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Liverpool Super Lambanana row: Liver Wings artist calls for resolution

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Paul Curtis at the Super Lambanana sculptureImage copyright
Paul Curtis

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The artist said if his work had “been embraced and then neglected, I’d certainly be a bit miffed”

An artist has called on both sides of a row over the future of a much-loved Liverpool statue to find a solution as it “would be a shame to lose an icon”.

Super Lambanana on Tithebarn Street is owned by its creator Taro Chiezo, who wants it to be refurbished.

However, Liverpool City Council wants to replace it with a replica.

Artist Paul Curtis, who created another celebrated work in the city, Liver Wings, said it was “odd for a city to host it, but not look after it”.

Super Lambanana was created as a temporary structure in 1998 as part of a cross-regional art project backed by the Henry Moore Sculpture Trust and Tate Liverpool and its condition has deteriorated, with patchy paintwork and cracks being seen.

Its Japanese creator has previously said it was “very sad” to see what had happened to it, but he wanted to see it “fixed perfectly”, as the replacement sculpture was not up to the necessary standards.

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The Liver Wings work lets people, including the Duchess of Cornwall, to don Liver Bird wings

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said the Liver Wings artist had tweeted the council, stating: “If I did a piece for a city in Japan and it had been embraced and then neglected, I’d certainly be a bit miffed.”

He told the BBC he hoped it “gets restored [as] people have grown to love Super Lambanana and would hate to see it go”.

“I don’t know the ins and outs [but] it would be a shame to lose a Liverpool icon.”

He added that a sticker had been placed on the sculpture, calling for people to help “save the Lamb Banana”.

Responding to his tweet, the council said it had been negotiating with Taro Chiezo since March to replace it with a replica which “will last for generations to come”.



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Lewis Capaldi’s teacher proud of ‘cheeky chappy’ Brits winner

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Singer Lewis Capaldi’s former music teacher has spoken of her pride at his Brit award triumph.

Kirsty Moore, who teaches music and drama at St Kentigern’s Academy in Blackburn, East Lothian, said he was “really laid back” and quite a “cheeky chappy” in the classroom.

She added that his talent came to the fore at the school’s annual talent contest.

“This massive voice came out of this little boy and it was amazing at the time and I thought he’s going places.”



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Heather Couper: Broadcaster and astronomer dies at 70

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Dr Couper was the first female president of the British Astronomical Association

Broadcaster and astronomer Heather Couper has died at the age of 70.

Dr Couper appeared on the BBC’s Blue Peter and The Sky At Night programmes, as well as presenting and producing acclaimed science documentaries.

She also hosted radio series including the BBC World Service’s long-running Seeing Stars and BBC Radio 4’s Cosmic Quest and Starwatch.

Her best friend and business partner, Nigel Henbest, said she had died on Wednesday after a short illness.

She had been a “charismatic… and passionate communicator of science”, he said.

“She got people really excited about the Universe and about space – that was her love, her passion in life.”

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She was a regular on TV and radio from the 1980s

Born in 1949, she fell in love with astronomy as a child and recalled a day, in 1968, when she had realised astronomy was not just “for shambolic old men in tweed jackets any more”.

She went home and wrote in her diary: “I want to help knowledge. I want to make known and publicise science.”

So she left her management trainee job at Top Shop to become a research assistant at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge.

Her big break came when she was asked to appear as a guest on Sir Patrick Moore’s The Sky At Night.

Sir Patrick later recalled: “Of course, she wrote to me when she was a little girl and said, ‘Is there any future for me in astronomy?’ And I said, ‘Of course there is.’ And I tried to give her a hand.”

Astronaut application

She also presented the 1981 ITV children’s series Heavens Above and, in 1984, became the first female president of the British Astronomical Association.

Four years later, she co-founded a film and TV production company, then, in 1993, took up the chair of astronomy at Gresham College, a post previously held by Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Christopher Wren.

She and Dr Henbest co-wrote dozens of books as well as monthly astronomy columns for the Independent, the last of which was published on 6 February.

The pair even applied to be the first British astronauts, Dr Couper told the Guardian in 1993, but were quickly rejected.

“They wanted someone technologically on the ball, someone who would know what buttons to press in an emergency,” she said.

“If something blew up, I would think, ‘Oh Christ! What wire goes where?'”



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Pop Smoke: Rapper shot dead in apparent robbery

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The US rapper Pop Smoke has been killed, after an apparent armed robbery.

Los Angeles Police told Radio 1 Newsbeat a man was shot at his home and later pronounced dead, although didn’t confirm his identity.

But his label Republic Records says it’s “devastated by the unexpected and tragic loss of Pop Smoke”.

Police responded to reports of a robbery – and man was then taken to hospital and later pronounced dead.

Officers confirmed that an unknown number of suspects entered a property in West Hollywood.

They got a call about a robbery at 04:55 PST and were at the scene six minutes later.

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Pop Smoke at the Rolling Loud Festival, Los Angeles, in December 2019

Police say no suspects have been identified and no arrests have been made.

They also denied reports that a man was held at the scene but say one suspect is thought to have had a handgun.

Pop Smoke was signed to Republic Records which has said in a statement “our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans, as we mourn this loss together.”

When reports first appeared in the US tributes began flooding in for Pop Smoke, real name Bashar Barakah Jackson – including from friends.

Pop Smoke had a breakout hit with Welcome to the Party in 2019 – which led to him being singled out as an artist to watch this year by BBC Radio 1Xtra, on the station’s Hot For 2020 list.

The station said he “possessed the air and cadence of a rapper who has been in the game for a decade or two longer than his actual age”.

The track ended up being remixed by both Nicki Minaj and Skepta.

Just last week Pop Smoke was a guest on DJ Target’s show on 1Xtra.

He was in the middle of several US tour dates and was due to come to the UK in April – with shows scheduled in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

50 Cent was one of many rappers, DJs and producers that paid tribute on social media, as did rapper Quavo, who Pop Smoke had collaborated with.

Last year he spoke about wanting to make music that inspires children who are growing up in poverty.

He told The Face: “I make music for that kid in the hood that’s gotta share a bedroom with like four kids – the young kids growing up in poverty.

“I make music for kids like that who know they just gotta keep going, that there’s a better way. That’s who I really make it for.”

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