How to apologise for just about everything (with a 'Sorry!' coin of course)

The Royal Mint has asked members of the public to design the 'tails side' of its new £1 coin

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The Independent Online

A sting in the tail

In case you missed it, earlier this year the Royal Mint announced that it was running a competition for members of the public to design the “tails side” of its new £1 coin (to be introduced in 2017).

Entries must be in by this Thursday and the Mint suggests only that any design “represents Britain in a clear and unambiguous way”.

But while you still have time to enter, might we point out that there really is little reason to because Declan and Garech Stone, the brains behind the Amsterdam-based Stone Twins advertising agency, have surely nailed it. The Irish brothers’ “Sorry!” coin, is, in their own words, “intimate but powerful” and “can be seen as a currency of empathy”.

But what precisely is it apologising for? Well, along with a long list that includes “the outrages of the colonial era, the slave trade, India, Iraq and Afghanistan …”, Declan points out that “it could also be a reference to the tragedy of personal debt for many UK citizens – never mind the music of James Blunt or the export of the Pop Idol TV format”. And what would the pair do with the £10,000 prize money should they win (which they accept they don’t stand a hope in hell’s chance of doing)? “No idea,” Declan says, “maybe we’ll put it in our mattress and sleep on it.”

Justice for Jimi

Among the quotes on the poster for the film Jimi: All is By My Side (which opened yesterday), one, from Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, reads: “I can’t think of a better way to honour Hendrix’s genius.” 

Others, though, clearly disagree – a fact that becomes all too clear if you read the Facebook page of Kathy Etchingham, who dated Hendrix (top right) on and off from the day he arrived in London in 1966 until a year before his death in 1970. Though Etchingham has many complaints about the film’s overall accuracy, the biopic’s most contentious scenes show Hendrix as a man prone to violence against women.

Debby Stander, a former friend of the couple, writes on her Facebook page: “The director, John Ridley, has taken some unpardonable liberties with the way he has depicted Jimi. He shows him beating Kathy senseless in one scene and knocking her to the ground in another. None of which ever happened!”

In an open letter to Etchingham, Stander further states: “Jimi was a prince of a man. You will hear the same thing over and over from women who knew him. So how does Mr Ridley get to decide that one of the impressions people will take away from his film is that he was abusive?”

How did Ridley get away with it? The same way he continued making his biopic after being refused permission to use any of the musician’s songs by the Hendrix estate in 2012, presumably.

Punk really is dead

Is rebellion an outmoded concept (see D J Taylor, page 40)? Perhaps. But one thing is for sure: when the below-the-line comments make more sense than the above-the-line content, you know the world is in trouble. I mention this because the “assistant digital editor” of Martha Stewart Living wrote a piece recently with the headline “Rock on! How to throw a punk rock inspired party”.

Reacting to the many beyond-satire ideas (“string up punk-inspired garlands – think plaid, safety pins and shiny gold” or “serve snacks in a full-on nosh pit”), one commenter posts: “Everything subversive dies a little when Martha comes into contact with it. Please stick to all things white bread in the future.” Or as John “still angry” Lydon would never put it, God Save the Cupcake Queen.

Not so sweet

Quick! Turn off the lights and hide. It’s Halloween soon and, if a letter sent to Slate magazine last week is to be believed, that means it’s the time when poor kids from the wrong side of the tracks will come knocking on your door asking for sweets. Alternatively, perish the thought, you could just buy a big bag of Haribo and enjoy the breaking down of social barriers.

Guts and glory

It is described as “the ultimate bog book” and the “antidote to glossy food magazines”. It is “food artists” Bompas and Parr’s republication of the 1853 book Memoirs of a Stomach (left) interspersed with pill-cam photos of the insides of glamorous food writer and chef Gizzi Erskine. “Looking at the route my own food takes inside my body made me realise how little we all comprehend about its journey beyond the plate,” Erskine says of her lesser-seen (in)side.

And if that sounds like something you can stomach, the book is published just in time for the Christmas rush in a numbered limited edition, priced £90.

No rhyme or reason

Another in a regular series of limericks based on recent events:

Thanks to the PC brigade,

And the powers they have to persuade,

The “Ukip Calypso”,

Which should win a Mobo,

Will likely now never get played.

Twitter: @simmyrichman

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