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Netflix Drops ‘Harry & Meghan,’ Volume 1, Squarely In London’s Drive-Time

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Here’s Looking At You, Kid: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex with meet athletes and … [+] their supporters at the athletics competition on day 2 of the Invictus Games 2020 at Zuiderpark on April 17, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)Getty Images
That Netflix would drop the first three episodes of its ‘Harry & Meghan’ docu-/reality-show series on December 8 has been well-bruited about the globe. But the fact that “Volume 1” would land at 8 a.m. in the middle of London’s mad pre-Xmas Thursday drive time — put differently, in time for the coursing dogs of the British press to set up live blogs as they themselves streamed it — has meant this morning that all of Britain, aka, those British who were not locked before some kind of monitor streaming it themselves, could at least get the full dose of the instant high dudgeon generated on Fleet Street by the thing.

The pointed release of it at the beginning of the British working day is meaningful. It means that Netflix executives know where their docu-vehicle would have the greatest and most lasting impact. Suffice it to say that the drop hit London rather like the disaster-asteroid in every Grade B asteroid-doomsday film ever made. As our best astronomers and astrophysicists know, one metric of an asteroid impact is in the “ejecta,” the stuff that is kicked up by impact. This impact kicked up a lot of ejecta in London this morning.

Fairly seen, that’s mainly good for Netflix, which has been notably suffering a downtick of late. Second, the drop — in London alone, with a much longer, bigger and arguably slower burn in the States — means that Ted Sarandos’ and Liz Garbus’ push to have the series out by Christmas was, again, for the company, a good decision. Finally, the series may, in the short term at a minimum, be good for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in their new chosen profession of producers and/or generators of — to use their parlance — “impactful” entertainment.

But in this case the larger, overarching questions about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s efforts in selling and doing this series remain in the air, and that sort of ejecta is going to take quite some time to settle. What effect the series will have on the ongoing debate between Harry and his family; whether it will be read as ‘fair’ or ‘balanced’ by the world at large; and, on the biggest stage, whether it will ultimately do Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the real people, not the reality stars, any long-term professional good — all these questions remain open. It can even be that the first three hours can help move all these questions and attain a bit more resolution in the near term. But it’s likelier that they won’t just yet.

What isn’t an open question is what the British think of the thing — that’s all out now, and out loud. The majority view in the press — by which we mean not just the “red top” tabs, but the organs of record such as the Times, is primarily, and unsurprisingly, a negative one. Notably, the Guardian, which did live-blog a viewing of the series beginning as soon as it dropped, does take a more sedate, reasoned, if occasionally highly skeptical view of all the couple’s doings.

As for Buckingham Palace, the exchange of artillery fire between the Windsors of Montecito and the Windsors of Buckingham Palace over the particulars of content is just beginning. At the moment it portends to become a more protracted, difficult serve-and-volley that we’ll be able to observe in bits and pieces over the coming months, as the series and its impact settle. But earlier today in London, the Episode 1 chyron stating flatly that members of the royal family “…declined to comment on the content within this series” was fairly quickly and as flatly denied by the Palace, which stated that no Palace official or working royal was contacted by the filmmakers for comment, according to the unnamed source in several dispatches. Bottom line: A minor exchange, testing jabs on stepping out from his corner, as Tyson Fury might make in a first round.

The short-term takeaway is that, despite the ungainly, and at times raucous runup of the couple’s exit from the monarchy, despite the knowledge that a Netflix camera crew has been tagging along with them in Europe, England and the States for quite some time, and despite the several road-signs and ominous intimations in the two trailers that dropped earlier this week, Britain is, still, able to be shocked by this.

The shock is notable and operates on several levels, and since it’s British, there’s much nuance there. It’s important for Americans to understand that no core British royal has ever done anything remotely as revealing of their domestic and/or public, backstage lives as this long, intimate, unscripted series is doing of Prince Harry’s life.
After his much-ballyhooed abdication, the Duke of Windsor was rarely seen in public and even more rarely uttered anything about what he’d done. Royal tell-alls are the chaff of the serving class — the British expect the inevitable ‘betrayals’ by the butlers and/or bodyguards and other staff appearing in Fleet Street tabs as well as in book form.
Diana was the mold breaker of all that. But, significantly, since Diana is the precursor to much of this intramural royal-family strife as well, Diana’s participation in her own revealing BBC interview with the disgraced BBC producer Martin Bashir was gotten (it has emerged, by Bashir) under false pretenses, and her contributions to a book portraying her version of her narrative were given to a third party, not directly to its author.
Bottom line, neither Britain nor its monarchy has ever been here before. It’s all new, un-mapped territory to have a male heir to the throne — which Diana was very much not — go this far.
By “far” is meant (in the British view) several things. Faced with the prospect of having to earn a living, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have, quite naturally, turned to making money from their own narrative. Some of this works, and some of it hasn’t — notably the Spotify podcasts. But the deceptively simply entitled ‘Harry & Meghan’ is very much their biggest production done under contract with their contracted producer, and, it’s important to note, with one of the most talented American directors of non-fiction television, Liz Garbus, helming the project.
Said another way, no matter the view that any British person takes of the project — and there will be differing views — the fact that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are the principal authors and authorizers of ‘Harry & Meghan’ is the reason the series matters so greatly in London and in Britain. They have sold this thing, their narrative. That is its impact, and it is a great one that will continue to be felt in the country and — depending upon the particulars of what is said and shown this week and in next week’s installments — within the royal family.
In both trailers, Harry’s voiceover is as expected austere, dark even, as shots of Meghan Markle apparently weeping, or having just finished doing that, scrolled by, there are snaps of the press running after the couple, and after others, there’s a bit of backstage apprehension before certain formal events, and much obvious emotional turmoil. In the mix of docu-stills were salted a still or so of Diana. “Nobody knows the truth but us,” intones the prince with more than a little foreboding.
In America, the land that created reality television in its many forms high and low, all that portentous beating of the tom-toms will matter far less, as will the equation in Britain that this is the first time any core royal has published anything like those sentiments about royal life. But in Britain, as non-fiction television, the series is revolutionary on that level alone.
Finally, there’s going to be a question for the Windsors of Montecito that the series will not answer but instead will pose, and their answer to that question will shape their lives in America, and more specifically, in Hollywood. The impact of the only half-born series is, already great, and will only grow. The question is whether they are or can be clear with themselves what they really want, or wanted, out of this.

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ICE London 2023 to feature exhibitors from record 68 nations – IAG

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Industry trade show ICE London will feature exhibitors from a record 68 nations, topping the previous best of 65 set three years ago, according to organizer Clarion Gaming.
ICE London returns as a full-sized show for the first time since 2020 from 7 to 9 February, with the total 623 exhibitors representing everything from Argentina to Australia and Macau to Mexico.
“No other exhibition in the gaming space can come anywhere near the internationalism of ICE,” said Clarion Gaming Managing Director, Stuart Hunter.
“To have 68 nations represented by our community of exhibitors means that visitors are immediately part of what is a global experience with unique access to the smartest gaming innovators drawn from every corner of the world. There are very few exhibitions of scale in any industry sector which are able to compare with such international representation and legitimately lay claim to being a ‘global’ or a ‘world’ event.
“Once an event is recognized as being genuinely international, stakeholder groups including brands, regulators, trade associations, media groups and strategic industry-wide bodies focus their activities accordingly.
“Research that we’ve undertaken has shown that for many people ICE and iGB Affiliate London actually start on the Sunday preceding and finish on the following Saturday. In that week we estimate that over 100 gambling industry events will take place outside of the show hours providing a new and compelling perspective on why ICE and iGB Affiliate London are so influential and important to the world industry.”
IAG will have a team of four at ICE London next week. Visit us at Stand ND7-C.

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David Ford and Annie Dressner Live in London

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There’s something special about London on a Saturday night – there’s a certain buzz in the air as you head into the Capital city. For me that buzz was extra special, as I was going to see David Ford and Annie Dressner at The Lexington in Islington. I literally listened to their ’10 Days (Live)’ album for the first time a week ago, but since then it’s been on repeat and heading in I knew that the night was going to be special.
The Lexington is a great place for music, with a bar on the ground floor before heading up the winding stairs to the spacious venue itself. And as the crowd started coming in, the atmosphere in the room was growing by the minute.
Opening the night was Scottish singer songwriter Gary Stewart. He set the night off really well, with an engaging set that got the crowd onside from the start. He opened with his 2021 single ‘Hot To Trot‘ and you already knew the set was going to be a good one – a rousing folk song with great lyrical dexterity. The highlight of the set was ‘Frontlines’, a simply gorgeous song (check out a YouTube video of the song here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDCLwYwsesk). Gary ended with a fine cover of Paul Simon’s ‘Song for the Asking’.
It was time for a quick visit to the bar before settling down for the main event. 
The duo appeared on the stage to great applause, David in an orange shirt and Annie in a sparkling black dress. They opened with ‘Easy Falling’, the first song that I’ve ever heard of theirs, and a song that convinced me I needed to listen to the rest of the album. This slow and moving number is a touching love song and shows off the brilliant harmonies of David and Annie – there’s something special about the English (David) and US accents (Annie) mingling in the way that they do. 
Throughout the set, there were so many highlights. ‘Something I’ll Have to Learn‘ is a song with an almost timeless feel that feels like a conversation in song, Annie’s original ‘Strangers Who Knew Each Other’s Names‘ was simply brilliant and ‘Some Folks Are Lucky I Guess‘ is a song with a great sentiment. ‘Can’t Help What I Want‘ (below) is a great example of those brilliant harmonies that the two share.

‘Trash‘, a cover of the Suede hit, was a particular highlight – a song that was a nice surprise on the live album. As they break into ‘Oh maybe, maybe it’s the clothes you wear‘ it almost feels like this was a song that Suede wrote for David and Annie, their version is that good. Outstanding.
The set had a second cover, a song that Annie introduced as ‘an American classic‘. This classic was ‘Ain’t No Pleasing You‘ from Chas and Dave, a song that typified the cockney sound of London back in the 1980’s. I love the way they re-worked it and there was something special about the way Annie sings the word ‘Darling’ in her US twang that just resonated and put a smile on my face.
There were great moments of humour throughout the night, the chat between the two great. At one point mid-song, Annie passed her guitar to David, exclaiming ‘I knew there were chords in this song, I just didn’t know which ones‘ which had the crowd laughing.
The best of the night was saved till last. ‘Warning Sign’ had quickly become my favourite song from the pair and hearing it live in person lived up to all expectations. There’s such a beauty in live music, and hearing songs like this with other people in a venue can really bring a song home – and almost even change your own personal relationship with a song.
The final song of the night (there was no encore as David explained that they literally had no more songs!) was ‘Put Me In A Corner’. Annie’s vocals take the lead in this track and it was just magical, the emotion of the song emanating from the stage and filling the room. You can listen and see for yourself below.

You never know what to expect when you see an artist or artists perform for the first time. Some exceed expectations and some just don’t hit the heights you expect. In David Ford and Annie Dressner, it was definitely the former. The gig was stripped back – just two people on a stage creating a moment. And what a moment it was.
Annie and David and reviewer Nick Cantwell
Check out their websites and hit and follow the social links!
http://www.dressnerford.com/

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http://anniedressner.com/
***Note – I need to say a word about the audience for the gig. The audience was impeccable, with barely any talking at all at any point (apart from whispered orders at the bar). Credit goes to Gary, Annie and David, who managed to grab the audience from the start, but also to everyone there. If you were there yourself, give yourself a high five!***
Review written by Nick Cantwell (instagram.com/nickcantwellmanagement)
 
 
 


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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties – Church Times

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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties  Church Times

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