3 items from 2011
Ben Drew, aka Plan B, grew up with an absent father and in the company of crack addicts. Fighting for respect, he never doubted himself. Now he is an award-winning rapper, actor, writer and director. He talks candidly to Miranda Sawyer about violence, girls, drugs, his mum, hope and the power of being an outsider
Today, at 6.15pm, Plan B will walk on to the main stage at the Glastonbury Festival as the number three headliner behind R&B goddess Beyoncé and pomp-tronica numpties Pendulum. Yet another highlight in an amazing year that's already seen the 27-year-old bag a Brit, three Ivor Novello awards and land the role of Carter in Nick Love's film of The Sweeney, opposite Ray Winstone.
Glastonbury! What does he think of Britain's maddest festival?
"It is mad," he says. "A city in a field with no police: and that's what's good and bad about it. »
- Miranda Sawyer
This week, Andrew Graham-Dixon explores 16th-century Flemish artist Jan Gossaert's second wave of artistic style and how it influenced the course of northern art, Alastair Sooke is in Paris to interview the recent recipient of the 2011 Ted prize, Parisian guerrilla street artist Jr, and Lindsay Johns speaks with Maxine Peake and Anne-Marie Duff on their roles in two of Terence Rattigan's plays. Also, Miranda Sawyer heads to Manchester to chat with Elbow about their latest album, and photographer Rankin selects his favourite moments from the BBC archives.
The trick to maintaining any ghost story is to sustain a balance of terror just the right side of straightforwardly ridiculous, and even after four episodes, Marchlands is continuing to grip. The joins between the three »
Critics reflect on how social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and myDigg, fit into the perennial debate on cultural elitism
Miranda Sawyer, broadcaster and Observer radio critic: 'Twitter has made it easier for critics to hear other people's opinions. Even then, though, you tend to hear similar views to your own'
When I was writing for the Face, during the 1990s, I went to interview some boy racers: young lads who spent all their money souping up their cars in order to screech around mini roundabouts or rev their engines in supermarket car parks until their tyres smoked. The kids asked me who I was writing for. When I said the Face – a magazine that prided itself on representing all aspects of British youth interests – every single one of them replied: "Never heard of it."
The point is that most people – especially those outside the high-culture capital of London – are »
3 items from 2011
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