Alcopop and Big Scary Monsters record labels join The Great Escape boycott over Barclaycard sponsorship in solidarity with Gaza

“To be associating with Barclays doesn’t sit right with our ethical standpoint, and if we can do anything to help raise awareness, and ultimately highlight the corporate greed at the heart of this horrendous genocide in Gaza, we will,” Alcopop! said

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Two record labels, Alcopop! and Big Scary Monsters, have confirmed they are joining the boycott of The Great Escape over its ties to Barclays bank.

The Brighton-based festival is sponsored by the bank, which has been a source of controversy amid the current events in Gaza because of its financial investment in companies that supply arms to Israel.

The issue was first highlighted by a petition started by the promoter How to Catch a Pig and the band The Menstrual Cramps, and has since been signed by artists including KneecapLambrini GirlsAlfie TemplemanLip CriticWunderhorse and Mary in the Junkyard who have urged the festival to drop Barclays as a sponsor. Altogether, 208 of the 440 bands who had originally been booked for the line-up have signed the petition, which has 977 signees in total.

It reads: “A bank that is involved in Israel’s genocide has no place at The Great Escape, which is a fixture of the independent music scene and has a prized place in the industry. We refuse to let music be used to whitewash human rights violations. We cannot let our creative outputs become smokescreens behind which money is pumped into murdering Palestinians.” The petition can be found here.

Now, Alcopop! and Big Scary Monsters have confirmed they will no longer be associated with The Great Escape. “To be associating with Barclays doesn’t sit right with our ethical standpoint, and if we can do anything to help raise awareness, and ultimately highlight the corporate greed at the heart of this horrendous genocide in Gaza, we will,” Alcopop! said in a statement.

Big Scary Monsters confirmed that they had pulled their showcase with Alcopop!, sharing a link to the petition and re-iterating calls for The Great Escape to cut ties with Barclays. The bands who were supposed to play the showcase including The Menstrual Cramps, Orchards and Other Half, have all pulled out.

Numerous other acts have also dropped out, including Cherym, who said in a statement: “Barclays/Barclaycard are responsible for investing over £1bn+ into companies that are arming the IDF and providing weaponry that enables the ongoing atrocities against Palestinians to continue.”

“Due to The Great Escape’s connection with Barclays/Barclaycard, we feel in good conscience, that we cannot go ahead with our scheduled performances at The Great Escape. We have been told by The Great Escape that the festival has no affiliation with Barclays/Barclaycard directly this year, but due to the refusal to remove them as a sponsor from their advertising we simply cannot take part.”

Meanwhile, Rett Madison also confirmed she would be dropping out: “In support of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, I am joining the boycott of Barclays and withdrawing my performance at The Great Escape Festival this May.”

NME has contacted The Great Escape for comment.

The move comes a month after swathes of artists refused to play Austin’s SXSW Festival, due to its connections with the US Army and weapons companies amid the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Gruff RhysKneecap, SprintsLambrini Girls, GelRachel ChinouririCardinals and NewDad all eventually pulled out from SXSW, as well as every Irish act on the bill. Many of the artists expressed that they had made the decision out of solidarity with the people of Palestine.

In light of the withdrawals, SXSW released a statement regarding all of the bands and artists who have been pulling out of the festival, saying: “We are an organisation that welcomes diverse viewpoints. Music is the soul of SXSW, and it has long been our legacy. We fully respect the decision these artists made to exercise their right to free speech.”

Explaining its sponsorship with the US Army, SXSW wrote: “The defence industry has historically been a proving ground for many of the systems we rely on today. These institutions are often leaders in emerging technologies, and we believe it’s better to understand how their approach will impact our lives.”

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Robbie Williams on the joke that left him thinking “I don’t think Twitter is for me”

The joke in question led to Williams being called out by the founder of Gail’s bakery

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Robbie Williams has recalled the occasion where a badly-received joke on X/Twitter made him reconsider his use of the platform.

The singer was speaking to Joe Lycett for an interview in The Guardian, in which spoke about their mutual love of art. They got on to talking about Twitter and Williams was asked if he still has an account.

“It would ruin my career. The last time I was on it, I did a tweet that said: ‘I quite fancy getting into shoplifting. Has anyone got any good suggestions for shoplifting?’

“The person who runs Gail’s, the bakery, said: ‘This is awful. This is a pop star who lives in a bubble. How dare he?’

“I saw the backlash, and I was, like: “I don’t think Twitter is for me.” I got my fingers burned.”

The aforementioned owner of Gail’s, Luke Johnson, called Williams’ post a “very poor taste joke” in a statement to the Daily Mail in October last year.

Robbie Williams. Credit: Tim Whitby/Getty

“Shop staff are facing a huge increase in crime and violence. A vastly rich ex-pop star mocking a serious social and economic problem shows a celebrity truly lost in showbiz,” Johnson said [via The Independent].

Earlier this month, Williams made headlines when he praised The 1975‘s Matty Healy. In a social media post, Williams noted that he was “lamenting the death of friction, danger, personality”, while calling the music scene “boring”, but clarifying that he’s “not attacking the music itself”.

Williams went on to state that he understands why everyone’s being safe: “I get it everyone’s scared. No one knows what you’ll say that will get you cancelled. No one knows what you’ve already said or written that will end you. So many people to offend.”

With this in mind, he’s hailed Matty Healy as “the only commercially viable Pop/Rock star that I can see who is willing to be something other than beige”.

Williams wrote: “I really like Matt he’s unhinged, super smart, super talented and willing to upset. Upsetting for a cause. The cause being a complicated inner life a rebellious streak and boredom.”

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Robbie Williams on the joke that left him thinking “I don’t think Twitter is for me”

The joke in question led to Williams being called out by the founder of Gail’s bakery

The post Robbie Williams on the joke that left him thinking “I don’t think Twitter is for me” appeared first on NME.

NME

Robbie Williams has recalled the occasion where a badly-received joke on X/Twitter made him reconsider his use of the platform.

The singer was speaking to Joe Lycett for an interview in The Guardian, in which spoke about their mutual love of art. They got on to talking about Twitter and Williams was asked if he still has an account.

“It would ruin my career. The last time I was on it, I did a tweet that said: ‘I quite fancy getting into shoplifting. Has anyone got any good suggestions for shoplifting?’

“The person who runs Gail’s, the bakery, said: ‘This is awful. This is a pop star who lives in a bubble. How dare he?’

“I saw the backlash, and I was, like: “I don’t think Twitter is for me.” I got my fingers burned.”

The aforementioned owner of Gail’s, Luke Johnson, called Williams’ post a “very poor taste joke” in a statement to the Daily Mail in October last year.

Robbie Williams. Credit: Tim Whitby/Getty

“Shop staff are facing a huge increase in crime and violence. A vastly rich ex-pop star mocking a serious social and economic problem shows a celebrity truly lost in showbiz,” Johnson said [via The Independent].

Earlier this month, Williams made headlines when he praised The 1975‘s Matty Healy. In a social media post, Williams noted that he was “lamenting the death of friction, danger, personality”, while calling the music scene “boring”, but clarifying that he’s “not attacking the music itself”.

Williams went on to state that he understands why everyone’s being safe: “I get it everyone’s scared. No one knows what you’ll say that will get you cancelled. No one knows what you’ve already said or written that will end you. So many people to offend.”

With this in mind, he’s hailed Matty Healy as “the only commercially viable Pop/Rock star that I can see who is willing to be something other than beige”.

Williams wrote: “I really like Matt he’s unhinged, super smart, super talented and willing to upset. Upsetting for a cause. The cause being a complicated inner life a rebellious streak and boredom.”

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Taylor Swift is sharing a hidden message about ‘Tortured Poets Department’ on Apple Music – here’s how to figure it out

One word of a secret message will be available to find on Apple Music until the album is released on Friday (April 19)

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NME

Taylor Swift has sent fans on a mystery trail to uncover a secret message on Apple Music during the release week of her new album ‘The Tortured Poets Department’.

Apple has confirmed that one word a day will be hidden within Swift’s lyrics on the music streaming service. Each daily word will be found somewhere in Swift’s five playlists exclusively released on Apple Music last week, which relate to the five stages of heartbreak: denial (‘I Love You, It’s Ruining My Life’), anger (‘You Don’t Get to Tell Me About Sad‘), bargaining (‘Am I Allowed to Cry?’), depression (‘Old Habits Die Screaming’) and acceptance (‘I Can Do It With a Broken Heart’).

The full message will be unveiled on April 18, the day before Swift releases ‘The Tortured Poets Department’.

The first word was unveiled on Saturday (April 13), with Swift’s team Taylor Nation via an Instagram Story that seemed to glitch. Fans worked out that the first word was hidden in the lyrics of ‘Glitch’ from the ‘I Love You, It’s Ruining My Life’ playlist, in which the lyrics randomly capitalised the letters H, E, Y, B, E and R. Unscrambled, they formed the word ‘hereby.

The following day, Swifties uncovered the second word, which was hidden in the lyrics of ‘Peace’ – ‘conduct’.

‘The Tortured Poets Department’ will mark Swift’s 11th studio album. It follows her 2022 record ‘Midnights’, and more recently the singer’s re-recordings of ‘Speak Now’ and ‘1989’.

Meanwhile, Deadpool & Wolverine director Shawn Levy had to address rumours that Swift could appear in the film. She has been at the centre of speculation over a potential surprise appearance in the upcoming Marvel film as superhero Dazzler.

However, when asked by Entertainment Tonight about the rumours, Levy replied: “That is hardly confirmed nor denied in this interview. I’m going to literally walk out of the frame and save myself, otherwise Ryan [Reynolds]’s taking a hit [out] on me.”

Speaking about his own attendance of a game to support Swift’s boyfriend Travis Kelce last year, which helped fuel speculation, the director said: “All that’s known is that I went to a football game, and those hours were well-documented and that’s all I’m gonna say. What can I say? I think intrigue is fun.”

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Fontaines D.C. share taster of new music and dark Kubrick-esque teaser for new album ‘Romance’

The 90-second clip nods to one of the most iconic scenes from ‘The Shining’

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NME

Fontaines D.C. are continuing to tease new music with a Stanley Kubrick-inspired clip ahead of their new album ‘Romance’.

The Irish post-punk group started to hint at new music last week with a 30-second clip in which frontman Grian Chatten is seen topless and in bright green trousers, with a black, swollen eye and heavy cuts and bruises all over. He is petting a pig, while the mystery song plays over the top.

Now, they’ve followed that clip with a new 90-second visualiser that takes inspiration from Kubrick’s The Shining. It features an empty hallway with two small brown armchairs sitting opposite each other, adjacent from an orange set of elevator doors in a clear nod to the iconic 1980 film. However, where in the film the doors open to reveal a river of blood, Fontaines’ clip uses green gunge pouring out of the doors instead.

The song playing the background begins eerie and slow, over which Chatten sings: “Into the darkness again / In with the pigs in the pen / God knows I love you / Screws in my head /nI will be beside you till you’re dead.” As the music swells and becomes more intense, the neon green gunge gushes out of the doors.

Check out the ‘Romance’ teaser below:

‘Romance’ will mark Fontaines D.C.’s first original music since 2022’s ‘Skinty Fia’. Since then, they’ve also covered Nick Drake’s ‘Cello Song’ for a compilation album.

In December, the band teamed up with Massive Attack and Young Fathers to release a limited edition 12” single to support Médecins Sans Frontières in their relief efforts in Gaza.

“Fontaines DC join millions across the world in demanding an immediate ceasefire and a permanent end to Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine,” they wrote at the time.

“Since October, Doctors Without Borders have been on the ground in Gaza, where every human is an IDF target, risking their lives to give vital care to the thousands injured by Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on the starving and defenceless. We feel utterly helpless in what we can do at this point, however we do hope our small contribution to this record can raise some desperately needed funds for Doctors Without Borders in Gaza. Ceasefire Now. Free Palestine.”

Chatten opened up in an interview with NME last year about suffering mental health issues while touring, revealing he previously experienced “fits of anxiety and rage”.

The Irish musician, who released his debut solo album ‘Chaos For The Fly’ last summer, reflected on how his attitude to touring has evolved over the years.

“Around ‘A Hero’s Death’, I was really struggling to reshape myself to fit this new kind of lifestyle, and I was dealing with fatigue… and mental illness; the depression that occurred,” he explained.

“The anxiety was pretty intense as well. I was just sick of not fucking living anywhere for five years. I didn’t even think about the fact that half a decade had passed without me feeling like I belonged anywhere outside of a tour bus.”

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Proposed ‘Game Of Thrones’ Jon Snow spinoff has been scrapped, confirms Kit Harington

“We all couldn’t find the right story to tell that we were all excited about enough”

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Kit Harington has confirmed that a planned Game Of Thrones spinoff centered around his character Jon Snow has been scrapped.

The idea was first confirmed to have been in the works in 2022, with George RR Martin revealing that the series would pick up where the main show left off and was Harington’s own idea.

Two years on, however, and Harington has said the show is no longer in development as producers “couldn’t find the right story to tell”.

“I hadn’t really ever spoken about it, because it was in development,” he told Screen Rant. I didn’t want it leaked out that it was being developed, and I didn’t want the thing to happen where people kind of start theorizing, getting either excited about it or hating the idea of it, when it may never happen. Because in development, you look at every angle, and you see whether it’s worth it.

“And currently, it’s not. Currently, it’s off the table, because we all couldn’t find the right story to tell that we were all excited about enough.

“So, we decided to lay down tools with it for the time being. There may be a time in the future where we return to it, but at the moment, no. It’s firmly on the shelf.”

Kit Harington in ‘Game Of Thrones’

Despite there not being a Jon Snow spin-off, two other shows related to Game Of Thrones have been created. The second season of House of the Dragon is set to return from June 16, which will focus on the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.

Meanwhile, Joseph Gatt has filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department, and L.A. District Attorney George Gascón, among others, over false paedophile charges.

The actor, who played the Thenn Warg in season four of the HBO fantasy series, is suing the defendants for $40million (£31.6million) in relation to the dismissed charges against him.

In the lawsuit, shared by Entertainment Weekly, Gatt claims the defendants “publicly branded him as a serial paedophile,” which in turn ruined his reputation and career. Gatt also alleges Deputy District Attorney Angela Brunson held “personal bias and animosity” towards him.

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Kirsten Dunst says ‘Civil War’ scene is “one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen”

The scene in question features Dunst opposite her husband Jesse Plemons

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Kirsten Dunst has said that a scene from Alex Garland’s Civil War in which she appears opposite her husband Jesse Plemons is “one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen”.

Dunst stars in the film as a photojournalist named Lee who attempts to capture footage of a modern civil war breaking out in the United States. At one point in the film, she is confronted and threatened by a soldier, played by Plemons.

Dunst recently told Entertainment Tonight that her husband usually “wouldn’t play a part like this”.

“He did a favor for us because that is a really disturbing role to play, so it’s not like he was jumping at the chance to play the role,” Dunst said of her husband.

“Even reading the script, it’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. When we rolled up to set, it was just very, very tense and emotional for everybody filming that scene.”

The scene was filmed for “two days straight”, becoming all the more “intense” due to Garland avoiding using traditional close-up shots.

“He sort of did it in a nontraditional way to make sure that he wasn’t breaking up the momentum, and he didn’t do traditional close-ups where you had crews stepping in,” she continued. “So it almost felt really immersive. The whole movie [does] but [especially] that scene in particular.”

It’s not the first time the couple have worked together, having previously both featured in The Power of the Dog, while they met playing a couple on Fargo. 

Meanwhile, Dunst recently admitted that she had been “miserable” while filming the iconic upside down kiss in Spider-Man.

Speaking on ITV’s Jonathan Ross Show, Dunst said: “I remember Sam Raimi giving me a book of famous kisses to be inspired, but also he really wanted to make it special, even though it was kind of miserable actually doing it. It was pouring with rain, freezing, Tobey couldn’t breathe so it was almost like I was resuscitating him.”

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Back To Black’s Jack O’Connell to direct Paul Weller music video

O’Connell revealed Weller had asked him to star in the video but opted to direct it instead

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Back To Black‘s Jack O’Connell has made his directorial debut working on a music video for Paul Weller.

The actor has got behind the camera for the video for a song called ‘Nothing’, which will be part of Weller’s forthcoming album ’66’. The LP will be released on May 24.

“It was a good stroke of fortune,” O’Connell told Variety. “Paul’s been a mate for a while and he’s got a bunch of new music coming out. He asked me to be in [a video] and I said, ‘Can I direct it instead?’ He obliged. And now we’ve edited it and cut it together.”

‘Nothing’ isn’t the only music video O’Connell has been in either, having previously appeared in the visuals for ‘Blue Moon Rising’ by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Meanwhile, O’Connell is currently starring in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s biopic of Amy WinehouseBack To Black, which will arrive in cinemas on Friday (April 12). O’Connell plays Blake Fielder-Civil, Winehouse’s ex-husband.

In a four-star review of Back To Black, NME wrote: Fielder-Civil, meanwhile, is more flawed chancer than evil schemer here. If Back To Black has a villain, it’s the unrelenting glare of the media spotlight, which made life even more intense and unbearable for a woman already struggling with addiction, bulimia, grief and fame.

“This film was always going to face accusations of being exploitative – given the way Winehouse was scrutinised when she was alive – but the naysayers needn’t have worried. Taylor-Johnson’s film (particularly the ending) is impressively deft and delicate.

“Obviously, it was going to be tough for Back To Black to surpass Winehouse’s 2006 album of the same name – what could? – but Taylor-Johnson’s film is more than deserving of your time. It offers a welcome reminder of Winehouse’s plucky spirit – something that often gets lost when her life is reduced to a hackneyed tale of talent and tragedy.

We concluded: “There’s also a cracking score by Bad Seeds Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – complete with an original tune by Cave, ‘Song For Amy’, which unfurls beautifully over the opening credits. “You say that it’s time for us to call it a day,” he sings huskily over twinkly wind chimes and elegant strings, “but I will love you anyway.” It serves as a moving bookend to a worthy biopic – and you’ll come away wanting to take a deeper dive into the remarkable artist that inspired it.”

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Jackie Chan clarifies health status as fans worry about his appearance

“I want to take this opportunity to let everyone know, don’t worry!”

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Jackie Chan has reassured fans over the state of his health following concerns about his appearance.

Photographs published earlier this year showed the actor looking much older than he had done previously, but in a post featuring a series of photos shared to mark his 70th birthday, he addressed fans’ concerns.

Chan clarified that his appearance was actually part of his look for a role in a film. “Not so long ago, a lot of friends saw some recent photos of me on the internet, and they were all concerned about my health,” he wrote.

“I want to take this opportunity to let everyone know, don’t worry! It’s just a character appearance for my latest movie. The character requires me to have white hair, white beard and look old.

“Over the years, I’ve always been willing to try new things for a movie, no matter if it’s a challenging stunt or a breakthrough appearance for a character.”

Chan didn’t expand any further on the details of the film he had been shooting. He does, however, have several other projects in the works, including the upcoming Karate Kid film that is scheduled to come to cinemas in December.

Elsewhere in the post, he reflected on the significance of his landmark birthday, adding: “I’m 70 already?

“After recovering from the shock, the second thing that would come to my mind is a saying that my big brother, Sammo Hung, once said: ‘Being able to grow old is a fortunate thing’.

“Especially for us stunt people, we don’t know how lucky we are to be able to grow old.”

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Cardinals announce debut EP and share brooding new single ‘If I Could Make You Care’

“It’s pop music at its core, personal, youthful, and, if you can see past the chaos and noise it’s extremely warm.” said frontman Euan Manning

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Cardinals have announced their self-titled debut EP and shared a new single, ‘If I Could Make You Care’.

The EP will be released on June 7 via So Young Records and consists of six tracks, including the new single, as well as previously released hits ‘Unreal’ and ‘Roseland’.

“There’s not much to say about the lyrics of the song past its title which was stolen from Frank Sinatra’s ‘I Could Make You Care’,” said frontman Euan Manning about the single.

He continued: “It was co-written between myself and Oskar and we worked away at it quietly until it became something special between us. The arrangement with the band brought the drama and scale, it grew into something bigger than we expected. It was a great relief to write the song, like we had come to the end of some part of our lives.”

On the EP, he added: “It’s a collection of songs that were written when we were living and playing in Cork City. It’s pop music at its core, personal, youthful, and, if you can see past the chaos and noise it’s extremely warm. There’s a narrative if you’ve got the heart to look for it. It’s our first EP and we’re looking forward to it being out there for everyone to hear.”

Check out the song and the EP tracklist below:

The tracklist for ‘Cardinals’ is:

1. ‘Twist and Turn’
2. ‘Unreal’
3. ‘Roseland’
4. ‘Amphetamines’
5. ‘Nineteen’
6. ‘If I Could Make You Care’

The band spoke to NME in February in an interview which saw Manning discuss the influence their hometown of Cork had on them: “I’ve always found that wherever I am has a big impact or influence on me, on how I live and how I’m feeling,” he said. “Cork might be far smaller than Dublin or New York or London, but I think it has so much character packed into it. It feels very real.”

Meanwhile, Cardinals were one of various Irish bands who pulled out of the official SXSW showcase last month over the festival’s ties with the US Army. All acts from the country – Kneecap, Sprints, Soda Blonde, Gavin James, Robert Grace, Mick Flannery, Chalk, Gurriers, Enola Gay and NewDad – decided not to perform in solidarity with Palestine.

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