Obama and Jay-Z, More Coldplay, Book Prizes, Hirst Cutbacks and Twilight


Barack and roll: Now that speculation about Barack Obama’s cabinet is pretty much over, people have begun mulling over the next best thing: his inauguration concert. And the rumored line-up is pretty sweet, including Leona Lewis, Beyonce and Jay-Z. We say hip-hop (or maybe “hip-hope”?) at the White House bodes for a good four years. [NME]

Jay-Z to tour with Coldplay: And speaking of Jay-Z, he’s set to join Coldplay on a tour in the UK next year, after years of sporadic collaborations. Despite some rumors about Coldplay breaking up, their new EP, Prospekt’s March, came out yesterday and includes a Jay-Z-enhanced version of “Lost.” [Pitchfork]

Underdog outbooks Booker winner: Henry Hitching’s The Secret Life of Words has won the prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys prize, awarded annually to a writer under 35. It’s a non-fiction account of the history of the English language, which sounds a bit textbook-ish but is apparently quite graceful and beautiful. Hitching beat out this year’s Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga (The White Tiger); this is the first time in six years that a non-fiction book has won the prize. [Guardian]

Hirst lays off 17 staff members: He might be valued at more than £200m, but Damien Hirst has decided to let go of nearly half of the London-based artists who work for him. Perhaps now that he has realized that his work is overpriced, Hirst is steeling himself for the lean times ahead. Or maybe this was just some kind of warped performance piece. [Guardian]

Twilight saga continues. Duh: After its exorbitant first-day gross this weekend (and tepid reviews), Twilight’s people are already one step ahead. New Moon, the second book in Stephanie Meyer’s vampire craze, is officially set for a movie version. Despite all the bloodlust the saga creates, it might be a sad day for die hard tweens when they realize Robert Pattinson’s character is largely absent from New Moon. [EW]