Wednesday, 02 May 2012

The Daily: May 2

We scour the news so you don't have to.

Written by Poppy Cockburn

Turning heads
The Turner Prize returns for its 28th year with its £25,000 prize money. The winner of the prestigious award, which famously favours the unconventional, will be announced in December. Amongst the short-listed hopefuls is Spartacus Chetwynd, a nudist artist who dressed people up as blubbery seals at the Frieze art fair in 2010, and also re-incarnated the Star Wars villain, Jabba the Hutt, as a cocktail-loving smooth guy for a 2003 performance piece. Other contenders vying for the eccentric accolade include Luke Fowler, Elizabeth Price and Paul Noble, and without a single painting between them! Past winners include artists Tracey Emin and Jeremy Deller.

National outbreak of chronic theatricalism sweeps the country
2012 is set to be a big year for British drama with the National Theatre’s Broadway Version of One Man, Two Guvnors scooping 7 nominations at this year’s Tony Awards. James Corden, who stars in the play, is competing to be named best actor in a leading role in a play against Hollywood heavyweights including Philip Seymour Hoffman. Meanwhile the BBC is intending to air four new film versions of Shakespeare’s history plays. The films will feature the crop of the British acting elite, with Jeremy Irons, Julie Walters and Ben Whishaw all making appearances.

Truancy-triggering PE
Secondary school sports classes are reportedly responsible for generating a significant reluctance in female pupils to partake in exercise in school and ever after. Around half of the girls questioned founded their avoidance by claiming an unwillingness to spoil their hair and nails, feeling that it is not ‘feminine’ to be dirty and sweaty at school. Others feel pushed out by competitive sports such as netball and hockey. The worry now is that this lack of enthusiasm for exercise in class will lead to an unhealthy evasion of sport in the future unless schools start to pull their gym socks up and inspire students.

Pungent power
In a groundbreaking and rather oddball council scheme, dog waste is to be converted into electricity in a bid to clean up parks and streets constructively. Gary Downie, who set up StreetKleen after despairing at his mess-covered neighbourhood, has designed ‘dog stations’ which will be strategically placed across the country. It will take four tons of doggy doings to ensure commercial viability according to the inventive entrepreneur but Downie has high hopes of success. Flintshire County Council in North Wales is the first to enter into a scheme of this kind in Britain.

Going for gold, silver and bronze
Home to 4,700 medals for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, the “Athena Cell” is located inside the top-security Royal Mint complex near Cardiff. There, the most coveted discs in the world are forged in a vast hydraulic press known as the Colossus. Blank discs are inserted into its belly one by one before being pressed 15 times to etch the designs in deep relief on their surfaces. “If there’s the slightest blemish, we reject them” said programme director of the 1000-year-old-Mint, Fergus Feeney. London’s medals are said to be the largest and heaviest ever created for the summer Olympics.

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