Deputy Editor, Asia Top News
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Nov 21, 2012

Pop art “godfather” Blake still the outsider at 80

LONDON (Reuters) – Pop music loves him. The art establishment shuns him. At the age of 80, British artist Peter Blake is revered for his celebrated “Sgt. Pepper” Beatles album cover yet at the same time dismissed as too “cheerful” to be one of the greats.

Regularly stroking his wispy silver beard, and supported around a central London gallery by a walking cane, the man dubbed the “godfather of Pop art” still struggles to come to terms with his place in the world of contemporary culture.

Nov 21, 2012

Disturbing view of Russia emerges from UK art show

LONDON (Reuters) – The real stars of a new show of contemporary Russian art at the Saatchi Gallery in central London are society’s outcasts – criminals, drug addicts, despised government bureaucrats and ordinary people perched on window ledges ready to jump.

Several of the 18 artists who make up the major survey of work from the former Soviet Union have focused their lenses and brushes on those for whom the collapse of the Communist system meant destitution rather than freedom or wealth.

Nov 20, 2012

UK queen to charge entrance fee for anniversary fair

LONDON (Reuters) – In a break with tradition, people will be charged to enter the gardens of Queen Elizabeth’s London residence where a trade fair and series of concerts will be held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of her 1953 coronation.

Members of the public are regularly treated to the large green space behind the imposing Buckingham Palace, but they usually go free either as invited guests to garden parties or on special occasions like the Diamond Jubilee picnic earlier this year.

Nov 14, 2012

Death on display: UK show investigates inevitable

LONDON (Reuters) – Celebrating death is an odd concept for an exhibition, but a new show in London on the topic that many people would rather avoid is at times beautiful, macabre, harrowing, comforting and funny.

“Death: A Self-Portrait” opens at the Wellcome Collection, which specializes in scientific and medical themes, on Thursday and runs until February 24 next year.

Nov 14, 2012

Wakeman reworks rock epic Journey to Centre of Earth

LONDON (Reuters) – The story behind the upcoming re-issue of Rick Wakeman’s 1974 concept album “Journey to the Center of the Earth” sounds almost as unlikely as the Jules Verne tale that inspired it.

Progressive rock veteran Wakeman had presumed the original orchestration to his chart-topping disc was lost for good when his record company MAM, where the manuscripts had been stored in boxes, was brought to its knees in the early 1980s.

Nov 12, 2012

Labels maintain new music spend despite sales slump

LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Record labels say they have
maintained high levels of investment in new music despite
sweeping changes to their business in the digital age and a
decade of falling revenues caused by sliding album sales and
online piracy.

According to a new study from industry body IFPI published
on Monday, record companies invested $4.5 billion in A&R
(artists and repertoire) and marketing in 2011.

Nov 8, 2012

London council to sell Henry Moore work to pay bills

LONDON (Reuters) – One of London’s most deprived boroughs decided on Wednesday to sell a Henry Moore sculpture valued at up to 20 million pounds ($32 million) to ease its debts, despite pressure from the art establishment to hold on to the imposing bronze work.

Tower Hamlets says nearly half the children in the area live in poverty, the highest level in the UK, and that the council needs to find 100 million pounds in savings over the next three years to meet government budget targets.

Nov 7, 2012

Rare archive of Russian director Tarkovsky for sale

LONDON (Reuters) – An archive of thousands of letters, photographs and recordings once belonging to one of Russia’s greatest film directors will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s in London later this month, the auctioneer said on Wednesday.

The Andrei Tarkovsky collection covers the last 20 years of the film maker’s life and includes the draft of a letter to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev from the late 1970s urging him to lift a ban on screenings of his 1966 classic “Andrei Rublyev”.

Oct 23, 2012

Pippa Middleton pens party book, “startled” at fame

LONDON (Reuters) – Paparazzi favorite Pippa Middleton is already a global celebrity. Now the 29-year-old sister of the future British queen is aiming to become a global brand.

The woman whose appearance at the spectacular 2011 wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William caused as much of a sensation as the bride herself has written a recipe and party planning book which hits the shelves this week.

Oct 22, 2012

Ethiopians take UK stage to show dance changes lives

LONDON (Reuters) – Two Ethiopians who take to the London stage on Monday evening are living proof that dance really can change lives.

Addisu Demissie, 30, and Junaid Jemal Sendi, 28, will perform in “A Holding Space”, a dance collaboration which explores their extraordinary journey from the streets of Addis Ababa to some of the biggest arts venues in Europe.

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      "I commission, edit and write major breaking news and initiative stories from across Asia, concentrating on Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. My previous postings include Moscow, Central Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. I have covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, arts and entertainment, turmoil in Egypt, the Crimea referendum and major sporting events around the world."
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