O2 arena

I’ve finally been offended by a joke

I went to the O2 on Sunday night to see the comedians Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock. Chappelle, who survived an attempt to cancel him last year, didn’t disappoint, delivering some hilarious, politically incorrect jokes, and Rock was equally seditious, although his set went on for too long. But the rest of the evening was pretty painful. The effort it takes to get to this relic of the New Labour era is truly Herculean. Indeed, Rock made a joke about it, claiming he’d set off from his hotel on Wednesday morning and only just arrived. The Tube station is North Greenwich, one beyond Canary Wharf, and your only hope of

Harry Styles has entered his imperial phase – but his music still has no distinct identity

At the turn of this century, looking back on the late 1980s when the Pet Shop Boys could do no wrong and everything they touched turned to platinum, Neil Tennant coined the concept of a musician’s ‘imperial phase’. You can be hugely popular at other times in your career – you can sell just as many records – but the imperial phase is something different. The imperial phase is when an artist isn’t just selling records; it’s when approval of them has reached such a pitch that they can do no wrong. It’s when every magazine and newspaper uses any excuse to run photos of them, when their peers garland

The perfect pop star: Dua Lipa at the O2 Arena reviewed

Dua Lipa’s second album, Future Nostalgia, was released at the least promising moment possible: 27 March 2020, the day after the first lockdown came into force in the UK. Just as a pandemic swept the world, she was releasing a maximalist pop album that, surely, was designed for the communal experiences no one was having. But something about it connected: Future Nostalgia was a worldwide hit, the first British album released in 2020 to go platinum, the tenth bestselling record in the world that year. It turned out to be the right album for a wretched year. No wonder her show at the O2 was centred on it – every

He is now a family entertainer: Stormzy at the O2 Arena reviewed

Stormzy occupies a curious place in British pop culture right now. He’s the darling of liberals for all his good deeds – setting up an imprint for black writers within Penguin, and a charity to put black kids through Cambridge. He’s also the figurehead of UK hip hop, which at times has made him a lightning rod for the particular worldview of certain people. ‘Is it asking too much that he show a scintilla of gratitude to the country that offered his mother and him so much? Instead of trashing it,’ wrote, inevitably, Amanda Platell in, inevitably, the Daily Mail, after Stormzy had attacked Theresa May’s government over the Grenfell