CD of the month
You could have it so much better - Franz Ferdinand
This is the hugely anticipated second album from Franz Ferdinand. After setting the world alight with their self-titled debut album the band didn’t hang around too long before getting started on the follow up, which was recorded in Scotland and New York. The band’s style has matured and developed. The sound is still unmistakably Franz Ferdinand but they’ve tapped into something deeper and more resonant, from the moving epic 'Walk Away' to the first single 'Do You Want To'. 'Not as easy listening as their first album but still has the same mix of catchy songs,' according to amazon reviewers.
Book of the month
Anansi boys by Neil Gaiman
The new novel from a cult fantasy author. If his estranged father hadn't dropped dead at a karaoke night, Charlie Nancy would still be blissfully unaware that his dad was Anansi the spider god. He would have no idea that he has a brother called Spider, who is also a god. And there would be no chance that said brother would be trying to take over his life, flat and fiancée. Or, to make matters worse, be doing a much better job of it than him.
Desperate to reclaim his life, Charlie enlists the help of four eccentric old ladies and their unique brand of voodoo - and between them they unleash a bitter and twisted force to get rid of Spider. Described by the writer Manda Scott as, 'Thoughtful, wise, spiritually challenging and incredibly funny'.
Success for British films at the box office
British films doubled their takings at the global box office last year thanks to Harry Potter and Bridget Jones. These two films led the way, taking £844 million worldwide between them. Cinema admissions stood at 171 million last year, up 2.4 per cent, with film fans spending £770 million at the box office. The UK has the second-largest admissions figure in Europe after France.
Currently a film is defined as British if 70 per cent of the production cost is spent in the UK and the film company is registered in the European Union. But the Government wants to change the rules in favour of a points tally so that the number of British writers, characters, locations and technicians employed all count towards a threshold that will define a British production.
The Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival is presented to the outstanding new comedy performer. This year's winner was Laura Solon. The Director of the Awards commented, 'Laura Solon is an extraordinary writer and performer who will become a major star.' But there were plenty of other up and coming comedians performing in Edinburgh. Alan Carr 'has got terrific style, and has his own individual identity', according to the director William Burdett-Coutts.
Rhod Gilbert is another. Fellow comedian Ed Byrne says of him, 'He has a look of misery and a feel for the absurd that somehow elevates mundane subjects to new heights.' Steve Hughes impressed the impressionist Rory Bremner: 'original and funny'. These are just a few of the newer names to look out for in UK comedy.