JAN MOIR: Not everyone wants to go to Glastonbury with Hooray Henrys

JAN MOIR: Oh Lenny, not everyone wants to go to Glastonbury with a bunch of Hooray Henrys

What was Sir Lenny Henry hoping to achieve by seemingly suggesting that Glastonbury is some kind of annual racist conspiracy, set to the beat of all-white alt rockers such as Coldplay or U2?

Bands who are quite clearly determined to suppress ethnic minority sections of the population with their hate-filled songs and albums such as Yellow and Achtung Baby — I mean, really?

‘It’s interesting to watch Glastonbury and look at the audience and not see any black people there. I’m always surprised by the lack of black and brown faces at festivals. I think, ‘Wow, that’s still very much a dominant culture thing,’ he told the Radio Times this week.

I’ll say it again — what?

Was the ‘surprised’ Henry suggesting that this celebrated festival of music somehow makes ethnic minorities unwelcome, or negatively racially profiles its audience to ensure a predominantly white crowd?

What was Sir Lenny Henry hoping to achieve by seemingly suggesting that Glastonbury is some kind of annual racist conspiracy, set to the beat of all-white alt rockers such as Coldplay or U2?

Anyone is free to buy a ticket to any of these happenings. Glastonbury is always oversubscribed. Pictured: Jan Moir

Surely not — but he must have known his words were freighted with trouble and open to the worst sort of interpretation; he must have realised he was creating a race-based issue where none existed before.

For you could list any number of events — the Chelsea Flower Show, Ascot, the Highland Games, a football match in Manchester or Liverpool, the Eisteddfod in Wales, cheese rolling, hill walking, I could go on — where there will always be a lack of black and brown faces, but there are two reasons for this.

One is that the UK is a still a predominantly white nation. The last big diversity survey suggests around 14 per cent of the UK population comes from a minority ethnic background.

Of course, demographics do change, like in certain areas including London, which has around 40 per cent of its population from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background.

Secondly, free will and personal preference play their part, too — attending these events is a matter of cultural choice and not dictated to by oppression.

Anyone is free to buy a ticket to any of these happenings. Glastonbury is always oversubscribed. Like Wimbledon, it sells its tickets on a random ballot basis, leaving few opportunities for these imaginary colonial oppressors to exercise their xenophobic tendencies. Yet both events end up with a similar ethnic mix. How come?

The only thing more middle class and white than Glastonbury is a ripe slice of Somerset camembert served on an artisanal bloomer in a bleached canvas yurt onsite, washed down with a glass of sauv blanc. Perhaps ethnic minority punters simply exercised their democratic right and chose not to buy tickets

Perhaps the truth is that ethnic minority music lovers are just too smart and cool to spend £300 a head to stand around in a field with a lot of middle-aged Henrys and Henriettas in cowboy hats and Hunter wellingtons; enjoying a teatime spliff which they hide from view when they FaceTime with the kiddies’ nanny.

The only thing more middle class and white than Glastonbury is a ripe slice of Somerset camembert served on an artisanal bloomer in a bleached canvas yurt onsite, washed down with a glass of sauv blanc. Perhaps ethnic minority punters simply exercised their democratic right and chose not to buy tickets.

However, surely there is nothing to be gained from trying to make trouble where there is none, to create divisions when, actually, we are all quite happily rubbing along together, satisfied with our own cultural choices?

On matters such as this, Sir Lenny has become such a woke bore one wonders why he doesn’t cancel himself, given his cringing history as a participant on the Black and White Minstrel Show and those embarrassing impersonations of Trevor McDoughnut.

Instead of complaining about Glastonbury, he should be sending himself to woke jail and throwing away the key.

Oh, I get so tired of this narrative about the UK being a racist country and an oppressor of minorities.

On matters such as this, Sir Lenny has become such a woke bore one wonders why he doesn’t cancel himself, given his cringing history as a participant on the Black and White Minstrel Show and those embarrassing impersonations of Trevor McDoughnut

Yes, Britain still has its problems and its pockets of intolerable Stone Age views and its Tommy Robinsons and its moronic chanting sports fans. But like Sir Lenny Henry himself, we have come a long way. We have evolved. We are far more tolerant and welcoming than a great many countries.

Henry also remarked that it has taken the BBC 50 years to have a black host on Mastermind, which was another cheap shot.

There have only been three hosts in the show’s long history; one was a Scot of Icelandic heritage, one was a working-class Welshman and the other is new boy Clive Myrie, who is doing an excellent job.

Perhaps we should be more concerned that no woman has ever been given the post, but that kind of peevish troublemaking doesn’t get my vote either.

I will always support the best man for the job, even if that man happens to be a man. In the meantime, the only thing notable about Lenny Henry’s ‘surprise’ is that it is not very surprising at all.

Dakota in Austen? I’ll need Persuasion!

Trouble is brewing over the new Netflix adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Generally regarded as the saddest, most heart-rending of all her novels, it stars Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot, the heroine who is persuaded by her family to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth and regrets it for the rest of her life, sob.

Worryingly, the trailer is oddly cheerful, with Dakota being told she has to ‘move on, Darling’ while she crashes around like Doris Day and — worst of all — talks her lines to camera like a breathy newsreader in an empire-line smock. ‘There were no two souls more in rhythm that Wentworth and I,’ she simpers. ‘Now, we’re worse than exes. We’re friends.’

Uh oh. How would Jane react to this modish treatment? Sad face, thumbs down emoji, perhaps.

Trouble is brewing over the new Netflix adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Pictured: Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot

We’ve Heard too much, Amber

Amber Heard has given her first sit-down interview since losing the defamation trial brought against her by ex-husband Johnny Depp.

It has been suggested that Miss Heard was paid a large sum for the interview and was provided with some questions in advance — but, despite these advantages, she still fails to elicit the sympathy and support she clearly craves.

Excerpts from the NBC interview, which will be broadcast in full in America tonight, finds the 36-year-old actress in an unrepentant mood, complaining that the trial was unjust and that the jury were dazzled by Depp’s fame.

‘You cannot look me in the eye and tell me that my trial was fair,’ she says.

Many wish that Amber would just go away, but this is the woman that many followers, high-profile journalists and celebrity supporters insisted we must support, too — in order to preserve the integrity of the #MeToo movement and the sisterhood

Untrammelled by the formalities and legal restrictions of the court, this interview provides a real sense of Amber Heard, and it isn’t pretty or comfortable to watch.

Actually, Amber, I could. I really could. In court and in this interview she comes across as a dangerous narcissist who thinks that everyone is wrong and only she is right.

She makes a big deal about being ill-treated on social media, as if that counted for anything. And she continues with the lie at the heart of this case. ‘I spoke truth to power, and I paid the price,’ she tells interviewer Savannah Guthrie.

Many wish that Amber would just go away, but this is the woman that many followers, high-profile journalists and celebrity supporters insisted we must support, too — in order to preserve the integrity of the #MeToo movement and the sisterhood.

Yet untrammelled by the formalities and legal restrictions of the court, this interview provides a real sense of Amber Heard, and it isn’t pretty or comfortable to watch.

It also further undermines the suffering of domestic abuse victims, who might not now be believed because of Amber Heard. That is her real legacy. She should think about them, instead of feeling sorry for herself.

Woke ‘hit’ goes up in smoke

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new Cinderella musical has closed. Should we be surprised? Alarm bells rang when scriptwriter Emerald Fennell promised ‘a modern feminist take on the classic fairy tale’. Uh oh.

When I went to see the show, this fem-Cinderella was played by Carrie Hope Fletcher as a goth who wore a shade of black lipstick called Trampsylvania. She lived in a town called Belleville where the locals kept pointing out that she was ‘repulsive’ and ‘shockingly plain’. Cue song.

‘I was not a hard one to convince,’ she sang. ‘Girls like me don’t end up with a prince.’

Carrie Hope Fletcher, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ivano Turco bow at the curtain call of ‘Cinderella’

This poor 21st-century Cinderella was popped through the boil wash of modern feminism, emerging as a spirited maverick who refused to let her life be defined or validated by a man.

Good for her! Yet it was weighed down with gender politics — a chorus line of dancing boys in leather shorts and several jokes about ‘hot buns’ — and blighted by the lack of a single hit song.

Go woke, go broke, show goes up in smoke. The end. 

Menopause is only natural

A paper in the British Medical Journal has suggested that the menopause should not always be medicalised. Also, that there are positives to the onset of the climacteric and that everyone should stop doom-mongering about what is an entirely natural transition for half of humankind.

Try telling that to Mariella Frostrup, Lisa Snowdon, Penny Lancaster, Davina McCall and the gang, who have rustled up menopause marches, are demanding a Menopause Mandate from the Government, menopause holidays from bosses and more understanding colleagues when you have a screaming meltdown because someone left the top off your favourite pen.

The outcry over the lack of hormonal treatment and various pressure groups give the impression that growing numbers of women are struggling to cope — but are they? Not all of us suffer!

Indeed, the majority of women sail through the Sea of Menopause with only the occasional squall.

Yes, it is awful for those women who have a bad time, but increased medicalisation fuels negative perceptions, encourages everyone to feel like they are a victim and isn’t always the answer.

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