Londoner’s Diary: NFTs can free musicians from ‘slavery’, says Tinie Tempah

 (Dave Benett)
(Dave Benett)

TINIE TEMPAH has launched a blunt and strongly worded attack on the music industry, saying “traditionally” the business “rapes a lot of artists”.

“It’s terrible, it’s basically like modern-day slavery, it really is,” the rapper-turned-investor told an event at auctioneers Bonham’s last night. Tempah was arguing that Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) — which allow ownership of digital artworks — now offer artists an alternative.

The technology means artists can be paid for their work “in the right way and in the fair way as well”, he said. Tempah added that artists can sell sections of their songs to fans as NFTs. Though Tempah, who has had seven number one singles, said he had “done pretty well”, he argued that for others the music industry “takes a lot of their rights, their masters, the royalties”. “Your reward is fame, and you get to go on tour and all the perks that come with that.”

Journalist Dylan Jones, hosting the event, asked whether NFTs might be a fad which is “gone tomorrow”. Tempah said the presence of corporations in the business showed it was “authenticated already”. Are NFTs really the promised land?

Picking up more than just a BAFTA…

Rebel Wilson on Stage at the BAFTAs
Rebel Wilson on Stage at the BAFTAs

A TRANSATLANTIC bunfight is kicking off as the US press accuses the Baftas of being behind a spike in Covid cases ahead of the Oscars this Sunday. “The glitzy and event-packed weekend in London is being blamed for a number of positive tests among awards season attendees,” runs a story in the Hollywood Reporter. Belfast director Sir Kenneth Branagh and actor Ciarán Hinds are among those who have tested positive. The US publication also describes the UK’s dropping of Covid restrictions as “a hugely controversial decision many are blaming on the current nationwide spike”. Covid culture wars.

What’s lobster for pincer movement?

Philip Colbert and  Charlotte Colbert (Dave Benett)
Philip Colbert and Charlotte Colbert (Dave Benett)

POP artist Philip Colbert has had a cartoon lobster as his trademark for years. Now he’s using the proceeds from his latest work to fund scientific research into their communication. “We’re making the world’s first dictionary of lobster language,” Colbert told us at the launch of his Lobstars collaboration with Bonhams last night, which goes to auction this week. “I’m actually at a place where I can fund lobster science more than anyone in the world” he said, adding “I’ve had a feeling for a long time they’ve had something to say”. Prepare for a war of words.

Theatre trips are not a Shaw thing

Fiona Shaw on stage at the Barbican (Alastair Muir)
Fiona Shaw on stage at the Barbican (Alastair Muir)

FIONA SHAW may be a grande dame of theatre, but she admits coronavirus has made her think twice about the institution she has dedicated her life to. “The effect of the pandemic is that I will hesitate about going to the theatre,” says Shaw, who appears in Killing Eve and has starred in RSC and National Theatre productions in London for years. She adds to Reasons to be Cheerful: “You wonder whether there will be an audience for a three month run or a five month run and an absolutely full house... I don’t really want to play to anything less – to play to a full house is itself the experience”. Trying times.

Planting trees is in Vogue at Chelsea

Londoner’s Diary 22 03 22

IT WAS tree-planting season in Chelsea yesterday as fashion and politics came together for a green outing. Minister Alok Sharma and Vogue editor Edward Enninful were among those at the Bags of Ethics event in Chelsea Physic Garden. Fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes planted a tree, as did cookery writer Clodagh McKenna, and model Jordan Barrett and artist Daniel Lismore. Green shoots on the up.


Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Richard Ratcliffe during a press conference hosted by their local MP Tulip Siddiq (right), in London (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Richard Ratcliffe during a press conference hosted by their local MP Tulip Siddiq (right), in London (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

NAZANIN Zaghari-Ratcliffe wasn’t afraid to argue that politicians should have done more to get her home earlier from Iran at a press conference in Portcullis House yesterday. Tory donor Lord Michael Ashcroft said she “would make an impressive Member of Parliament for whatever party she chose”. Surely she deserves a break first?


NIKKI DA COSTA, the former head of legal affairs in Downing Street, warns that the PM must start exercising “self-discipline”. She spells it out: “Discussing decisions bilaterally with ministers on WhatsApp without telling anyone and regularly backtracking, encourages poor behaviour in government.” Doesn’t sound great.