Podcast: Rodgers out, Lennon in at Celtic

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Rodgers made a shock move to Leicester this week (Credit: Leicester City)

On Tuesday, Brendan Rodgers left Celtic to join Premier League side Leicester City, sparking anger and anguish amongst the Celtic supporters.

Neil Lennon has since returned to manage the side for a second time, on a deal until the end of the season.

Fraser Munro, Bryce Donaldson and Luke Barry join John Menzies to discuss the situation that has dominated Scottish football this week.

 

 

 

Fictional King, Real Life Horror

A writer’s worst nightmare – your debut novel inspires the death of 8 people and has to be pulled from shelves 20 years after it was published.

This very scenario became a sick reality for Richard Bachman, who published Rage in 1977, but discontinued its printing in 1997 after it became infamous as fodder for school shooters. The book follows a mentally challenged boy who holds up his school after he is expelled. He shoots several teachers and takes his classroom hostage, creating an impromptu therapy group with his fellow students. All present begin to realise that each hostage has divulged a secret except for a one, so they all turn on that student when they realise that none of them are really there against their will. After beating the lone hostage, the shooter attempts suicide by cop, which fails. He is then found not guilty by reasons of insanity and sent to a psychiatric hospital.

In the real world, things started relatively tame – the first two shootings were more like hostage takings but both had a copy of the book in their possession or had a reported fascination with it. Then 1993 saw the first fatalities – Gary Scott Pennington fatally shot his English teacher and then the school’s custodian in Kentucky. He had written an essay on Rage just before the shooting and was angered when he was given a C grade from the teacher that he had killed. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for 25 years.

Three years later, another shooting. This time Barry Loukaitis killed three people before he was wrestled to the ground and disarmed by a gym coach who volunteered to be his hostage for safe passage out of the school. It is believed that Loukaitis quoted Rage, but he actually reportedly said, “this sure beats algebra, doesn’t it?” after fatally killing his algebra teacher.

RESOLUTION

Infographic (Credit: Jade du Preez)

The next year, Michael Carneal shot eight students at a prayer meeting in a Kentucky high school – three of them died. Carneal had a copy of the Bachman omnibus including Rage in his locker, and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He took the book off the publication line in the US, although it remained in circulation in the UK for a while longer. In a story that warps fiction and reality, the water grows murkier – Richard Bachman isn’t who he says he is either. He’s actually Stephen King, famed horror novelist who started writing under the pen name of Richard Bachman for two reasons.

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The 1st edition cover of the novel.

He wanted to see if he could replicate his popularity under a secret identity because he was unsure of whether his success in horror was due to talent or luck (he had a deep addiction to alcohol and drugs from the 70s to the late 80s). At the time most authors were only allowed to write one novel a year but King is known for his ability to write several novels a year. It is also said that he wanted to write several novels each year without these restrictions, but he did not know the devastation his debut would cause.

Whether such horrific acts would have taken place without the presence of Bachman’s novel will never be known, but in 2018 one school shooting occurred roughly every eight days in the US so the novel’s removal from shelves seems to have done nothing to deter some minds from picking up a gun. Atrocities like the Parkland Shooting still happened, and 113 people were killed or injured last year in the US in mass shootings. Even without the book, there probably would have been some other novel or film or music that someone unstable enough to commit such a crime could place their blame on.

In memory of Jim Morrison: 8 shocking rock ‘n’ roll moments

Today, March 1st 2019, marks an important anniversary in rock and roll. It might not be the one you think.

No, it’s not the day The Beatles landed in America, sending throngs of Beatle maniacs into a screaming frenzy upon their arrival. It’s not the date Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon, an album that would stay in the album charts for 17 years. It is, in fact, 50 years to the day that The Doors frontman Jim Morrison allegedly exposed himself to a stunned Florida crowd, all the way back in 1969.

Granted, this may not seem like the most shocking thing by today’s standards, in which skin, sex and nudity are at times a key part of an artist’s performance or identity. During the hazy days of the late 60s, however, this alleged lewd act was a national story in both music and mainstream press. Morrison himself was arrested over the incident, which he denied having taken place. The question of did he/didn’t he continued well after the untimely death of the singer in 1971 – but Morrison was eventually pardoned nearly four decades later by Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Guilty or not, this act of supposed rebellion is one that will go down in history as one of the more memorable moments in rock history. In the years that followed, there have been countless moments on stages throughout the globe that have shocked the audience and – indeed the world.

8 – The Sex Pistols swear on live TV, 1976

Another example of a moment that may be considered tame by today’s standards, but when members of legendary punk band The Sex Pistols turned the airwaves blue back in 1976, it caused mass outrage and made the group into public enemy number one.

As a last-minute replacement for Freddie Mercury, forced to cancel due to toothache, the punks appeared on tea-time tell programme Today. Continuously needled by presenter Bill Grundy, the group referred to the host as a “dirty old sod” before dropping a tirade of obscenities, including the F bomb. The show quickly went off air, and the Sex Pistols cemented themselves in musical infamy.

7 – Billie Joe Armstrong loses his cool , 2012

Green Day frontman Billie Joe smashed his guitar into smithereens during the iHeart Radio Music Festival during a performance of the band’s biggest hit “Basket Case”.

The singer, triggered by a production cue, cut the song short, declaring “I’ve been around since f–king 1988, and you’re gonna give me one f—ing minute? You’ve got to be kidding me! I’m not f—ing Justin Bieber, you motherf—ers.” Before destroying his guitar and throwing his microphone into the crowd. The singer entered drug rehabilitation in the days following the incident.

6 – Nirvana play the wrong song, 1991

At the height of their fame, Nirvana were arguably the biggest band in the world. But an appearance on The Jonathon Ross’ show proved that they weren’t going to be selling out and playing nice as part of their newfound fame.

Scheduled to play their chart-topping tune Lithium, the grunge band instead launched into their much punkier, much less famous song Territorial P-ssings before destroying their equipment and the stage. A shocked Ross jokingly reminded the audience at home Nirvana were available for “children’s birthday parties and bar mitzvahs.”

5 – Liam Gallagher Throws a Plum, 2009

Okay, so this one didn’t happen in front of the cameras or an audience, but the backlash from this rather bizarre incident is one that left the music world reeling, and worthy of a mention.

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The Gallagher brothers in happier times (Credit: Paula Torres Rey)

Minutes before heading onstage to play in front of an eagerly awaiting crowd, rock ‘n’ roll’s most notorious brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher were involved in a heated argument that would lead to the end of one of the world’s biggest bands. When tensions continued to rise, Liam reportedly swung a guitar at brother Noel before throwing a plum in his direction. Arguably the straw that broke the camel’s back, that night’s performance was cancelled, and Oasis were no more.

4 – Ozzy Osbourne bites a bat’s head off, 1982

No stranger to controversy, former Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne was onstage in Des Moines, Iowa when a bat emerged at his feet, flung from the crowd.

Thinking the bat to be made of plastic, Osbourne picked the animal up…. and bit the creature’s head off. Fans in attendance looked on in horror as the rocker finished his set, before being whisked to a nearby hospital room for rabies shots. The incident led to a ban of performances containing animals in the arena, and is still one of the most talked-about controversies in rock history today.

3 – James Hetfield goes up in flames, 1992

In 1992, two of the biggest bands in the world were playing a double headline show in Montreal – Guns ‘n’ Roses and Metallica. However, when Metallica frontman James Hetfield accidentally engulfed himself in flames, it triggered a series of very unfortunate events.

During ballad “Fade to Black”, Hetfield misjudged his step and stood directly in the way of a 12-foot flame as it burst into the air – a part of the band’s impressive pyrotechnic show. The fire melted the strings on Hetfield’s guitar, the skin on his right arm, and incinerated his eyebrows and parts of his hair. The group were forced to cut their set short to a sea of boos. Guns n Roses were set to take the stage and save the day, when….

2 – Axl Rose triggers a riot, 1992

Guns ‘n’ Roses took to the stage after Metallica cut their set short, and seemed ready to rescue the show. However, the rock megastars ended up leaving early themselves.

Infamously late Axl Rose took to the stage two hours after Hetfield was rushed to hospital. Complaining of sound issues and a sore throat, Rose walked off nine songs into the set, telling fans this would be the group’s “last show for a long time.” Furious fans then took to the streets of Montreal: overturning cars, smashing windows, looting local stores, and setting fires. Altogether, the riot caused more than $500,000 worth of damage to the city – which would be closer to $1 million in today’s money.

1 – Dimebag Darrell’s onstage assassination, 2004

By far the most shocking and tragic moment on this list, and perhaps in musical history is the Damageplan shooting in Columbus, Ohio that left four dead and seven injured.

Just two songs into their set, gunman Nathan Gale took to the stage of metal band Damageplan, featuring legendary brothers Darrell and Vinny Abbott of Pantera. Gale first shot and killed guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell, then fired upon the other band members and tour crew. The incident landed on the anniversary of Beatles legend John Lennon’s death, another musician gunned down by a supposed fan.

To this day the incident remains the largest mass killing in Columbus history, and led to security measures increasing at shows around the world, many of which are still in effect. Darrell was honoured in 2007 with a space on the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame.

For more try these EN4 News articles about problematic musicians.

Podcast: Oscars reflection

The red carpet was rolled out for the Oscars last weekend for the biggest night in film. Olivia Hill, Liam Mackay and Paul Sinclair discuss all the night’s events in our Oscars reflection podcast.


One rarely falls in love without being as much attracted to what is interestingly wrong with someone as what is objectively healthy

Read another EN4News Oscars piece here.

And check out our Oscars nominations podcast to see if we got anything right!

Painting outside the lines

If pieces of art go against the social norm, do they make us see the world in a new light?

There are few things in the world that allow us to express ourselves the way that the arts do. Art has an uncanny ability to make us feel empowered, accepted and less alone.

Arguably, the best thing about art is that it has the ability to inspire us. It makes us feel something and can help us turn feeling into action. It can drive us, motivate us, spur us on to act.

Mavericks in Literature

Tracy Chevalier‘s collection of short stories is entitled Reader, I Married Him – inspired by the most famous line in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. The conclusion to the collection reflects on one of history’s first stories to defy social expectations.

Set in 1847, the heroine Jane Eyre is an impoverished orphan with no other family who, by the end of the novel, becomes a governess, the underdog who rises from the dirt. In the 19th century women had little power to determine their own future, so you would expect the line to go “Reader, he married me,” or even “We got married.” But this story sees Jane making the choice to spend her life with Rochester and be the driving force of her own life.

To celebrate and remind people of that self-determination and going against social norms, Chevalier created a collection of short stories from this generation that have the same effect of encouraging people to strive for change (To buy the book, click here).

Reader I Married him by Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier’s collection of short stories Reader, I Married Him (Credit: The Borough Press)

Illustrated Rebellion

In modern times, new platforms are supporting artists going against society’s expectations. Kidmograph, also known as Gustavo Torres, is an Argentinian video artist, illustrator, and art director who tackles social issues through his art.

He makes Matrix-style GIFs and music videos that sit between both the digital world and reality whilst denying to commit to either. It reflects on modern day society and how people live their lives in part in the ‘real’ world whilst the other half is stuck in the virtual one.

Musical insurgents

Actions speak louder than words, but sometimes lyrics speak even louder. The politically charged anti-Trump anthem Land of the Free by The Killers touches on a variety of important issues currently happening the US.

The second bridge of the song opens with the powerful line “but if you’re the wrong colour skin (I’m standing, crying), you grow up looking over both your shoulders,” referring to the ongoing race issue in America, and reflecting on topics discussed in last year’s Blackkklansman by filmmaker Spike Lee, who created the music video and is an outspoken critic of President Trump.

The song refers to Trump’s plans to build a wall segregating North America and Mexico, and addresses gun violence and school shootings:

“So how many daughters, tell me, how many sons do we have to have to put in the ground before we just break down and face it: we got a problem with guns?”

Has Pride become problematic?

This week Ariana Grande was announced as the headline act for Manchester’s Pride Festival, which will take place in August. 

Controversy over the festival line up has been rife online, as many have criticised the lack of openly LGBT+ acts on the bill. Manchester Pride organisers have already faced criticism over this year’s high ticket prices, as many fear the price of the event will lead it to be less inclusive.

The line up for Manchester’s Pride celebrations has opened a wider debate online surrounding the true purpose of Pride celebrations.

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(Credit: Manchester Pride)

Ariana Grande responded to criticism on Twitter, first addressing the fact that she had no impact or say on the ticket price, and secondly to express her excitement to be headlining the event for a community that has been special to her and supportive of her throughout her career.

Grande made the valid point that straight allies such as Kylie Minogue and Cher have previously performed at Pride events, as a way of showing their personal support for the LGBT+ community.

The problem is surely not that straight artists are performing at Pride events, but that straight artists are often chosen over LGBT+ artists due to popularity and the need to sell tickets. This leads to questions over the purpose of Pride today and what the event has come to mean.

It is a complicated debate as Pride events often aim to raise money for LGBT+ charities, so of course ticket sales are important. But are they more important than giving a platform to LGBT+ artists and performers?

Pride is supposed to be a chance to celebrate equality, inclusiveness and all the progress made against discrimination of the LGBT+ community. It is also a defiant, public sign of solidarity against the prejudice that continues today. It is important to question whether the commercialisation of Pride, as it grows in size in cities across the UK every year, has had an impact on its true purpose.

Olly Alexander, frontman of pop group Years & Years who are also on the bill for this year’s Manchester Pride, took to Twitter to weigh in on the debate. As an openly gay artist, Olly agreed that he would love to see more LGBT+ acts at Pride events, yet he also picks up on how “problematic” Pride has become.

Has celebrating Pride in such a commercial way, with companies and shops stocking and pushing rainbow items for just one month each year, made it less meaningful?

Olly makes the valuable argument that if an effort was made to support LGBT+ artists all year round, it would be more likely that we’d find them at the top of the bill at Pride events, because they would be popular enough to sell the tickets. This argument could definitely be applied to many other aspects of Pride as, in order for Pride to have the meaning it intends to, thought needs to be given to the LGBT+ community all year round.

Arguably, an incredibly famous, straight artist like Ariana Grande performing at Pride is a sign of, and a testament to, the progress that has been made towards equality. No matter how commercialised it has become, Pride is so famous that it cannot be separated from being an LGBT+ event. Therefore, huge stars performing openly and proudly in support of the LGBT+ community, no matter what their own sexual orientation may be, is proof of the huge progress towards equality that has been made since the first Pride celebration in 1972.

Grande’s wish to “celebrate and support this community, regardless of my identity” is exactly the kind of attitude that should be welcomed, and her suggestion that there is “room for us to talk about these issues without equating a performance *for* an LGBTQ audience with an exploitation of the LGBTQ community” is also incredibly valid.

When questioning whether someone is celebrating or exploiting a group they are not part of, it’s necessary to consider the intention or motivation behind their actions. It’s pretty clear that Ariana Grande genuinely wants to perform at Pride in solidarity with the LGBT+ community in Manchester. It’s also worth noting that Ariana’s link to the city,  since 22 people were killed in a terrorist attack at her concert in Manchester Arena in 2017, undoubtedly drives her wish to return and perform at Manchester Pride.

Is it not incredibly beneficial that artists who are well known and have a voice stand up for causes they believe in? Stars like Ariana Grande have a responsibility to actively stand up for causes they support, because they have a platform to. I don’t think that their support should be rejected at any point, because it all adds to the advance towards equality.

Tickets for Manchester’s Pride Festival are available on Ticketmaster.

 

Podcast: Reactions to Liam Neeson’s racist comments

Luka Kenyon, Linnea Lind and Olivia Hill discuss the public’s reaction to Liam Neeson’s racist comments in another EN4 News podcast.

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Liam Neeson was criticised this week for making racist comments (Credit: flickr)

EN4 Newspaper Roundup 8/2/19

EN4 News journalists Ross Hempseed, Bryce Arthur, and John Menzies bring you the headlines and top stories from today’s newspapers.

 

If you want to read the Herald’s Brexit Voices stories, click here.

For more on the upcoming match against Ireland, listen to our podcast.

Find EN4 News’ previous stories on the tourist tax here.

 

BREAKING: Mother found guilty of FGM

A mother of a three year old girl has been found guilty of female genital mutilation today, marking the first time a person in the United Kingdom has been found guilty of the crime.

The 37-year-old woman from Uganda was convicted following a trial at The Old Bailey in London.

Her 34-year-old partner was acquitted by the jury.

The mutilation was likely committed as part of a religious or cultural superstition. The trial heard that “spells and curses” intended to prevent social workers and police from investigating were found at the woman’s home.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act has existed in UK law since 2003 but this marks the first time someone has been prosecuted under this legislation.

Today’s National News

EN4 News journalist Bryce Arthur discusses the biggest national news stories for today.

 

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