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Shaun Ryder is talking TV. As one of Gogglebox’s resident celebrity armchair critics, alongside partner in crime Bez, he’s happy commentating on the small screen.

The X Factor (RIP) had its place for family viewing, he reckons – it’s good if you “sound like Frank Sinatra and can do a dance”, although he knows Happy Mondays “wouldn’t have made it through auditions” – but he has no patience for Love Island: “I can’t watch a load of adults with minds of babies.”

Ryder also keeps up with the news, especially in the 18 months since COVID-19 first hit. “The problem is, though, I don’t retain stuff, like that’s just on and done, so I’ve got to be constantly told what’s going on. Otherwise, it’s just gone.”

(L-R): Bez and Shaun Ryder, from the Happy Mondays and Black Grape, on Channel 4's Gogglebox
Ryder and his Happy Mondays bandmate Bez are now favourites on Channel 4’s Gogglebox

At 58, Ryder now, finally, has discovered the reason for his short attention span, previously blamed on his well-documented years of excess as the Madchester era’s most recognisable party animal. He was diagnosed with ADHD earlier this year, which was “like a light bulb going on” in his brain.

“It explains everything,” he says in that unmistakable Mancunian accent. “I went and got tested because out of my four daughters I had two that had [been] diagnosed with ADHD. My youngest girl was finding difficulty with the education side of things and everything. And then I went and got tested and it’s all come from me.

“But as soon as I got the result… one, it told me why my life’s been so chaotic, you know, why I didn’t learn the alphabet till I was 28 years old. Why I find things like just paying bills difficult and lots of other stuff… why as a young man, a young kid, you know, when I took drugs, I felt normal. I didn’t feel like my underpants was on back to front, you know? I felt like I was in my own skin.”

ADHD is not the only diagnosis Ryder has received recently, having caught COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic in 2020. He thinks he is suffering from long COVID, although it is getting better. “I’d be guaranteed once or twice a week I’d go completely under and have to go to bed, but over the months and months now that’s got less and less,” he says. “I’ve not had another episode for quite a few months now but I do still get one every now and then I’ll just end up floored.”

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He pauses before adding: “I could breathe, though. Main thing with me is I’ve got a fixation about breathing, so as long as I could breathe, it was all right… yeah, it’s not a good idea not to breathe, is it?”

Ryder has also had to deal with his hair falling out, the result of a change in his treatment for an underactive thyroid a few years ago. Now, it looks like it’s starting to grow back. “No, that’s a tattoo!” he says. “That’s called skin pigmentation, that, so are my eyebrows, same thing.”

Happy Mondays. Pic: Paul Husband
Ryder rose to fame with the Happy Mondays (pictured) and went on to form Black Grape (below), and is still going strong with both bands. Pics: Paul Husband
Black Grape's Shaun Ryder and Kermit. Pic: Paul Husband

The doctor told him the reason for losing his hair was stress, he says. “But to me, I’ve been the least stressful in the whole of my life.”

He certainly seems content, and has long extolled the virtues of clean living after his years of taking heroin and other drugs. He is still working with the Happy Mondays and his second band, Black Grape, and is also just about to release a solo album, Visits From Future Technology, which comes almost 20 years after his first, Amateur Night In The Big Top, which was released in 2003.

The songs on this album were actually written years ago, before he reinvented himself in the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! Jungle in 2010, and then put on the shelf while he continued to build on the nation’s newfound appreciation. During lockdown they were discovered “down the back of a sofa” and he decided to do something with them. Did he have to rewrite much to bring them up to date?

Not really, he says. “I mean, I’m always writing about the same old crap. I write about the same stuff I did back in ’88, which is like anything, madness, what I see on television, or conversations with people, or escapades that Bez gets up to and, you know, all the same stuff that I’ve wrote about for years, really. Nothing really changes in my mind. I’ve got about a million things going on at once, they all get to come out in songs.”

Fittingly, the first single is called Mumbo Jumbo. There’s also a track called Popstars Daughters, which is a tongue in cheek warning, he says. “A long time ago when I was a good looking young pop star – I could have been called a pop star, I don’t suppose now – but I’ve got four daughters, and I’ve also dated a couple of pop stars’ daughters, so… the song really I wrote for my girls is a bit of a tongue in cheek sort of thing.”

Noel Gallagher, formerly of the band Oasis, performs in concert with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at the BB&T Pavilion on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Camden, NJ. Pic: AP
Ryder has been collaborating with artists including Noel Gallagher during the pandemic. Pic: AP

As well as his solo work, he’s also been collaborating with artists including Noel Gallagher and Robbie Williams during lockdown, which “kept me busy”. He’s enjoyed his time at home, though.

“I know people have had a really bad time and people [have been] locked up on the 24th floor of the tower blocks and that, but I had an all right, er, lock up… what was it called again, when we all stopped doing it? Lockdown, yeah! I had a pretty all right lockdown. I haven’t spent that amount of time at home in the last 25 years. I got to spend a lot of time with the wife and the kids and the family.”

But now Ryder, and his family – “they’ve had enough of me now” – are ready for live gigs once again. He has a tour with Black Grape coming up and later plans to tour the solo record; the singer is double jabbed and ready to go, he says.

How does he feel about the idea of vaccine passports potentially being needed for nightclubs and gigs? “Whatever [the government] is gonna do they’ve got to do it quick and it needs doing now, whatever they’re going to do,” he says. “There’s no reason why it’s… if we’re all supposed to be vaccined up and everything then they should be opening up, stop messing about, open everything up.”

He thinks the government’s handling of the pandemic has been “a bit of hit and miss” but “I suppose whatever government would be in power, they wouldn’t have got it right, straight away”.

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On the Matt Hancock affair scandal, he laughs. “Well, what’s new there? It’s always been one law for one lot of people and another law for another lot of people. I wouldn’t expect anything else.”

Ryder has performed two shows already since restrictions lifted, one with Happy Mondays and one with Black Grape, which were great, he says. Some people chose to wear masks, others didn’t. No one was “mithered about anybody else”. He has plans in place for touring and making music over the next few years at least. “I don’t have hobbies,” he says. “I get asked what my hobbies are and my hobby is making music and playing music and being involved.”

The only thing that will stop Ryder, he says, is “doing a Tommy Cooper or whatever”. (Cooper died on stage live on television in 1984). “Look at all the ones that I grew up with, like the Stones and Tom Jones and all those guys, and The Who and Roger Daltrey. I mean, Roger Daltrey is fit as a butcher’s dog. You seen him? If you enjoy what you do you don’t stop, you just do it.”

So that’s the plan for Shaun Ryder, along with Gogglebox and his other ventures, which continue to see him living his best life, reinvented as a national treasure. How does he feel about the term?

“Well, you know…” For just a brief moment he seems lost for words. “It’s better than n**head, isn’t it? So, you know… I can live with it.”

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Spice Girls reunite for Victoria Beckham’s 50th birthday with Stop singalong




Spice Girls reunite for Victoria Beckham's 50th birthday with Stop singalong

The Spice Girls have reunited for one night only in a bar for Victoria Beckham’s birthday.

The fashion designer and singer – famously also known as Posh Spice – celebrated with her bandmates at Oswald’s club in Mayfair, London, on Saturday, after turning 50 on Wednesday last week.

David Beckham had a front row seat to the reunion when Victoria, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Geri Horner and Melanie Chisholm sang their single Stop.

The five grinned as they danced and performed the track while David, who filmed the throwback moment, smiled and sang along.

Posting the clip on Instagram on Sunday, Victoria called it “the best night ever” and wrote the hashtag “#SpiceUpYourLife”.

The last time all five Spice Girls performed together was at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London.

The Spice Girls perform during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium, August 12, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS ENTERTAINMENT)
Victoria declined to join the Spice Girls last tour in 2019. Pic: Reuters

Before her birthday celebrations, Victoria posted on Instagram that she felt “so incredibly blessed to have reached this milestone” and added she was grateful for the “unconditional love and support” of David.

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While the girl group also went on tour in 2019, Victoria declined to join them as she focused on her fashion brand.

She also told American television presenter Ellen DeGeneres the same year that “it just didn’t feel like the right thing to do,” but said: “I’ll always be Posh Spice, always.”

Singer Marc Anthony, who is godfather to Victoria and David’s son Cruz, and actress Eva Longoria – godmother to their daughter Harper – also attended the party.

Other celebrities out for Posh Spice’s birthday included Tom Cruise and Salma Hayek, as well as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jason Statham and Gordon Ramsay.

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It comes after Melanie B – also known as Scary Spice – hinted at another Spice Girls reunion in an interview with Reuters, this time with Victoria joining in.

“I can’t say exactly… but us five have been talking… for a long, long time now, many, many months,” she said.

“So, we’re going to announce something soon… and I know the fans are not going to be disappointed. It’s going to be very exciting.”

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Rebel Moon: Zack Snyder and Ed Skrein on ‘mad’ reaction and ‘media storms’ following first movie




Rebel Moon: Zack Snyder and Ed Skrein on 'mad' reaction and 'media storms' following first movie

British actor Ed Skrein says he hasn’t paid attention to any of the reactions Rebel Moon has received online.

The Deadpool star told Sky News: “The weather system of media storms does not affect me, I don’t live in the media.”

Ed Skrein as Atticus Noble in Rebel Moon. Pic: Netflix
Ed Skrein as Atticus Noble in Rebel Moon. Pic: Netflix

The first instalment of Zack Snyder’s new franchise had a limited theatrical release before being added to Netflix in December last year.

The movie was the recipient of some less-favourable reviews, a 21% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes and it averaged a two out of five-star score from over 100,000 accounts on Letterboxd.

The actor, who plays Admiral Atticus Noble in the franchise, says it’s the art itself that maintains his attention.

“The process of filming is my bit, you know, when we were out there, that’s my part.”

He adds: “I’ll pass the baton on and let people run with it.”

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Skrein returns for Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver despite his character meeting his fate in the first film.

“My friend is a painter from Andalusia in Spain and said to me the other day, when we make art, it’s like putting a message in a bottle and you throw it out and occasionally after a while you get a message back or you just get your bottle back.”

He continues: “In filmmaking, I thought about it, it’s like you have your initial reaction but then five years later, 10 years later, it’s like, now we can judge it.”

Djimon Hounsou as Titus and Staz Nair as Tarak. Pic: Clay Enos/Netflix
Djimon Hounsou as Titus and Staz Nair as Tarak. Pic: Clay Enos/Netflix

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver continues with the storyline of orphan and ex-soldier Kora, played by Sofia Boutella, who looks to protect a peaceful colony from the ruthless Mother World.

Inspired by a rejection

Aside from Skrein, the cast includes Game Of Thrones Staz Nair, Gladiator actor Djimon Hounsou and The Age of Adeline’s Michiel Huisman.

The Rebel Moon franchise came into being after director Zack Snyder pitched the idea to Disney as a Star Wars film, but was rejected.

Pic: Clay Enos/Netflix
Rhian Rees as The Queen, Cary Elwes as The King, Sofia Boutella as Kora and Stella Grace Fitzgerald as Princess Issa. Pic: Clay Enos/Netflix

He signed an agreement with Netflix to create an entirely new franchise with the plan to extend into other formats like comic books.

The Army Of The Dead director recently went viral for his comments comparing the success of the first Rebel Moon film to Barbie, suggesting to the Joe Rogan podcast that “more people probably saw Rebel Moon than saw Barbie in the theatre”.

‘Everyone got mad at me’

Speaking to Sky News, he stands by the statement and says he’s “really impressed” by Netflix‘s business model.

Zack Snyder talking at the Rebel Moon Part Two: Songs Of The Rebellion Album release event in New York. Pic: Noam Galai/Netflix
Zack Snyder talking at the Rebel Moon Part Two: Songs Of The Rebellion Album release event in New York. Pic: Noam Galai/Netflix

He explains: “I think that was what I was getting at with the whole Barbie thing.”

Then adding: “Everyone got mad at me, but I’m just telling you what I heard, like, sorry if Netflix has such a giant audience. The point of what I was getting at was that the pipeline is so robust that it’s unbelievable. What a filmmaker wants is the movies to be seen.”

A third film hasn’t yet been greenlit by Netflix but the storyline and recent interviews with the director suggest there could be more on the horizon for Rebel Moon fans.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is available to stream now on Netflix.

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Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department streamed more than 300 million times in one day




Taylor Swift's The Tortured Poets Department streamed more than 300 million times in one day

Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department has become the first album in Spotify history to reach more than 300 million streams in a single day.

The 34-year-old singer also became the most-streamed artist in a single day on the platform when her record was released on 19 April, according to the streaming service.

Spotify wrote on X: “History made! On April 19, 2024, Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department was the first album in Spotify history to have over 300M streams in a single day.”

Marriage, babies, break-ups – breaking down the album

Swift’s 11th studio album includes collaborations with Florence And The Machine and Post Malone.

Fortnight, featuring Post Malone, is Swift’s first single from the album and also became Spotify’s most streamed song in a single day.

On social media Post Malone, whose real name is Austin Richard Post, said: “It’s once in a lifetime that someone like @taylorswift13 comes into this world.

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“I am floored by your heart and your mind, and I am beyond honoured to have been asked to help you with your journey I love you so much. Thank you Tay.”

On 18 April, Swift announced that Fortnight was the first single on her record and said a music video would drop after the album.

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She also said she had been “a huge fan of Post because of the writer he is, his musical experimentation and those melodies he creates that just stick in your head forever”.

She added: “I got to witness that magic come to life firsthand when we worked together on Fortnight.”

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Fans react to new Taylor Swift album

The music video for the track includes an appearance from Dead Poets Society stars Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles.

Hours after dropping the 16-song edition of her album the US pop superstar announced an expanded version with an extra 15 songs, titled The Anthology.

Swift, who has 11 chart-topping UK albums, had announced the arrival of her latest record live on stage at the Grammy Awards in February.

The performer will bring her Eras Tour to the UK from 7 June, when she kicks off with three shows in Edinburgh with the run of London shows beginning on 21 June.

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