This story begins in 1997 with the Radiohead album OK Computer. Before this record, the English band had released two guitar-heavy albums that placed them at the forefront of the British alternative rock music scene. OK Computer was a more ambitious, mysterious and committed album. In the midst of the nationalistic optimism of Britpop, with then-prime minister Tony Blair and his Labour Party in power, Radiohead looked behind the mirror and forecast the dystopian future that was just around the corner. OK Computer exalted the band, but incurred the wrath of many critics who derided it for being pretentious.
That same tension was also being felt within the five band members: Thom Yorke, brothers Jonny and Colin Greenwood, Philip Selway and Ed O’Brien. The documentary Meeting People Is Easy revealed the unease the musicians were experiencing during their world tour for OK Computer and looked at their discomfort with fame. At the end of the tour, the band was exhausted. The members were in crisis, suffering from writer’s block and there were concerns the group might break up. Amid these problems, recording their fourth album stretched on for 18 months. The band wanted to break with the typical melodies and structures of rock and draw on influences from electronic music, ambient music, krautrock and jazz. The rise of groups imitating Radiohead’s sound also contributed to their desire to break with their past .
“Ninety percent of groups that call themselves alternative aren’t. An alternative group is one that brings something new and there are very few of them. Groups constantly repeat their formula,” Ed O’Brien told EL PAÍS in 2000. The musicians gave themselves the challenge of working with synthesizers and using instruments they didn’t know how to play.
Radiohead decided to release what was going to be a double album as two separate records. Kid A was released first in October 2000, and was followed by Amnesiac seven months later. Now, a reissue of both records called Kid a Amnesia is reimagining what they would have been like as a double album. The reissue, which is set to be released on November 5, also features a third disc, Kid Amnesiae, which contains previously unreleased material from the recording sessions of both albums.
Kid A and Amnesiac are considered today as a watershed moment for the band. This is particularly true of the former, which reached number one in the United Kingdom and in the United States. This was the first time Radiohead had had a record that topped the charts in the US. Many music critics lambasted the album when it first came out, but over time it won praise: magazines such as Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and The Times named it the best album of 2000.
Kid A was not just a musical milestone for Radiohead, it also revolutionized industry practice. The band decided to take advantage of its status and set down its own rules on how it wanted to release the album. There was minimal promotion. They didn’t release singles or music videos, and only sent out 10-second-long animated films with music and artwork called “blips,” setting the precedent for today’s teasers, Instagram stories and TikTok videos.
On the day of its release, London radio stations had to play the album in its entirety and in the correct order, without having received an advance copy. Radiohead refused to do a photoshoot for the British magazine Q, and instead provided digitally altered portraits of the band members looking like alien-like monsters. These images were projected onto the Houses of Parliament in London and placed on posters and billboards to turn Radiohead “back into a product,” Yorke said.
Kid A is also considered to be the first album that used the internet as the main channel for promotion. In 1997, Radiohead were already web pioneers: they opened an official webpage and forum, and were connecting and communicating with the main fan websites of the band. In 1999, Ed O’Brien started a blog on which he discussed the process of recording the new album. The first songs of Kid A were heard on June 15, 2000, in Tívoli Theater in Barcelona, where the band was starting their four-month European tour before the release of the album. Influenced by the book No Logo by Naomi Klein, the band wanted the tour to be free of sponsors.
The concert in Barcelona was filmed and widely shared online. Kid A was also leaked on the peer-to-peer file sharing network Napster. Thom Yorke was sympathetic towards the fans who had pirated the album, and the band decided to introduce an application on their website that allowed anyone to stream the record and embed it for free on their webpages. They were the first band to do this. Just as the world was entering a new millennium, Radiohead changed the paradigm of the kind of relationship a successful artist should have with the media, the industry and the public. It marked a point of no return for the band – one which, according to journalist Steven Hyden, invented contemporary music culture as we know it today.
Census 2022 – what difference does it make?
Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.
But what it is it all about?
At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.
The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.
The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.
Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.
Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.
And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.
Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture
Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.
At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.
During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.
When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”
He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.
During the commercial break, Will Smith is pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who motion for him to brush it off. Will appears to wipe tears from his eyes as he sits back down with Jada, with Denzel comforting Jada and Will’s rep by his side. pic.twitter.com/uDGVnWrSS2
— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) March 28, 2022
The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”
On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.
House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022
House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.
Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.
The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites myhome.ie and daft.ie, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.
Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.
This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.
MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.
It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.
“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.
“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.
“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.
“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.
He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.
Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.
Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.
The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.
“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”
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