The Saturday miscellany: Missy Elliot vs MIA; Johnny Depp; Open East; Thomas Scheibitz


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The Independent Culture

Culture clash: Female rappers

Missy Elliot vs MIA

By Gillian Orr

Missy Elliott overcame a youth blighted by poverty and abuse – and music world concerns that she wasn't bootylicious enough – to contribute a plethora of hits to hip-hop's canon ("Work It", "Get Ur Freak On"), while never relinquishing her beloved tracksuits, despite being in an industry that worships bare flesh.

MIA gained prominence by appearing at the 2009 Grammys, heavily pregnant, in a sheer dress with just three circles to preserve her modesty. She's created controversial videos (but you'll be hard pushed to name any of her songs besides "Paper Planes"; what was that ginger kids video again?). Also published an overpriced "art" book resembling the scrawlings of a child ODing on ADHD meds. Aside from a cringey Gap ad, Missy has spared us such embarrassments.

Winner: Missy Elliot

The deleted emails of... Johnny Depp (as read by John Walsh)

Sent: 10 July 2013
Subject: prickings of conscience

Jerry, Listen, I know it's kinda late to be bringing this up but – my character Tonto. I been thinking. I'm playing an American Indian, sorry Native American, as a comic turn, with raggedy trousers, stony face and a stuffed crow on my head? You got one of your assistants to watch Pirates of the Caribbean for you – you know how this trick goes.

But it just occurred to me: you don't think it might be seen as a tad... racist? Not to mention that I'm made up with white facepaint and black streaks.

Did you even SEE the TV show? Jay Silverheels, in fringed jacket, brilliantine and cool headband, looked like P fucking Diddy! And he was a Real Mohawk not a Kentucky White Guy!

Is it too late to have a word with Wardrobe? And Make-up? And Hair?

Love JD

Instant ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. A friend once told me the name she'd like to call her first-born. I'm now pregnant, can I steal it?

A. I can see your point of view; Judas is a lovely name, after all. Faux-innocently suggest the name and see if she protests. If you're lucky, she'll have forgotten it was her idea first.



By Charlie Cooper


Queen Elizabeth Olympic park will play host to Open East, a food and arts festival, on the anniversary of the Games. 27–28 July,


The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead hosts an exhibition by German artist Thomas Scheibitz. 26 July–3 November,


Travel in comfort with this handmade cashmere pillow and silk-trimmed eye mask by Armand Diradourian. £185,

Indy Index

By Liam O'Brien

Nasa’s rover on Mars, Curiosity, is finally making its way to Mount Sharp to see if there was water on the red planet. It’s travelling at 40 metres per day.

Mount Sharp is 8km away, meaning it’s going to take 200 days – probably more – for Curiosity to reach it.

The rover, which is around the size of a car, cost $2.5bn to build, including development costs.

Nasa’s yearly budget is $17.7bn. In real terms, that’s around half of what it was in 1965 during the space race.

The UK space industry recorded a turnover of £9.1bn in 2010/11 and supports 30,000 jobs.

Major Tim Peake, 41, from Chichester, will become Britain’s first astronaut for two decades when he visits the International Space Station in 2015. He was picked as one of six astronauts from a possible 8,000.

Major Tim’s selection is thought to have been aided by a timely £16m donation by Britain to the European Space Agency in Paris.

Helen Sharman, a chemist for the Mars chocolate company, became the UK’s first astronaut in 1991.

North Korea launched a 200lb surveillance satellite into space last year. Within a week it was tumbling out of control and “most likely dead”.

Richard Branson is set to begin commercial spaceflights late this year. Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher have already paid their $250,000 deposits to Virgin Galactic.

In 2001, Dennis Tito from California became the first space tourist, paying £14m for an eight-day stay at the International Space Station.


- Curiosity Mars rover hits the road, BBC

- Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity, NASA

- Nasa budgets: US spending on space travel since 1958 UPDATED, The Guardian

- Space spending to be increased by £60m a year, BBC, Cabinet Office

- UK astronaut Tim Peake 'thrilled' at space opportunity, BBC, Daily Mail

- 'Don't forget to look out of the window': Britain's first astronaut Helen Sharman's advice to Major Tim Peake, The Independent

- 2001: First space tourist blasts off, BBC