The Arts: Quo, Hytner and Hambling top culture list
Thursday 31 December 2009
Two ageing Sixties rockers, whose much-parodied rock band, Status Quo, is said to have been the inspiration for the classic spoof documentary This is Spinal Tap, have been awarded OBEs for their charity gigs.
Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi performed in the first Prince's Trust concert in 1982, and were the opening act of the 1985 Live Aid concert – though it has since been said they could barely recall being on stage due to the quantities of alcohol and drugs they were consuming at the time.
Now in their sixties, both musicians said yesterday that, after more than 40 years since their first top 10 hit single, "Pictures of Matchstick Men", they had almost given up hope of formal recognition, although the number of live performances they still put on makes them one of the hardest-working bands in the UK.
Rossi, 60, said: "Us, of all people! I'm not sure that we deserve it. You hear about people refusing them because it's not rock'n'roll, but that's a dickhead approach. My partner [Parfitt] is even more excited about it – he's probably blubbing."
Parfitt, 61, added: "With all the hard work we have put in over the years, I accept it graciously. I do think we deserve it."
Patrick Stewart, the Shakespearean actor best known as Star Trek's Jean-Luc Picard, is possibly the most famous name in the New Year Honours List. The actor, who has given more than £100,000 to the Labour Party, is knighted for services to drama.
There is also a knighthood for Nicholas Hytner, the director of the National Theatre, who brought Alan Bennett's The History Boys to both the stage and the screen. He also directed a stage adaptation of Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials.
A CBE was awarded to Channel 4's film controller, Tessa Ross, who was instrumental in bringing Slumdog Millionaire to the big screen. Ross has been behind numerous successful movies, including the recent release Nowhere Boy, and is seen by many as a mother figure to the UK movie industry.
As head of Film4, she has helped to fund and nurture some of the UK's most acclaimed and popular films of the past few years, including The Last King of Scotland, This Is England and The Motorcycle Diaries. She said yesterday: "I'm really honoured to have been recognised in this way – it's a huge encouragement to do more and to do better, though of course it's always the work, and the people that make it, that I feel deserve the real praise."
Maggi Hambling, 64, the sculptress who is said to be "the female Francis Bacon", joked yesterday that her CBE was a reward for her Scallop sculpture on Aldeburgh beach in Suffolk. The 12-foot seashell was erected to commemorate Benjamin Britten, but local residents have complained that it is an eyesore. It has been repeatedly vandalised and daubed with slogans demanding its removal.
There was also a CBE for one of the grand dames of the theatre, Margaret Tyzack, who first found fame in her role in the 1967 television adaptation of The Forsyte Saga. She won her most recent award in March for her role as Mrs St Maugham in the 1955 play The Chalk Garden by Enid Bagnold.
Phyllida Lloyd, the director of the Mamma Mia! film and stage musical, also received a CBE. She said: "I hope the Queen is a fan of Mamma Mia! I know Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are fans. They came [to the musical]. It was a very festive night."
An OBE was also given to the Glasgow-born composer Craig Armstrong, 50, who created the scores to films including Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge! and Love Actually. An MBE was awarded to The Shadows' bassist, Jet Harris, 70, who performed on Cliff Richard's hit "Living Doll".
The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action
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