Culture

Cocoa Sugar

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There has been no shortage of new music released so far this year, but little to lift the heart and soul. Thankfully Cocoa Sugar, the new album by Young Fathers, has answered the call.

It is the third album from an Edinburgh trio comprising Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham “G” Hastings, who won the Mercury Music Prize in 2014 with their debut album Dead.

The subversive movies of May ’68

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Fifty years ago this month the world was convulsed by the astonishing “evenements” that exploded on the streets of Paris in May 1968. What started as a student protest detonated the biggest general strike in history.

To commemorate the epic events there is a series of interesting screenings, exhibitions and talks planned throughout May organised by the Institut Francais and the British Film Institute. Inevitably these are mainly in London, but the BFI is touring to other cities with at least some of these movies.

Cathy

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Cathy Come Home, the 1966 BBC TV play directed by Ken Loach, exposed how unemployment, poverty and overcrowded and inadequate housing were condemning thousands of families to homelessness — and dividing parents from their children. The play provoked a public outcry, the setting up of homelessness charity Crisis, and eventually the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act of 1977.

Five things to do or see this month

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Roxanne Roxanne
On Netflix now
A biopic about the early life of Roxanne Shanté, rap’s first female star. This film portrays the rapper’s life in the housing projects of Queens, New York, in the early 1980s. She must deal with a depressed, alcoholic mum and help raise her siblings. All the while she is developing an interest in the new art form growing around her, and then battling with the boyfriends, DJs and managers who are trying to control her.

Age of Terror: Art since 9/11

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This exhibition of artists’ responses to conflict since the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September 2001 ranges from sculpture to video installations.

It includes well known pieces such as Ai Weiwei’s marble surveillance camera on a plinth, Ivan Navarro’s “inverted columns” effect created with mirrors, as well as the vase Grayson Perry was working on as the terror attacks happened, which he proceeded to embellish with possible figures and comments possibly made by those caught up in the bombing of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

Beast

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Film thrillers have stiff competition these days. When you can watch really great box sets with ten or 15 episodes on All 4 or Netflix, trying to cram a convincing story into an hour and a half is a tough commission.

It’s a bit like that advert on TV where a couple meet, get married, split up and divvy up their CD collection in 30 seconds flat. Not too much scope for nuance.

That said, Beast has much to recommend it. The central character Moll, played by Jessie Buckley, is completely engaging and you want to find out more about her.

Another Kind of Life

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Another Kind of Life is a large and ambitious exhibition. There are works by 20 photographers, covering a period from the 1960s to the present.

The people depicted cover a huge range of very different experiences, from the desperate homeless to neo-Nazis in the American wilderness, and many trans people across different societies surviving in the teeth of oppression.

Mark E Smith: proletarian individualist

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Mark Brown appreciates the contribution of The Fall’s irascible lead singer, who died in January.

Mark E Smith, enigmatic, unruly founder, frontman and driving force of the influential rock group The Fall died, aged 60, in late January. He was an often inspired, regularly drunk, sometimes awkward and, more often than not, brilliant musical artist.

Windrush: Movement of the People

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Racist Tory politician Enoch Powell is well and truly nailed for his “politics of the gutter” in this triumphant celebration of Caribbean migration.

It comes as we hear words from Powell’s vile “rivers of blood” speech made in 1968 which whipped up hatred up over immigration, predicting that black people will gain the “whiphand”. Ten years before Powell was the minister who had initiated such migration to solve Britain’s post-Second World War labour shortage.

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