If you don't ask...
A crowd protest appears to have been closely averted at the Womad World Music Festival. When Ska Cubano, a popular Cuban band, left the stage after a storming evening session, the audience booed and hissed until they returned for an encore, despite being informed that the evening had come to an end by the long-standing Radio 3 presenter Lucy Duran. She tells me she can't remember a more exuberant audience in the history of the Radio 3 stage at the festival: "It was 11.55pm when the band left the stage. The crowd had been so packed that there wasn't a space left. We had to close down the sound by midnight. We had to be silent by then – I had been told by the stage manager that there was to be no encore. She was adamant. I went on stage to tell the audience. I got on the stage and they hollered and booed until finally the stage manager got on the phone and got agreement for an encore. All the while, the crowd was heckling. I've never seen it like that before. When we finally got the thumbs up, I went out and told them 'You've won!'"
For adult eyes only
Book reviewers should expect a brown paper package to land on their doormats imminently. Inside, they will find the X-rated (and elaborately illustrated) biography of the late, legendary publisher Paul Raymond, otherwise known as the "King of Soho", who made his fortune from pornographic magazines and Britain's first strip club, Raymond Revuebar, in the heart of Soho, which was packed out most nights with showgirls and punters in its 1960s heyday (it still stands today as a cabaret bar). Raymond, who owned several major erotic magazines including Razzle, Men Only and Mayfair, is the subject of a new biography, Members Only: The Life and Times of Paul Raymond by Paul Willetts, to be published on 2 September. A source at the publishing house Serpent's Tail tells me that the idea to send the book in a brown paper bag, to circumvent any offence to the national media, came from the writer himself, who has previously written a biography of the novelist Julian Maclaren-Ross. The brown paper bags apparently arrived at Serpent's Tail this week and the review copies will be dispatched next week. The launch party on 20 September sounds fairly racy, too: there are to be "fan dancers" as well as other surprises. Po-faced invitees, you have been warned.
Even sculptures need friends
A giant sculpture got its very own Facebook page this week. The commissioning body behind the Cumbernauld sculpture, a 10m steel artwork in the shape of a female figure, has urged fans worldwide, including former residents of the Lanarkshire town, to show their support for the project. Andy Scott, the artist, has been working on the £250,000 artwork since September 2009. It will be unveiled later this summer, and it will overlook the A80 northbound. Its Facebook profile will enable the public to view photographs of it being built.
All that jazz
Ronnie Scott's is bringing out its own radio station with a difference this summer. Simon Cooke, the jazz club's MD, says they will play whole albums – "not something that radios usually do". The albums will be played "across six shows" to celebrate the ground-breaking music produced in 1959, a year of revolutionary jazz records coinciding with the year the club was founded. The airings will include Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, which has been hailed by critics as "the one jazz record owned by people who don't listen to jazz", and John Coltrane's "legendary" Giant Steps. The radio station will also broadcast the Brit Jazz Festival, kicking off tomorrow.
Late starter to Sex
Raza Jaffrey, the Spooks star who recently appeared in Sex and the City 2, tells me he wasn't a fan of the series or first film before he met Sarah Jessica Parker, at which point he was immediately sold on taking his part in the film. Jaffrey, who turned up to the preview performance of The House of Bilquis Bibi at the Hampstead Theatre, is leaving for LA imminently, for film roles he is in the process of securing.
Additional reporting by Harry Morgan
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