Daniel Johnston, cult US indie songwriter, dies aged 58

Manager confirms Johnston, whose naive songwriting was beloved of Kurt Cobain, died of a heart attack Daniel Johnston, an eccentric, enduring and much beloved figure in the US indie rock scene, has died aged 58 following a heart attack. The news was confirmed by his manager Jeff Tartakov. Numerous cultural figures have paid tribute to the cult songwriter once a favourite of Kurt Cobain including Beck, Judd Apatow and Ezra Furman, who described him as one of my best teachers. Actor Elijah Wood wrote: What a gentle, beautiful treasure. So sad to hear youve left us. Born in California in 1961 and raised in West Virginia, Johnston became known as a songwriter after moving to Austin, Texas. His popularity grew …

‘Incel’ violence is horrific, but Joker is complex, and doesn’t take sides

Alarmist reactions to the rightwing film starring Joaquin Phoenix as a needy, dangerous wannabe star comic overlook its subtler points Tincel culture, or involuntary celibates men who see themselves as losers and beta males who women dont want to sleep with. Angry, misogynistic and feeling entitled to sex and attention, incels have been prone to real-world violence, as with the Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (obsessed by Betsy), he becomes romantically intrigued by Sophie (Zazie Beetz), a pretty girl he barely knows, his fantasies go into overdrive. Yet romance and sex, or lack of these, is not a major factor in Jokers move towards violence; he never expresses any particular malice toward Sophie. Rather, Arthur is driven by a ( …

Edna OBrien: I want to go out as someone who spoke the truth

The Irish novelist on her searing new novel, scandal, regrets, religion and… football In May 2017, I watched Richard Ford attests, a work of profound empathy and grace, its narrative leavened by deftly wrought moments of maternal intimacy that possess a quiet but almost luminous intensity. OBrien is 88. Girl is her 19th novel and she has intimated that it may be her last. It may yet prove to be her most powerful. The idea for the novel came from a newspaper report about a girl who was found wandering in Sambisa Forest in Nigeria. Every day the newspapers are full of novels waiting to be written, but this small item resonated in my inner mind, she recalls. The girl …

James Acaster: Adulthood is still a bit daunting

When the comics life fell apart, he sought solace in the music of 2016. He discusses the songs that saved his life Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999, and a run of acclaimed Netflix specials, Acaster had an annus horribilis in 2017. Over 12 months, he broke up with his girlfriend, parted ways with his agent, and his mental health suffered, all while the world seemed to be imploding with Trump, Perfect Sound Whatever, out now, is the tale of Acasters new record collection, his personal challenges, and how he made it through to the other side. Here he selects five songs that saved his life, from skittish Japanese electronica to yodelling. Music to make you love or laugh. Jeff RosenstockPerfect …

JD Salinger estate finally agrees to ebook editions

Authors son explains that wish for accessibility has persuaded trustees to look past his fathers dislike of digital media After years of refusing to allow publishers to digitise his works, the estate of JD Salinger has announced that the authors famously small body of work will be published as ebooks for the first time. Salingers son Matt said that the author had always valued accessibility, but preferred the experience of reading a physical book. The Catcher in the Rye author, who died in 2010 at the age of 91, also hated the internet; Matt And in 2009, Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury told the New York Times: They wanted to put a book of mine on Yahoo! You know what …

What Seinfeld can teach us about science

From micro pigs to the doping dangers of a poppy seed bagel, life may be imitating the US sitcom When Jerry Seinfeld UK 1981 HBO debut, he said of weather forecasts: And then my favourite part, the satellite photo. This is really helpful. A photograph of the Earth from 10,000 miles away. Can you tell if you should take a sweater or not from that shot? His eponymous 90s sitcom is also packed with nuanced references to science, with the storylines of some of the most famous episodes centred on it: George Costanza pretends to be a scientist in The Marine Biologist, while in The Abstinence he becomes a boffin after swearing off sex. In The Non-Fat Yogurt, Kramer has …

Notes from a Hollywood divorce: ‘We had a primal connection. But we hung by a thread for years’

I wrote a part for my husband in my first movie. By the time filming was over, so was our marriage In every city Ive lived, my sister has been the one to set up the printer, testing it by printing me the lyrics to George Michaels Freedom! 90. I am not the only grown woman entwined with their family, as I am not the only British person entwined with George Michael. When, in 2010, he drove his car through the wall of the Hampstead Snappy Snaps, the resulting hole was quickly daubed with the legend WHAM, by a local who meant it in a loving way. Walking to the underground, I saw it (as well as the aftermath and …

The 140-tonne, fire-breathing crane: inside Glastonbury’s hottest attraction

Powered by chip fat, this enormous crane rescued from Bristol docks is about to become the festivals dance hotspot. We have no idea if it will work, say the duo behind it The idea, says Pip Rush, is to take over the sky. Were standing on a 140-tonne crane, 30 metres above the Glastonbury festival site. Rush and his collaborator Bert Cole are sanguine as they take in the view, but Im clutching the railings, summer breeze blowing through the jasmine of my freaking mind. From its birth in 1975 until it was rendered obsolete by bigger kit, this crane lifted loads at Avonmouth Docks in Bristol. Rush and Cole bought it for an undisclosed sum, chopped it into two …

‘Straight pride’ group removes Brad Pitt as mascot after backlash

The campaign, which has ties to far-right US groups and advocates for oppressed majority of heterosexuals, took down images of the actor A small group of men with ties to far-right groups who have applied for a license to hold a Straight Pride March in the US have taken down a photograph of Brad Pitt from their website after the actor complained. Three men, who call their campaign Super Happy Fun America, had adopted the actor as an unofficial mascot for the movement, which advocates on behalf of the straight community and describes straight people as an oppressed majority. The move follows a complaint by Pitts representatives, who confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter on Thursday that they had officially requested …

11 people killed in Virginia Beach mass shooting, several others injured. ‘Thoughts and prayers’ are not enough.

BREAKING: A shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal center has resulted in “multiple injuries,” police say, adding that a suspect is in custody. https://t.co/7jwIX0PVHe — The Associated Press (@AP) May 31, 2019 A mass-shooting in Virginia Beach has left 11 people dead and many other injured.  According to the Washington Post, a longtime municipal employee opened fire in a public works building before being killed by police who exchanged gunfire with the assailant. One officer is among the wounded. Police Chief Kames A. Cervera said that his life was saved by his protective vest as he was hit by the gunman who “fired indiscriminately” throughout the building. “This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach.” said …

Siege review: Michael Wolff’s Trump tale is Fire and Fury II fire harder

The follow-up to the first tell-all is a wild ride, stretching credulity and heavily indebted to Steve Bannon. But so is the president Michael Wolff is back and Fire and Fury ended. Once again, it leaves the president bruised and readers shaking their heads. Jared Kushner, Mike Pence, Don McGahn. None escape unscathed. As Wolff describes it, Donald Trump calls Kushner a girl. As for his vice-president, hes a religious nut. Why does he look at me like that? Trump asks about Pences beatific gaze. As for Pences wife, Karen? She really gives me the creeps. Steve Bannon supplies a running commentary for which Wolff calls him his Virgil. Like Dantes Inferno, Siege ends on hells bottom rung. Wolffs tale …

Meet the 10-year-old drag kid shaping the future of drag youth

It’s about to be Pride season, the time of year when brands cash in on “diversity” and emblazon a bunch of crap with the rainbow flag. Every once in a while, however, a brand does something that actually moves the LGBTQ community forward. Take the latest ad from Gillette, which was posted on Thursday and which features a young trans teen from Canada by the name of Samson Bonkeabantu Brown, shaving for the first time. Try to watch this without tearing up. SEE ALSO: Women and girls will feel so seen by new guidelines for their mental health The ad is effective not only because of its writing, which ignores clichés, but because the producers actually cast a trans person …

Best graduation gifts for him: 50+ gift ideas

Every year, graduation season means a fresh new batch of grads are about to enter full-on adulthood. If you know a guy who is gearing up to walk across the stage in a cap and gown to receive his diploma, but you’re not sure what to get him for his special day, keep reading. College graduation is a great time for gift giving because there are so many different categories of things graduates would be happy to receive. You can go the practical route and gift smart home devices or kitchen appliances. Or you can opt for a more fun gift like gadgets or games. You could even venture into the subscription service world for a gift that keeps giving …

Social media causes youth depression, survey says

Community care involves care performed for whole groups of peopleImage: bob al-greene / mashable If you’ve spent any time on planet Earth in the past five years, chances are that someone has recommended that you “Take some time for self-care.” Maybe a friend has encouraged you to enjoy a “Treat yo’ self” kind of day. Maybe they’ve told you to make yourself a bubble bath or get a gel manicure or download a self-care app that can teach you how to breathe better. At the heart of all this advice is the same operational principle: If you want to feel better, you need to do the labor yourself, for yourself. That’s why some experts, like Nakita Valerio, a Toronto-based community …

The trouble with the tapback: No one agrees what they actually mean

They are instruments of chaos.Image: Vicky Leta / Mashable In September 2016, Apple released iOS 10. With it came the iMessage Tapback, the convenient and highly ambiguous reaction feature that — nearly three years later — no one quite knows how to use. Tapbacks were created, one assumes, to make texting more convenient. It’s true that they’re nearly effortless to employ: Simply press on a message until you’re presented with the Tapback options — a heart, a thumbs up, a thumbs down, a HAHA, a double exclamation point, and a question mark — and pick the one you want. Easy, right? You didn’t even have to type anything! Here’s the trouble, though. There’s no practical consensus on what, exactly, Tapbacks are supposed …

Best graduation gifts for her: 50 gift ideas for college grads

Springtime means bright blooms, longer days, and a new class that’s getting ready to graduate. For you that means watching a woman you’re proud of accept her diploma, which also means you need to find the perfect gift for her. Depending on her interests, your grad might have useful items on her wishlist like kitchen appliances or a new laptop, or she might want something a little more fun like a vlogging camera or some cool gadgets. Regardless, you want to make her feel special for earning her degree and this gift guide is sure to include something she’ll love. There are plenty of ways to say “congratulations,” whether that’s through a heartfelt piece of jewelry or the latest tech …