Obituary: DMX, the record-breaking rapper with bark and bite

Rapper DMX was one of America’s most successful stars of the late 1990s and 2000s, whose achievements earned him a place in music history when he became the first artist to see his first five albums go to number one in the Billboard charts.

They sold 14 million copies in the US and earned him three Grammy nominations, and he enjoyed a parallel career as the star of blockbuster action films.

The secret to DMX’s musical power was his singular ability to be commercial while keeping his hardcore credibility intact.

Intensity and theatricality were his trademarks, from his imposing muscular and tattooed physique to the gruffness of his delivery.

But DMX was more than a carefully curated performer for whom style masked a lack of substance. His lyrics switched between pained soul-searching spirituality and the very real and present dangers of life on the street.

Over the years, the emotional intensity of DMX’s music was equalled, and arguably driven, by his very public battle with inner demons, which led to years of substance abuse, stints in rehab, multiple arrests and prison sentences for offences including drug and unlicensed gun possession, animal cruelty, tax evasion and assault.

In an interview in 2020 with fellow rapper and activist Talib Kweli on his People’s Party podcast, DMX told how his crack addiction began at 14 when a 30-year-old music mentor offered him a marijuana cigarette that had been laced with crack cocaine.

“This guy, this guy, this guy… he introduced me to the best part of my life which would be the rap, but he passed the blunt around and I hit the blunt,” he said.

“I later found out that he laced the blunt with crack. Why would you do that to a child? He was like 30 and he knew I looked up to him. Why would you do that to someone who looks up to you?”

DMX was born Earl Simmons on 18 December 1970, and grew up in Mount Vernon, New York.

His troubled and abusive childhood saw him living in children’s homes and getting involved in violence and crime, leading to several run-ins with the police and his first arrest at 15. Those experiences were later expressed in his tortured, candid lyrics about ghetto life.

DMX also learned to befriend stray dogs, developing a strong bond with his canine friends and later having his former pet, Boomer, tattooed on his back after the dog was struck and killed by a car. DMX often used dog imagery in his lyrics, as heard in his first hit single Get At Me Dog in 1998.

The song was a gold-selling smash on the rap and dance charts and paved the way for his full-length debut, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot, to enter the Billboard chart at number one.

The same year, his autobiographical single Slippin’ would recount the rapper’s troubled life, and the track was played in federal court before the rapper’s 2018 sentencing for tax evasion.

“His life experiences were horrible,” his lawyer Murray Richman said at the time. “I’ve heard terrible tales, but I’ve never heard of such a horrible upbringing as this.”

DMX found his saving grace in hip-hop, starting out as a DJ and human beatbox, and later moving into rapping, taking his name from the DMX digital drum machine (although some suggest it also stood for Dark Man X).

Still unknown when he signed to Columbia Records in 1992, the rapper was given little attention from the label and his promotional single Born Loser came and went unnoticed.

DMX complained about the label’s neglect and was let out of his contract. He issued one further single in 1994, Make A Move, but was convicted of drug possession that same year.

He began to rebuild his career by providing guest vocals, including on LL Cool J’s 4, 3, 2, 1 and Mase’s 24 Hours To Live.

Then came It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot, which led to him being compared to the late rapper Tupac Shakur due to the force of his vocal presence.

“I think society is finally ready to deal with reality,” he’s reported to have told Def Jam Records in 1998. “So for that reason I ain’t got no choice but to blow!”

Not long after the album’s release, he was accused of rape, but was later cleared by DNA evidence. He went on to make his feature film debut in Hype Williams’ ambitious but unsuccessful Belly, which was criticised for its violence.

DMX was already working on his second album Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. It featured a controversial cover photo of the rapper covered in blood – but unfazed, fans pushed the album to the top of the chart.

Like his debut, DMX said he wanted it to convey the raw, personal trials and obstacles of life. “I want Flesh of My Flesh to be like my connection to the community,” he said.

“I want to say what’s on my people’s minds, soak up all their pain. I’ve learned that when I take it all in, I can make one brotha’s pain be understood by the world.”

With the album’s success, DMX became the first rap artist to have his first two albums reach US number one within a year. “I wrote fast,” DMX told MTV in 1999.

That year, he joined the Hard Knock Life tour with fellow rap stars Jay-Z, Method Man, and Redman, and formed an ill-fated rap supergroup with Jay-Z and Ja Rule.

As a solo artist, DMX proved to be no flash in the pan, going on to top the charts again with his third and best-selling album And Then There Was X, which was nominated for best rap album at the Grammys; and the follow-ups The Great Depression and Grand Champ.

He also released singles like Ruff Ryders’ Anthem, What’s My Name, Party Up (Up In Here), and Who We Be, the latter two of which were also Grammy-nominated.

While DMX preserved his status as a rap icon, he also sought other outlets for his talents.

He starred in the action films Romeo Must Die, with Jet Li and Aaliyah in 2000, and Exit Wounds, with Steven Seagal in 2001, which became box office hits despite lacklustre reviews. They were was followed by a reunion with Li in 2003’s Cradle 2 The Grave.

In his review of Cradle 2 the Grave, Scott Brown of Entertainment Weekly said of DMX: “He’s not what you’d call a good actor – he’s not even what you’d call an actor – but… he’s shaping himself into a genuinely appealing screen presence.”

The music kept coming too, with the release of 2006’s album Year Of The Dog… Again, and Undisputed in 2012.

But his battle with drugs remained a powerful force and led to convictions for drug and gun possession. In 2001, he served a 15-day prison sentence for a driving offence, during which he was accused of assaulting a guard. There were also further legal issues involving animal cruelty, reckless driving and theft, some of which led to spells in prison.

The rapper’s mental health became a topic in some interviews, and in particular whether he had bipolar disorder.

In a 2011 interview with ABC 15 Arizona, the rapper said “X” wasn’t a true reflection of himself.

“X is the bad guy. That’s not who I am. I’m not the person the media portrays me to be,” he said. “I used to be really clear on who was what and what characteristics each personality had.

“But I don’t know. At this point, I’m not even sure there is a difference. I’m Earl when I’m with my children. I miss my children.” The rapper had 15 children from several relationships. He wed Tashera Simmons in 1999 and they were married for 11 years and remained friends.

In 2016, a near-fatal overdose saw DMX collapse in the parking lot of a hotel in New York. He was revived when a paramedic injected him with an anti-opioid used to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.

The following year, he cancelled a series of performances to re-enter rehab. “It is important right now that he take some time off to focus on his health so that he can be a better father, friend and entertainer,” his manager Pat Gallo said.

Prosecution for tax evasion followed in 2018, with the rapper owing $1.7m in unpaid taxes from income made between 2002 and 2005. He was also found to have failed to have filed taxes from 2010 to 2015, during which time he was estimated to have made at least $2.3m.

A judge called his tax fraud “brazen and blatant” and sentenced him to one year in prison. Following his release in 2019, DMX returned to rehab.

In his interview with Talib Kweli, DMX said he had learned that it was important for his recovery to be open about his problems and to not be afraid to ask for help.

“I learned that I had to deal with the things that hurt me,” the rapper said. “I didn’t really have anybody to talk to… in the hood, nobody wants to hear that.

“Talking about your problems is viewed as a sign of weakness when actually it’s one of the bravest things you can do. One of the bravest things you can do is put it on the table, chop it up, and just let it out.”

Neighbours: Actress Sharon Johal also alleges racism on soap

A third Neighbours star, Sharon Johal, has spoken out about the racism she says she endured on the set of the popular Australian soap opera.

The Australian actress, who has Indian heritage, left the show in March after four years as character Dipi Rebecchi.

Johal said she had faced racist taunts from white castmates, and felt further targeted when she asked for help.

She said she felt “morally compelled” to voice her trauma after two Aboriginal stars did so last week.

The former lawyer and Melbourne-based actress described it as a “human rights issue”.

On-set racism allegations were first raised by former cast members Meyne Wyatt and Shareena Clanton. Clanton had said it was “traumatising to work in such a culturally unsafe space”.

In response, production company Fremantle Media said it would hold a review into the allegations.

Clanton praised Johal’s expression on Tuesday, commenting on her Instagram post: “So it begins… I am with you and so proud of you for speaking up.”

In a 1,500 word statement on Tuesday, Johal said she had experienced “direct, indirect and casual racism” on the set from other castmates and crew members. She did not identify anyone.

She said one former castmate compared her to a bobble-head toy, and repeatedly mimicked Indian character Apu from The Simpsons in her presence “with accompanying Indian accent and movement of head” – despite Johal requesting they desist.

Another castmate, still on the show, had also repeatedly referred to her as “you people” when talking about people of Indian descent in a derogatory way.

Johal said when she asked what the castmate had meant, she was told: “You know, Indians.”

She was later alerted by crew members that the same castmate had also called her “the black one” or “blackie” behind her back.

She alleged they had also repeatedly voiced claims on set that the show had only hired Indian actors to “fill their diversity quotas” and “not because they’re any good.”

When she raised complaints with management, no disciplinary action was taken and she was further targeted, she said.

“While they were sympathetic and the actor [was] questioned on one occasion .. no further action was taken.”

Management also failed to protect her when she asked for moderation of racist abuse posted on the show’s social media accounts, she says.

“I was again sympathised with, but was advised: “We leave the comments as they are for people to discuss.”

Johal said she also felt isolated and marginalised by other cast members, who she alleges witnessed the behaviour – including the Apu mimicking incident- but did not help or support her when she spoke up.

“I did not have faith that I would be adequately supported should I have taken the action to instigate a formal investigation into the allegations,” he said.

In response to Johal’s allegations on Tuesday, Fremantle Media said: “We remain committed to ensuring a respectful and inclusive workplace for all employees on the set of Neighbours and take very seriously any questions about racism or any other form of discrimination.”

Johal commended Fremantle Media’s investigation and requested that it be widened to include all forms of discrimination.

She noted she had been “one of the few people of colour” to have been a series regular in the show’s 36-year history and the show had “taken great strides” in including diverse characters.

But much more needed to be done and some storylines and scripts were “culturally insensitive” she added.

She said she had decided to speak publicly in the hope that “this can be a transformative moment in the show’s history” and in Australia’s screen industry more broadly.

A 2018 Screen Australia industry report found that only 7% of characters on screen were from non-European backgrounds, compared to 17% of the population.

Meet the songwriters who told pop stars: Dont steal from us

In 1974, Dolly Parton was on a hot streak.

She had just scored two consecutive number ones on the US country chart with Jolene and I Will Always Love You, and was beginning to make inroads with the mainstream pop audience.

Then Elvis Presley called – he’d heard I Will Always Love You and wanted to record a cover.

“You cannot imagine how excited I am about this,” she told him. “This is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me as a songwriter.”

So why have we never heard Presley’s version of the song?

Because the night before the recording session, his notoriously hard-nosed manager, Colonel Tom Parker, called Parton and told her Elvis wouldn’t record the song unless she handed over half of the publishing rights.

“I said, ‘Well, that throws a new light on this. Because I can’t give you half the publishing. I’m gonna leave that to my family,'” the singer told Reba McEntire’s podcast in 2020.

“And he said, ‘Well, then we can’t do it.’ And I cried all night.”

But Parton had the last laugh. When Whitney Houston recorded her blockbuster version of I Will Always Love You for The Bodyguard soundtrack in 1992, the country star still owned the rights, and earned “enough money to buy Graceland”.

Parton wasn’t the only writer to clash heads with Colonel Parker. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who wrote dozens of Elvis’s hits, from Hound Dog to Jailhouse Rock, originally agreed to share a percentage of their publishing with the star – on the understanding that they’d make more money from 50% of an Elvis song than 100% of a track that didn’t feature his smooth vocals.

But their patience wore thin in the 1960s when, after agreeing to write songs for an upcoming film, Colonel Parker sent them a contract that consisted of a blank page with two lines at the bottom for their signatures.

Thinking there’d been a mistake, the duo called the Colonel’s office, only to be told the document was genuine. Their response? Well, it’s unprintable here, but let’s just say they never worked with Elvis again.

Stories like these have become part of music industry folklore. But the practices that Colonel Parker initiated still persist.

In fact, the pressure on writers to surrender their songs has become so pervasive that a group of the world’s biggest hitmakers recently broke cover to bring the practice to light.

Calling themselves The Pact, they signed an open letter last month, in which they vowed to stop giving away publishing or songwriting credit to anyone who did not contribute to the music, unless they received “equivalent [or] meaningful” compensation.

You might not recognise the signatories names, but you have definitely heard their music. Collectively, their clients include people like Justin Bieber, Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Michael Bublé, Lorde and Sam Smith (although the letter was not directed at any specific artists).

The campaign was organised by US writer Emily Warren, after she became tired of writers being “bullied” into giving up a share of their royalties.

“That’s what really pushed me to start this,” she says. “I was like, ‘I can’t be spoken to this way by someone I’m giving songs to. It’s painful and it’s not right. I don’t want to accept being spoken to that way.'”

Warren, who recently received a Grammy nomination for her work on Dua Lipa’s Don’t Start Now, says that demands for co-writing credit start with a 1% share, rising as high as 20%, with an average of about 15%.

Writers who object are told their song won’t be used, or it will be relegated to an album track, harming their chances of making money.

“You’ve been conditioned to think that if you walk away, someone else will take your place,” says Tayla Parx, another Pact member, whose credits include Ariana Grande’s Thank U Next and High Hopes by Panic! At The Disco.

She says that, in recent years, artists have started demanding a share of the publishing “ninety-nine per cent of the time”.

“The crazy thing is, it used to be rare. People would say, ‘OK, if a legendary artist is recording the song, then maybe I’d be open to it.’ But now you have even newer artists coming in and demanding it.”

Justin Tranter, a co-writer on hits for Selena Gomez, Britney Spears, the Jonas Brothers and Lady Gaga, says the demands frequently defy belief.

He recalls a song from the start of his career, where he and a co-writer dreamt up the chorus and the key lyric – only to be sidelined when it came to the credits.

“I was like, I wrote this lyric alone in my bedroom in a house where I live with six people, because I’m broke – and then me and this brilliant woman wrote the melody and the chorus together, and we were offered the smallest piece out of everybody.

“We fought for a tiny bit more, but we still ended up with the smallest piece – the people who wrote the most important part of the song.”

Tranter says its easy for songwriters to be squeezed out because they hold very little bargaining power.

“It’s a logistical thing: Without the artist, the song’s never going to come out. Without the producer, the files aren’t going to be handed over to the record label. So the songwriters are the only one who actually, logistically, can be dismissed. Which is hysterical, because without us, there’s no song.”

Tranter and others stress that many major artists genuinely do contribute to the writing of songs. Even if they don’t, the idea of sharing credit isn’t necessarily objectionable.

“I don’t care that much if an artist needs to have their name on there,” says Warren, recognising that a singer can bolster their credibility if they can “go to an interview and say they wrote the song”.

Instead, The Pact is calling for a “meaningful exchange” in return for a share of the publishing.

“Some people might negotiate a writing fee or an upstreaming bonus – which is where if a song reaches a certain milestone, like 10 million streams, the writer gets a bonus,” explains Warren.

Another option is to give writers a share of the master, meaning they would get royalties when a song is sold or downloaded.

“There’s a few different ways to cut it,” says Warren. “It’s up to each person to negotiate what they think.”

Since The Pact launched two weeks ago, more than 1,000 people have signed the open letter; and Parx says there has been an “incredible response” from artists and their managers.

Among them is Sam Harris, of the US rock band X Ambassadors, who called the campaign a “wake-up call”.

“I’ve been in situations where I have asked for publishing on songs that I didn’t write,” he said in an Instagram video.

“And didn’t at the time think, ‘OK, what is this doing to these people who actually wrote the song? How are they feeling about this?’ And that’s not fair.

“This is a cut-throat business sometimes and if we don’t look out for each other and hold each other accountable, it’s just going to keep going.”

Warren was impressed by his candour.

“That’s such a cool and amazing response, which is what we’re looking for.”

Pact’s strategy of not naming-and-shaming artists is deliberately designed to elicit solidarity.

In any case, says Parx, singers often aren’t aware that they’re taking money away from their collaborators.

“Most artists don’t understand the business of the music business,” says Parx. “So when their manager or their label tells them, ‘This is what you’re going to do’, that’s what they do.

“And I don’t even hold it against [managers] when they try to get the best deal. They’re doing their job. But you have to also understand there’s the right way to do that, and there’s a middle ground to be found.”

Certainly, that’s a more palatable approach than going to court. Recent years have seen writers and performers racking up millions of dollars in legal fees as they fight to prove ownership of a song.

The two highest-profile cases concerned Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven (the estate of Spirit guitarist Randy California unsuccessfully claimed the band had stolen the riff from him) and Katy Perry’s Dark Horse (the case, which is still ongoing, centres around a four-note motif that appeared in an earlier song by the rapper Flame).

Lauryn Hill was also accused of stealing songs for her Grammy-winning solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. That case was settled out of court for a reported $5m (£3.6m). Meanwhile, a trial involving Ed Sheeran is set to take place in the US over alleged similarities between his song Thinking Out Loud and Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On.

Cases like these illustrate how hard it is to establish who wrote what in the studio – and the writers behind The Pact acknowledge that negotiating such deals can be a murky business.

Their goal, therefore, is to unite against bad practices and force the music industry to recognise the value of its songwriters.

“For us to have been put in a place where I’m so unimportant that I’m not even going to fight back when someone’s stealing from me, is so twisted,” says Warren.

“This is the first baby step of self-respect.”

“This isn’t just songwriters against everybody,” adds Parx. “It’s everybody against the old way of doing business. And that benefits everybody at the end of the day.”

That said, Warren isn’t afraid to get tough if the industry refuses to play ball.

“If this goes on, we’ll probably give one warning and then we’re not going to be afraid to post correspondences and stuff like that,” she warns.

“But luckily, I’ve found that [we’re making] a pretty bullet-proof point. It’s hard to argue the other side and not sound like you’re stealing – so that’s been pretty cool.”

Tranter stresses that the campaign isn’t about making more money for himself.

“My life is great,” he acknowledges. “With lots of luck and a shocking amount of hard work, I got through the exploitation and still found ways to have a life that I dreamed of.

“So this is not about me at all. I want to make sure that the next generation of songwriters, who have maybe only had one hit, or a couple of album cuts, can pay their rent.”

If it works, says Warren, it could fundamentally change the way music is made.

“Right now, when you get songwriters in the room, they’re trying to write a radio hit, because that’s the only way you make money.

“If we create an environment where songwriters are not worried about this, if they’re not freaking out about paying their rent, and they’re just able to focus on being creative, there will be a musical renaissance.

“It will change everything.”

Ludwig Ahgren breaks Twitch subscription record after 31-day stint

Viewers watched him eat, game, and even sleep in a bed that looked like a red sports car.

After streaming on Twitch non-stop for 31 consecutive days, Ludwig Ahgren has broken the website’s record for having the most paying subscribers.

At the time of writing, he had 282,847 and the number is still climbing.

The previous record was set in 2018, when Tyler “Ninja” Blevins amassed 269,154 subscribers.

Ninja tweeted his congratulations to 25-year-old Ludwig, saying “records are meant to be broken”.

Video games website Kotaku described the accomplishment as a “heck of a record”. The third-highest number of subscriptions peaked at 114,387 – a long way behind Ludwig and Ninja’s records.

Twitch offers three tiers of paid subscriptions – and a portion goes to the content creators themselves. It is not yet clear how much money Ludwig has made.

The achievement will have helped raise both his profile and that of the Amazon-owned video-streaming platform.

At the start of the “subathon” (short for subscription marathon) every new subscription added 10 seconds to Ludwig’s stream.

He initially thought he would stream for 24 to 48 hours, according to the New York Times, but as the count grew, so did the duration of his livestream.

One month later and possibly with no end in sight, he stopped streaming on Tuesday evening.

In a tweet, Ludwig put into perspective just how long a month can be by highlighting some of the big news stories that had happened during his stint.

Ludwig or his moderators would play videos or movies if he was showering or using the bathroom.

On his final day of streaming, he donated $5 (£3.60) from every new subscription to charity. It is not yet known how much he had raised.

According to USA Today, Ludwig joked he would be “swimming in” cash, and had said: “Let’s try to donate as much money as possible today.”

But the subscription record is not the only thing Ludwig broke.

He and his friends took turns destroying the plastic sports car bed frame in the final hours of the livestream.

They used a baseball bat and sledgehammer before eventually tossing the pieces over the edge of his porch.

Cody Godwin is a reporter based in San Francisco. For more news, follow her on Twitter at @MsCodyGodwin

Bafta Film Awards 2021: Hugely diverse nominations list unveiled

The Bafta Film Awards have unveiled a highly diverse nominations list, with 16 of the 24 acting nominees this year coming from ethnic minority groups.

Nomadland and Rocks lead the nominations for the 2021 ceremony, with seven nominations apiece.

The Father, Mank, Minari and Promising Young Woman all score six nods each.

Four women are nominated in the best director category, including Chloe Zhao for Nomadland. She won the same award at the Golden Globes last week.

But the biggest surprise is in the acting categories. Not one actor of colour was nominated last year, so the British Academy had faced pressure to diversify this year’s nominees.

That has resulted in a significant swing, with Daniel Kaluuya, Riz Ahmed, Dominique Fishback, Tahar Rahim and Bukky Bakray among the 16 nominees from ethnic minority backgrounds in the acting categories.

But many of the predicted nominees missed out, including Viola Davis, Carey Mulligan, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Olivia Colman, Glenn Close and Gary Oldman.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony without a live audience on 11 April.

7 nominations – Nomadland, Rocks

6 – The Father, Mank, Minari, Promising Young Woman

5 – The Dig, The Mauritanian

4 – Another Round, Calm With Horses, Judas and the Black Messiah, News of the World, Sound of Metal

3 – The Trial of the Chicago 7, His House, Soul, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Last year’s nominations sparked criticism over the all-white acting nominees and lack of female directors.

This year, four of the six nominees in each of the acting categories are from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Meanwhile, four of the nominated directors are women, while three are also nominated for best film not in the English language.

The Telegraph’s film critic Robbie Collin said: “Umm, wow – this is the wildest slate of Bafta directing nominees I think I’ve ever seen. When I and others were moaning last year about voters unthinkingly defaulting to the obvious choices, this was basically the dream alternative scenario.”

Fellow critic Rhianna Dhillon tweeted: “I am so pumped to go on the news tonight and NOT have the same old chat about diversity! Look at that director shortlist! Look at those acting categories!”

Bafta’s nominations list is out of step with those of other ceremonies this awards season, but that was welcomed by some.

“The Brits went their own path this year,” tweeted film critic Doug Jamieson. “They clearly couldn’t care less about the Oscar race. That’s fabulous. Every awards show should have this mentality. You do you, Bafta.”

Matt Neglia, host of the Next Best Picture podcast, agreed: “Happy to see Bafta recognize some of their own films for a change instead of predicting the Oscars.”

Big changes were made this year including the introduction of a longlist system in a bid to increase viewership of all the submitted films.

Following a seven-month review into the lack of diversity last year, Bafta introduced more than 120 changes to its voting, membership and campaigning processes.

They include the introduction of a new longlist round of voting, the expansion of the outstanding British film field to 10 nominations, and increasing all four acting categories and best director to six nominees in an attempt to ensure greater diversity.

Bafta chair Krishnendu Majumdar said: “After last year’s nominations, we started the BAFTA Review process with the intention of levelling the playing field and introduced a range of measures to ensure that all entered films were seen by our members and judged on merit.

“We hope today you can see some of those changes reflected in the breadth and depth of those nominated and we congratulate all our nominees.”

Film committee chair Marc Samuelson added: “One of the key issues raised time and time again… was that too much deserving work was not being seen. The changes we are implementing are designed to ensure these films are seen and judged on merit alone.”

The new first-round longlist voting system was introduced to encourage the 6,500 Bafta members to watch a wider range of films. Members vote to decide the nominations from hundreds of films up for consideration.

Oasis contract requesting sober-speaking staff to be sold

An Oasis gig contract requesting “sober-speaking” helpers and “quality lager” for the band and crew during a 1994 performance is to be auctioned.

The paperwork is expected to sell for up to £1,500 at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire later this month.

The contract was drawn up ahead of an early Gallagher brothers’ show at The Old Trout venue in Windsor, Berkshire.

A music memorabilia specialist at Hansons, said items like this were “extremely rare.”

A two-course meal, water, fruit juice and soft drinks are also among the catering requests that feature in the Primary Talent International contract.

Hansons said the seller is a woman who worked in the music industry who bought it directly from a man who organised gigs at The Old Trout at the time.

She is looking to sell the contract, along with a flyer advertising the gig, ahead of retirement.

Claire Howell, music memorabilia specialist at Hansons, said: “Items like this are extremely rare and this lot comes with great provenance.

“It’s valued at £1,000-£1,500 but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it sell for more.

“It could easily whip up a bidding frenzy among fans at auction, such is the enduring popularity and nostalgia for Oasis.”

The performance, in May 1994, took place three months before Oasis released their debut album Definitely Maybe.

They went on to become one of the UK’s most iconic bands before splitting in 2009.

The Oasis contract is listed for sale in the music memorabilia auction on 23 March.

Vicar of Dibley star Trevor Peacock dies at 89

The Vicar Of Dibley actor Trevor Peacock has died aged 89, his agent has confirmed.

The actor played the lovable but dim-witted Jim Trott in the comedy series alongside its main star Dawn French.

His family said in statement: “Trevor Peacock, actor, writer and song-writer, died aged 89 on the morning of March 8th from a dementia-related illness.”

Parish council member Jim won viewers’ hearts with his catchphrase of “no no no no…” and his cheeky innuendo.

Although most famous for the long-running Vicar of Dibley, Peacock was also an accomplished Shakespearean actor, starring in a number off BBC productions including Titus Andronicus, Twelfth Night and Henry V.

The actor also appeared in the 1990 movie version of Hamlet and a 2000 production of Don Quixote.

And he was a successful musician and songwriter. He appeared with the Beatles in a 1964 television special Around the Beatles, and wrote a number of pop hits.

Jess Glynne apologises for using transphobic slur on podcast

Jess Glynne has apologised for using an “unacceptable” transphobic slur in an interview.

The singer appeared on comedian Mo Gilligan’s podcast last week, and told a story about visiting a transgender strip club.

The punchline of the story was about someone feeling uncomfortable around people in the venue.

Jess wrote on Instagram she is “wholeheartedly sorry” after a clip was posted online and heavily criticised.

“The way it’s such an outdated term being used by someone within the LGBT community is a massive shame,” said one user.

“I want to address my appearance on the @mothecomedian podcast, when a story I told caused massive and righteous offence,” she wrote.

“Firstly, I want to say that I am wholeheartedly sorry”.

She continued: “I know that in this case, sorry is not nearly enough, throughout my life I have made a lot of mistakes and what I have come to know is that the only benefit to making one is to learn from it.

The word Jess used in her interview is among the most commonly used slurs against trans people online – according to a recent study.

“To be in the knowledge that I have negatively impacted the community through my own ignorance has ripped out a piece of my heart.” she explained.

“I know I needed to address my mistake head on and educate myself about an issue I was frankly ignorant of.

“The language that I used on the podcast was unacceptable, as someone that has always been immersed in the LGBTQ+ community, I have witnessed first hand the progress that has been made when it comes to language, I am ashamed that I was unaware of the potency of the T-slur until now.”

The singer then shared a list of organisations we she said her followers could “learn from”.

Organisers of London Trans Pride say the singer “still has a lot of work to do”, but called her apology “a step in the right direction”.

Newsbeat asked Mo Gilligan for comment, but he hasn’t responded.

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Florence Price: Forgotten work by pioneering composer rediscovered

A forgotten work by the pioneering composer Florence Price has been rediscovered and performed for the first time in nearly 80 years.

Price made history in 1933 when she became the first African-American woman to have a symphony performed by a major US orchestra, in Chicago.

But her work faded into obscurity after her death in 1953.

Much of it was thought to be lost, until a cache of music was found in her former summer house in Chicago in 2009.

Musicologist Samantha Ege has spent the past two years trawling through those archives to reconstruct her solo piano pieces. Among them was Fantasie Nègre No 3 in F Minor, which was long presumed to be incomplete.

“The music just ended after two pages really abruptly,” Ege told the BBC. She made it her mission to find the missing pieces in Price’s archive, which is now held in the University of Arkansas.

The problem was that, while the piece starts in F minor, the second page ends in a different key – A♭ major.

Using Price’s previous compositions as a template, Ege assumed the Fantasie would return to the original key in its closing passages.

“I tried to imagine where the music could go,” she said. “But I didn’t have a piano [in the archives] so I was really just trying to work it all out in my head.”

The eureka moment came when Ege realised Price “had more to say” in the second key of A♭ major.

She quickly found pages of manuscript that seemed match the first two sheets of Fantasie Nègre No 3 just “gathering dust” in a box on a shelf.

She wasn’t convinced of her breakthrough until she went home and tried the piece out on her piano.

“When I was playing through the music and it was under my fingers it just felt magical. It felt that history was coming to life,” she told BBC arts correspondent Rebecca Jones.

“I sort of had chills thinking about the fact that I am hearing this music for the first time in this century.”

Ege subsequently recorded the piece – the first time it has been committed to tape – for a new CD, Fantasie Nègre – The Piano Music of Florence Price.

It was released on Monday, International Women’s Day, alongside recordings of Price’s other Fantasies and various “sketches and snapshots” that Ege found in the archive.

“Each one takes various ideas from a black folkloric musical tradition and blends [them] with the late 19th Century Romantic tradition,” she said. “The first Fantasy Nègre is based on a spiritual, Please Don’t Let This Harvest Pass… and I think of each one as different chapters in a very elaborate novel.

“Even though they were never published during her lifetime, she wrote them down and noted that they were some of her most worthy compositions, and so it’s really moving to be able to bring that together and perform them together.”

Ege’s work is the latest chapter in the rediscovery and reappraisal of Price’s work.

She was born Florence Smith in 1887 in Little Rock, Arkansas, to a dentist father and piano teacher mother, who encouraged her to take up the instrument.

She went on to study at the New England Conservatory of Music, one of the few music schools to accept black students at the time, and earned two diplomas in piano and organ. By 1910, she was head of the music department at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1912, she married Thomas J Price and they moved back to her home town – but racial tensions were on the rise and, after a public lynching in 1927, the family moved to Chicago.

When her husband struggled to find work, the couple divorced, but Price retained her married name and made ends meet by teaching piano, playing the organ for silent film screenings and writing advertising jingles under the name Vee Jay.

At the same time, she started entering composing competitions, winning several prizes. Her big break came in 1932, when her First Symphony won the orchestral category in the Wanamaker Music Composition Contest. That caught the attention of conductor Frederick Stock, who premiered the symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra the following year.

Despite that success, she often struggled to get her music played in a more sexist and segregated era. It was a problem she acknowledged in a 1943 letter to the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky, asking him to consider performing her music.

“I have two handicaps,” she wrote. “I am a woman and I have some Negro blood in my veins.”

She continued to write, and her music was performed in concert halls in Detroit, Michigan, and Brooklyn, New York.

The contralto Marian Anderson also sang Price’s arrangement of My Soul’s Been Anchored in De Lord as the closing song of her historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC in 1939.

After her death in 1953, Price’s music was largely overlooked by the classical music establishment, but her reputation was preserved by black musicians and newspapers, which championed her legacy.

The discovery of her archive in 2009 helped bring her music to wider audiences again, with BBC Radio 3 dedicating a five-part documentary to her story last year.

Ege said there were many more works in Price’s repertoire that remain to be recorded and publicised – and with the first festival dedicated to the composer due to take place later this year, she hopes her place in the classical music canon will be maintained.

“These pieces now need to be performed, and we need to hear them, so that we can we can appreciate Florence Price today, not just in terms of her history, but in terms of the works and the artistry that she created,” she said.

No Ofcom action over Maitliss Cummings remarks on Newsnight

Media regulator Ofcom will not take action over BBC Newsnight host Emily Maitlis’s controversial introduction about Dominic Cummings last May.

Maitlis began by saying “the country can see” the prime minister’s then aide had “broken the rules” by driving 260 miles during lockdown.

The BBC admitted this “did not meet our standards of due impartiality”.

Ofcom said Maitlis’s monologue “could be perceived” as her personal view, but that it would not take any action.

But it has warned the corporation that presenters must not “inadvertently give the impression” of giving their personal opinions.

After the BBC Two news programme was broadcast on 26 May, the BBC received more than 23,000 complaints that Maitlis’s introduction was biased against Boris Johnson’s most senior advisor, who had travelled to County Durham from London.

The Ofcom ruling said the programme went on to include “an appropriate range of significant views” after her opening remarks.

A spokesperson for the watchdog said: “We consider the programme’s opening monologue could be perceived as Ms Maitlis’s personal view on a matter of major political controversy.

“But, having assessed the programme as a whole, we also found that a range of different viewpoints were given appropriate weight, including those of the UK government.

“Given this, and taking into account the BBC’s acceptance under its own complaints processes that it fell short of its editorial guidelines, we won’t be taking further action.

“We have, however, reminded the BBC that when preparing programme introductions in news programmes, to capture viewers’ attention – particularly in matters of major political controversy – presenters should ensure that they do not inadvertently give the impression of setting out personal opinions or views.”

The BBC has conceded the script “did not meet the required standards on accuracy or impartiality” and “risked giving the perception that the BBC was taking sides and voicing an opinion on a controversial matter”.

But the broadcaster did not take any further action. Ofcom said it had received five complaints about the BBC’s handling of the matter.

Two were from people who were unhappy with the original programme and didn’t think the BBC’s subsequent response went far enough. The other three thought the programme was accurate and fair, and were unhappy that the BBC had decided it wasn’t.