Time Gentlemen Please

Image copyright PA

Yesterday, Bauer Media announced it was suspending its two so-called Lads Mags, FHM and Zoo. I went out to buy a copy of each after seeing the story, and having done so, am not remotely surprised by the publisher's decision. They are pitiful publications: cheap, cheesy and charmless.

The accepted narrative is that the Internet did for the Lads Mag genre. I don't think so. A lack of balls did.

The Internet accounted for porn mags, for sure. But Lads Mags, as originally defined by James Brown's epoch-making mid-90s Loaded Magazine weren't really about topless women and sex, at least at first. They were, as Loaded's old slogan said, 'For Men Who Should Know Better.'

They came out of music journalism and stand-up comedy. They owed much more to punk, Viz, football fanzines and The Young Ones, than they did to Playboy and Penthouse. They emerged from Margaret Thatcher's can-do culture, which also spawned the like-minded YBAs, Britpop stars and a certain Jeremy Clarkson.

The reason that Lads Mags have withered and died unlike the Hirst, Albarn, and Clarkson-types of the Men Behaving Badly era, is because they lost sight of what they were about. They were suckered into the disastrous and vacuous soft-porn arena by desperate execs that didn't understand the readership and wanted a quick fix and an upswing in sales.

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Sheen's Troubling confession

Image copyright AP

In the parallel universe that is the entertainment industry, yesterday was a bad day for a bad boy. The fast-living actor Charlie Sheen felt obliged to go onto national television in America to 'admit' he was HIV+.

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Belarus artists stage secret London show

A trip to the theatre for many of us can be entertaining, inspirational and fun, but in some countries it can also be dangerous.

The Belarus Free Theatre is banned in Belarus, but I was invited to a performance at a secret London venue.

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Dame Maggie Smith: 'I'm stuck being a mean old cow'

After more than 50 years on stage and screen, Dame Maggie Smith says she is now "stuck" playing "a mean old cow".

Her latest role sees her take on the role of the feisty Miss Shepherd in Nicholas Hytner's adaptation of the Alan Bennett stage hit The Lady in the Van.

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Amedeo Modigliani joins the '£100m club'

Nu couche (Reclining Nude_ Image copyright Christies
Image caption The painting had never been sold at auction before

A painting by Italian artist Modigliani was sold at auction on Monday for $170.4m (£113m), the second-highest price ever for a work sold at auction.

Nu couche (Reclining Nude) was sold at Christie's in New York to a Chinese collector.

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Film of Disney's first creation, lost in 1928, is found

A film of Walt Disney's first animated creation, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which has been lost since 1928, has been discovered.

The film was found in the archive of the British Film Institute and is going to be screened again.

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Theaster Gates 24 day musical performance in Bristol

One of the most historic churches in England has been turned into an art installation and performance space by a man considered one of the most important artists working today.

Theaster Gates wants the Temple Church in Bristol to become a place of congregation once again, with the help of hundreds of performers.

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Fassbender and Winslet on Steve Jobs film

A new film about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs examines the man's life, personal relationships and gadgets.

It stars Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet and will close the British Film Festival.

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The 2015 Turner Prize is the least egotistical I've seen

Image copyright Assemble / Tate
Image caption The Turner Prize shortlist includes a design collective who have helped breathe new life into a rundown Liverpool housing estate.

I don't know why, but the Turner Prize always feels fresher when it's not in London. If last year's edition at Tate Britain was a low point, the 2015 version at Tramway in Glasgow is a high the prize hasn't reached for a long time.

To be clear, we're a million miles away from the shock-n-gawp of the YBA years, or the inward looking, art-history obsessed efforts of more recent incarnations.

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It's not art without you

Image copyright AP
Image caption A visitor looks at paintings of John F Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev at the press launch of The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop at the Tate Modern

Once upon a time, going to an art museum was a straightforward affair. There were paintings and sculptures to look at, learn about and consider - maybe over a coffee in the institution's café. And then you went home. Nice and simple.

Not any more.

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