

film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
art

‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us