22/07/2014

Shoppers could save hundreds of pounds a year by swapping expensive and fashionable “superfoods” such as blueberries and wheatgrass for cheaper alternatives, according to research published on Monday.

Which? said consumers could save up to £440 a year by ditching popular superfoods in favour of better value alternatives that offer similar health benefits.

Substituting a handful of blueberries, at 69p, for a portion for two kiwi fruit, costing half the price at 34p, for example, would give a weekly saving of £36.40 a year and the green fruit has a similar amount of vitamins C and K.

In one of the biggest single savings, shoppers could save £268.32 by buying fresh sardines, costing 42p for 140g, instead of fresh salmon at £3 for 140g and still get a good amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA. The government’s food watchdog, the Food Standards Agency, recommends we eat two portions of fish a week – one of them oily.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “You don’t need to break the bank to eat healthily. We’ve found you can swap some superfoods for cheaper alternatives and save a packet while still getting the vitamins you need.”

The consumer group calculated the annual saving that could be made by swapping five superfoods with cheaper alternatives using prices from Tesco.com and healthfood shop Holland Barrett in early July. The total of £438.88 assumed consumers typically ate each food twice a week.

The notoriously expensive wheatgrass – championed by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Elle McPherson as an essential ingredient in a juice or smoothie – does not count towards your five a day, but a portion of broccoli does.

Broccoli is cheaper as well as easier to find in the shops, while both contain chlorophyll, vitamins A, C and E, iron and calcium. Wheatgrass typically costs 90p for 10g while broccoli is a more affordable 11p for 80g.

Similarly goji berries – favoured by Madonna and Mischa Barton but used in Chinese medicine for more than 6,000 years – can be substituted with spinach for similar health benefits. It is claimed these shrivelled red berries – rich in vitamins A, B2, C and iron help boost the immune system and brain activity, protect against heart disease and cancer, and improve life expectancy.

A 30g serving of dried goji berries – the equivalent of a heaped tablespoon – and costing around 53p – counts towards your five a day. But the dried fruit also contains high levels of sugar. A portion of spinach (32p for 80g) can be a cheaper stand-in, saving 42p a week and £21.84 a year.

A healthier – as well as economical – alternative was found for coconut oil, which is hailed as one of the best sources of heart-healthy medium-chain fatty acids, notably lauric acid, yet is high in saturated fat. When Which? surveyed 1,032 members online in May, 13% said they had used coconut oil in cooking.

The consumer group’s nutritionists suggest swapping the product – which costs 32p per tablespoon – for rapeseed or sunflower oil – 3p per tablespoon – saving 58p a week and £30.16 a year.

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Teachers, doctors and social workers will be given extra training to identify and help girls who might be at risk of becoming victims of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The measures will see new guidance for professionals become part of compulsory training in public sector organisations.

The deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, will set out a package of measures to tackle FGM at a summit on Tuesday.

The plan will involve supporting a small network of “community champions” to encourage volunteers who want to provide help in areas affected by FGM.

Clegg will tell the Girl Summit: “Female genital mutilation is one of the oldest and the most extreme ways in which societies have sought to control the lives and bodies of generations of young women and girls.

“We’re currently failing thousands of girls and must act now to help put a stop to FGM.

“Central to tackling it are the doctors, nurses, teachers and legal professionals who need to be equipped to identify and support young women and girls at risk of FGM.

“They agree that, without the right knowledge, skills and experience, people feel like they don’t have the cultural understanding and authority to even talk about this practice honestly, never mind intervene when they’re worried someone is vulnerable.

He will say the UK government will be introducing new training and guidance for frontline public sector workers to help recognise the signs of FGM abuse and prevent more women and girls getting cut.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: “Controlling the lives and bodies of young women and girls through FGM has no place in modern Britain and the government’s work to put a stop to it is to be commended.

“Nurses have a vital role to play in ending this practice that affects the lives of thousands in the UK and beyond.

Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “These are positive steps and ones that will contribute to stopping this terrible practice.

“However, all these things have to be backed up with resources and commitment across public services, such as ensuring staff have access to the mandatory training.

“Midwives are one of the key frontline healthcare professions in detecting and helping to prevent female genital mutilation. As such, we need to ensure that they have time and resources to be able to do this effectively.”

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Didier Drogba’s return to Chelsea on a one-year-contract could be confirmed this week, according to reports in France, with the Ivory Coast striker then set to be offered a coaching role at Stamford Bridge when he retires from playing.

Drogba is currently a free agent after his 18-month contract at Galatasaray came to an end at the conclusion of the Turkish Super Lig season.

Chelsea’s attacking options have been bolstered by the signing of Diego Costa from Atlético Madrid and the return of Romelu Lukaku from a season on loan at Everton, despite the Belgian’s future remaining uncertain, but José Mourinho enjoys a strong relationship with Drogba having signed the 36-year-old from Marseille in 2004 during his first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge and, according to L’Equipe, he is ready to bring him back to the club for a second spell, with the sale of Demba Ba to Besiktas last week for £4.7m having freed up a place in the squad.

Drogba won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League with Chelsea, scoring 157 goals during his eight-year spell in south-west London, culminating in scoring the equaliser and the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League final. He had a brief spell in Shanghai before signing for Galatasaray in January 2013. Juventus are among other clubs to have registered their interest in the player.

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Liverpool are close to finalising a deal for the Croatia defender Dejan Lovren, who would become the third Southampton player to join Brendan Rodgers’ team this summer, following the transfers of the England internationals Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana.

The new Southampton manager, Ronald Koeman, does not want the centre-half to depart and said he will go only for a healthy price. Liverpool’s offer is believed to be around £16m.

Koeman has also viewed Aston Villa’s Ron Vlaar as a direct replacement after the Aston Villa player impressed during Holland’s run to the World Cup semi-finals. “I don’t want to lose him but, if he leaves he will only go for a top price,” Koeman said. “Ron would definitely be an option but I think he won’t be cheap right now. We just have to wait and see how it develops.”

The France striker Loïc Rémy is due to fly to Boston on Monday, where Liverpool are currently on a pre-season tour, to undergo a medical before his proposed £8m move from QPR, while Divock Origi has told Lille he, too, wants to move to Anfield and could also travel to Boston for a medical this week. The 18-year-old impressed for Belgium at the World Cup, scoring a late winning goal against Russia.

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Last weekend, a BBC journalist offered the following: “I know it’s a vulgar conversation, but 160 deaths versus nil does raise the question of whether it’s proportional or not.” At the time of writing, two Israeli civilians have been killed by a rocket attack and scores of others have been injured. This frustrates Hamas, while Israelis are grateful for the Iron Dome defence system, set up to intercept the missiles fired from Gaza that have killed dozens over the past few years, maiming and injuring many more.

These rockets are aimed at Israel’s civilian population, and are unprovoked, sent with murderous intent. Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has fired over 1,500 rockets into Israel. The Palestinian envoy to the UN human rights council, Ibrahim Khreisheh, observed that Hamas rocket-fire amounts to war crimes, “whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets”.

Israel’s operation, meanwhile, is dedicated solely to removing the capacity of Hamas to fire missiles into Israeli population centres and dismantling its terror tunnels. Eager to count the number of dead in Gaza as victims of Israel, Hamas has been encouraging its citizens to stay at home when the Israel Defence Forces send warnings to evacuate. Hamas’s perverse logic is designed to put Gaza’s civilians in harm’s way.

As Binyamin Netanyahu remarked this week, Israel uses its missiles to protect citizens, whereas Hamas uses citizens to protect its missiles.

Trying to appear fair-minded, the BBC journalist cited the death figures in order to make a rhetorical point about “proportionality”. Yet the concept of proportionality requires weighing the wider reasons as to why military operations are taking place. Luis Moreno Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the international criminal court, wrote in 2006: “International humanitarian law and the Rome statute permit belligerents to carry out proportionate attacks against military objectives, even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) … or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality).”

So to discuss the concept of proportionality one must offset the number of deaths against the aims of the operation. In the context of putting a stop to intolerable, hourly murder attempts against an entire population, Israel’s campaign is perfectly understandable. One wonders how the UK would react if a terror group overtook the Isle of Man and began raining missiles down on Britain. Sadly, all too many in the media treat proportionality as something quite different: the number of Israelis dead.

In this view, the aims of Operation Protective Edge are less important than the price Israel is paying for such a defensive operation, and Israel has to pay this price in blood. The coldhearted subtext is that Israelis must die in order for their military campaign to gain any sympathy. Of course, this has not been the case when the British media has debated the effects of the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. No interviewer would dream of asking a British army general or politician why more Afghans died than British soldiers, yet these are the macabre mathematics being presented to Israel. The concept of proportionality is being twisted, so that it now demands Israeli blood in exchange for Israeli military operations.

As Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub, said recently: “We don’t have to apologise for Israelis not being killed.” Indeed, one wonders quite how the media would want to even up the scores. Perhaps Israel should switch off the early-warning systems that notify Israelis of missiles, and stop using Iron Dome until more Israelis have been killed than Palestinians? Only then, having satiated the media thirst for Israeli blood by dying in sufficient numbers, would Israel be “allowed” to resume its protective operation to let Israelis live peaceful lives free from terror.

Israel both has the right to defend our citizens with military operations, and to protect the lives of our citizens with bunkers and anti-missile systems. Until our operations are over, the media ought to drastically rethink the irresponsible way they are discussing proportionality.

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The American film and television world reacted with sadness on Sunday to news of the death of the Emmy winning actor James Garner, who died in Los Angeles at the age of 86.

The Star Trek star William Shatner said: “Sending thoughts and prayers to the family of James Garner this morning.”

Garner, who had open-heart surgery in 1988 and suffered a stroke in 2008, was reported to have died of natural causes.

Born in Norman, Oklahoma, on 7 April 1928, he began his acting career in the 1950s, after serving in the Korean war, in which he was wounded twice. He was best known for his roles as a wise-cracking Wild West card sharp, in Maverick, and an ex-con turned private eye in The Rockford Files.

Primarily known as a star of the small screen – he made a number of Rockford Files TV movies, despite leaving the regular series in 1980 – Garner gained one Oscar nomination, for the 1985 romantic comedy Murphy’s Romance, in which he played a small-town druggist opposite Sally Field. He also had supporting roles in The Great Escape – as a military “scrounger”, reportedly based on his own experiences in uniform – Support Your Local Sheriff! and the 1994 big-screen version of Maverick, with Mel Gibson.

In 2004 he had a late-career hit in Nick Cassavetes’s The Notebook, in which he played the husband of a character, played by Gena Rowlands, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

On Sunday, many actors and directors used Twitter to pay tribute. The director Ron Howard said Garner was “admired by all who knew him” and added: “When starring in [1966 motor racing film] Grand Prix the people around F1 said he had the talent to be a pro driver.”

From Britain, the Sherlock writer and star Mark Gatiss said: “Goodbye, Jim Rockford. The wonderful, amiable James Garner has gone.”

Stephen Fry said: “So sad to hear that James Garner has gone. A real part of my childhood, Rockford and the Maverick especially.”

Back in the US, the actor Bruce Campbell said “Tip of the hat to James Garner. Charm, humour, but most of all – class”, while the Sixth Sense star Haley Joel Osment saluted “the just dearly departed Legend James Garner” and added: “Rest in Peace.”

Marlee Matlin, who is deaf and who acted with Garner in a 1997 TV movie, Dead Silence, wrote: “Sad to read my dear friend and costar James Garner passed. RIP sweet Jim Rockford.”

The actor and writer Molly Ringwald tweeted: “I think James Garner was my first crush.”

Tributes also came from outside the film world.The CNN news anchor Jake Tapper noted Garner’s support for the civil rights movement of the 1960s, saying “RIP James Garner” and tweeting a photo of the actor with Paul Newman, Marlon Brando and James Baldwin at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on 28 August 1963.

NBC’s Chuck Todd said: “Loved James Garner in just about every role, even as the lovable rogue ex-prez in My Fellow Americans. Character loosely based on Clinton?”

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times cited the late director Robert Altman, who said in 1979: “I have long thought Jim Garner was one of the best actors around. He is often overlooked because he makes it so easy, and that is not easy to do. I don’t know anyone in the business with his charm and charisma who can act so well.”

The newspaper also quoted Clint Eastwood, with whom Garner starred in Space Cowboys in 2000 and who followed Garner from the small screen. Eastwood said Garner “opened the door for people like Steve McQueen and myself”.

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Last week the BBC Trust published its service review of the BBC’s television channels. It identified ratings underperformance among black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) audiences, as well as among poorer and younger viewers, but what surprised me is that no one seemed to make the link between them.

Just two weeks ago Lenny Henry, Marcus Ryder and I appeared before the culture, media and sport select committee to discuss the BAME representation issue. What strikes me looking back is that no one asked about the audiences. Not once.

Understanding the audience dimension to this issue is what transforms it from being an industry lobby group’s self-serving cause into a crucial debate over the role and purpose of public service television. I was a senior BBC executive between 2010 and 2014, running BBC Production. In autumn 2012 I took part in the internal review of the BBC’s performance over the preceding summer of jubilee, Olympics and Paralympics. The review data showed a new phenomenon that became known as “the London Gap”. After years of focusing our efforts on improving portrayal and employment beyond the M25, what we saw in that summer’s ratings was that the region with the worst relative performance was London.

The BBC has always struggled with younger, poorer and BAME audiences, and the trust’s report makes clear the problem continues. But London is now so disproportionately BAME (40%-plus), who in turn are disproportionately young and disproportionately poor, that a multiplier effect is played out in audience underperformance. According to the report weekly reach in London is now 4% below the England average, making it the UK’s poorest performing region, and given the capital’s size that’s a major drag on all the audience data. We shouldn’t have been that surprised because a 2011 diversity report on the BBC intranet showed that while the white audience watched on average 16 hours terrestrial TV per week, BAME audiences were watching just eight hours; while white audiences were watching digital channels 11 hours per week, BAME audiences were watching 14 hours.

So coming up with a real plan addressing the BAME issue may also help the BBC address the class and age issues. I’m backing the Lenny Henry plan to introduce output quotas and will continue to do so until I see something better. Those of us campaigning for change believe BAME audiences are turning away from terrestrial TV because they don’t see the totality of their life experiences and opportunities reflected on our screens. They don’t want unrelenting positivity, but they do want range and authenticity.

The reason for this poor portrayal, in our opinion, is that too few BAME people are involved in producing and, in particular, commissioning what’s broadcast. Over the last 10 years we have seen two groups develop in television, which I call makers (producers) and pickers (heads of commissioning/channel controllers), and over that period most of the power has shifted from makers to pickers. If you look at the pickers with real decision-making authority it’s a very white group. In terms of BAME commissioning heads and controllers there are only Anne Mensah (Sky head of drama), Sam Bickley (acting channel editor of BBC3) and Angela Jain (director of ITV digital channels) out of the group of people who decide what gets made, who writes it, who directs it and who stars in it. Given this entire industry is based on people’s subjective opinions, a broader, more diverse commissioning class is an absolute must to tackle its diversity challenge.

My former BBC colleagues believe the director general’s plan on diversity – including ringfenced development money and more traineeships – has been unfairly and prematurely dismissed as inadequate. It is a simple matter of fact that the BBC does more in this area than any other broadcaster, and I know how hard it is to move the needle – despite my teams’ best efforts we never got BAME employment in Production over 10%. The BBC also reports publicly and comprehensively on its BAME employment performance – compare that to ITV, which receives public subsidy via cheap spectrum, yet I couldn’t find a single fact about the levels of BAME employment in its annual report or associated documents.

Having left the BBC, and with the freedom to see both the wood and the trees, it’s become increasingly clear to me that the real challenges are more structural than is recognised by the current proposed solutions. Consider, for example, the unintended consequence of the BBC committing 17% of all spend to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, shifting employment opportunities from the part of the UK where 75% of BAME people live to areas where BAME people don’t exceed 5%.

How do you increase BAME employment in an industry where the staff base is getting smaller, and vacant posts have to be offered first to existing employees at risk of redundancy (thereby maintaining an existing imbalance)? An industry in which the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 spend hundreds of millions of pounds in the independent production sector, yet indies are the worst for monitoring and reporting. Surely if they take huge amounts of public money they have obligations as well?

So this is bigger than a BBC problem, it’s an industry problem. If you want to stop the audience erosion, what are needed are different decisions about what stories matter, who tells those stories and how those stories are told. If an Asian-American woman can play Dr Watson in US drama Elementary, why can’t a BAME actor play a lead in the forthcoming Shakespeare season?

There’s no shortage of BAME producers, directors, writers and actors out there and there’s a thriving BAME literary, comedy and theatre scene. What UK television needs is greater imagination about what’s possible, and what BAME talent need is a break.

Pat Younge is founder/director of the consultancy WeCreate Associates

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James Garner obituary

Posted by MereNews On July - 20 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Through many films and two influential television series, Maverick and The Rockford Files, James Garner, who has died aged 86, developed a persona with a subtly different appeal. It began as original and accrued familiarity over the course of four decades: a coward who was the soul of honour, a hero likely to ride away, stick his finger up the barrel of his opponent’s gun or get winded in a fight and complain of damage to his dentistry.

When Polaroid cameras commissioned some ads to be shown on American television at the height of its 1970s popularity, it needed a household face, an actor comfortable with the intimacy of the small screen, yet with an edge. Garner was the natural choice.

In 1955, Warner Brothers hired him for small roles in Cheyenne, one of the western series infesting television, and advanced him to Marlon Brando’s buddy in the movie Sayonara (1957). Garner was on contract, on lower television pay rates, when he met Roy Huggins, a writer/producer on Cheyenne, about to script a new show. Huggins shaped it to star Garner, who shared his wry humour, and in his draft pilot, Huggins tried to break as many TV western rules as possible. Garner’s Bret Maverick was to be free of the “irritating perfection” of small-screen cowboys: he would be a greedy, pragmatic conman, for all the charm.

The defining moment, the transition to comedy, happened when the scriptwriter Marion Hargrove added the stage direction: “Maverick looks at him with his beady little eyes.” With that, irony arrived on primetime TV, followed by parody, self-parody, and the theft of any plot or style (including stories by Robert Louis Stevenson and episodes of Dragnet) not actually nailed to the studio floor.


James Garner and Rob Reiner, left, in The Rockford Files.
James Garner and Rob Reiner, left, in The Rockford Files. Photograph: Everett Collection/Rex

“We nearly killed the cowboy shows,” said Garner. “It was hard after Maverick to see those guys go around being brave without laughing.” Maverick was the hottest show from 1957 to 1959; it reinforced ABC when the network was struggling, and won a 1959 Emmy.

In breaks from the series, Garner took leading roles in Warner Brothers feature films, but was still paid only TV rates. When he was suspended in 1960 during a writers’ strike, he walked off Maverick and out of his contract (“contracts are one-sided affairs; if you click, the studio owns you.”) He sued Warners for breach: Warners claimed that the strike was beyond its control, but the court was told that the studio had got 100 scripts under the table and had 14 writers working under the pseudonym W Hermanos (Spanish for brothers). The judge found for Garner.

Released – he thought for ever – from his gambling man’s fancy waistcoat, Garner became a box-office name; he was at his most interesting – the smile cold, or on hold – in two second world war films, the sober comedy The Americanisation of Emily (1964), and a psychological thriller, 36 Hours (1965). In other comedies he took the sort of roles that might have gone to Rock Hudson, but with sharper moves and delivery (The Wheeler Dealers, 1963). His identity as a natural fixer was important to The Great Escape (also 1963) – he drew on his Korean war memories of being the company scrounger.

The films that determined the rest of his long working life were made as his big screen career declined, after he realised that he needed his own company – Cherokee Productions – to control material. They were Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969, followed by the less fresh 1971 Support Your Local Gunfighter), in which he developed his contrary hero: “I make no secret,” his drifter drawled, unimpressed by the wildness, or indeed the westernness, of a frontier town, “of the fact that I’m on my way to Australia.”

His other crucial movie was Marlowe (1969), an adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s private-eye novel The Little Sister. The script wasn’t vintage noir – there was a martial arts scene – and Garner was not exactly Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, but he was droll and melancholy. Garner returned to TV in 1971 (Cherokee Productions partnering Warner Bros), with Nichols, a western set in 1914, harder and more elegiac than TV had tried before; his Arizona sheriff rode a motorbike. It was Garner’s favourite series, but it had low ratings and was soon withdrawn.


James Garner and Donald Pleasence, right, in The Great Escape, 1963.
James Garner as ‘the scrounger’ and Donald Pleasence, as ‘the forger’, right, in The Great Escape, 1963. Photograph: Sportsphoto/Allstar/UA

His second breakthrough came in 1974, when Huggins still in the business, assigned a pilot script to the writer Stephen J Cannell, who decided to break as many rules of the TV private-eye genre as he could. The obvious casting was Garner: Jim Rockford, the ex-prisoner hero of The Rockford Files, was a downmarket Marlowe, with no office but his mobile home at the beach, an answering machine instead of a secretary. His gun was stored in the biscuit jar. Rockford had a paunch from tacos and beers; he was lazy; and, except for his retired trucker dad, he knew mostly bums, losers and put-upon LAPD cops.

As Maverick had done, the series pushed the televisually possible further. Storylines could be serious – Garner was proud of an episode based on a New Yorker investigation into the grand jury system, so acute that it helped change the law. But it was the sense of a weird Los Angeles, sundried as a lizard up canyon roads, that was new and different. Critics panned it, but the first season was a ratings hit; then Huggins was pushed out, and Garner confronted Universal Television over an enforced change in tone. Rockford lost 20% of its audience but continued for five seasons (Garner won his Emmy in 1977); then it ended suddenly in the sixth season, when Garner told the crew on location that he was exhausted and had no intention of dying early, and walked out.

Universal sued for breach of contract; Garner countered with a $22.5m suit; Universal settled years later for an undisclosed multimillion sum. After the 118 episodes of the original run (1974-80), there were some TV reunion films in the 1990s. Garner was at a loss for a project, and “leerily, because I don’t think you can beat nostalgia” he agreed to revive Maverick for NBC, acknowledging time by making Bret owner of a saloon – “when you get older you’re not out there shootin’ and ridin’ and carryin’ on with the Indians”. But “the westerns had been dead for a long time – we didn’t have anything to poke fun at”; the show’s audience was too old to appeal to advertisers. It was cancelled.

He made occasional movies, unfazed by a cross-dressing Julie Andrews in Victor Victoria (1982), and in facing his age in Murphy’s Romance (1985), his Oscar nomination. He had one more try at series TV, in 1991, in a half-hour comedy Man of the People – a conman in elected office – but it was cancelled midseason.


James Garner and Doris Day in Move Over Darling, 1963.
James Garner and Doris Day in Move Over Darling, 1963. Photograph: Sportsphoto/Allstar

Garner was never snobby about TV and he began to use mini-series not as a pension, but as a chance to do offbeat material. There were proper notices and Emmy nominations for Heartsounds (1984), where he was a doctor accepting death – his own; he played a corporate executive in the takeover drama Barbarians at the Gate (1993), HBO’s early attempt to use its cable freedom to create tough work.

Just how skilled was his projection of ease could be seen in the movie incarnation of Maverick (1994) – Mel Gibson played Bret, and Garner Bret’s pappy. Relaxing in a bath with a cigar, he stole the film – he did the same to Clint Eastwood in Space Cowboys (2000), and he had done it to Bruce Willis in Sunset (1988) playing Wyatt Earp, an aged consultant to silent movies. That was his second Earp: his humourless portrayal in Hour of the Gun (1967) was against the run of his usual persona.

The Notebook (2004) showed his capacity for veteran romance, with Gena Rowlands. And he continued on TV, most suitably as that voice of American tale-telling, Mark Twain, in Roughing It (2002). As David Thomson wrote, on TV Garner delivered good-natured wit an hour a week for so long over the decades that “If a screen actor did that, he’d be Cary Grant”.

The name of Garner’s production company reflected the fact that his mother, Mildred, was part-Cherokee; he was born in Norman, Oklahoma, and she died when he was four. His father, Bill, ran a hardware store. Seasickness made the Merchant Marine hard going for him, but Korean war service brought him two Purple Hearts. His first stage experience came in bit parts touring in The Caine Mutiny Court Martial.

In 1956, he married Lois Clark. She survives him, as do his daughter Gigi and stepdaughter Kimberly.

• James Garner (James Scott Bumgarner), actor, born 7 April 1928; died 19 July 2014

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Last autumn, I received a message from Bob Dylan’s publisher telling me a box of lyrics had been found, all handwritten by Dylan in 1967, during the time of the original Basement Tapes recordings. The question to me was: “Would you like to do something with these?”

Shocked, I asked if Dylan was into this. Having been told he was, I asked no more questions, but set out to come up with something that would do justice to Dylan and be true to the spirit in which the lyrics were originally written.

Dylan had been collaborating with an extraordinarily talented group of musicians at the time, any of whom could have led their own band. So, the first step was to find a group of songwriter/band leaders who would be able to work together to write, sing, and perform melodies for these soulful and playful lyrics.

The artists we invited – Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Marcus Mumford – were equal to the task. Not only do they have the talent and the same open and collaborative spirit needed for this to be good, they are all music archaeologists. They all know how to dig without breaking the thing they are digging. We sent 16 lyrics to each artist ahead of time, and they all showed up at Capitol Studios in the basement of the Capitol Records building in Hollywood in March of this year. Some had written a melody or two, others had written a dozen, but a couple of days before the sessions started, an additional eight lyrics from that same period showed up. Those lyrics, which no one had time to think about, led to some of the freest recordings.


Bob Dylan, 1966
Bob Dylan on stage in 1966, the year before these lyrics were written. Photograph: Jacques Haillot/Apis/Sygma/Corbis

The first day, we recorded one song – the killer Down on the Bottom, led by James and supported mightily by the others. At the end of that day, we started looking at the number of songs we had in front of us – there were going to be multiple versions of many of them – and we didn’t want to turn this into a competition, so we decided to record everything.

What transpired during those two weeks was amazing for all of us. There was a deep well of generosity and support in the studio at all times, which reflected the tremendous trust and generosity shown by Dylan in sharing these lyrics with us in the first place. More than 40 recordings were created, the first 20 of which will be released this autumn on Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes.

Sam Jones captured all of it on film, and we are creating a documentary that will give audiences an inside look at the making of this album and explore the historical context of Dylan’s original Basement Tapes recordings and their enduring influence.

Article source: http://feeds.theguardian.com/c/34708/f/663828/s/3caf6212/sc/38/l/0L0Stheguardian0N0Cmusic0Cshortcuts0C20A140Cjul0C20A0Clyrics0Ebob0Edylan0Enew0Ebasement0Etapes0Et0Ebone0Eburnett/story01.htm

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