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Editor: Alex Pleasants

On this week’s Vaizey View, Ed is joined by the KING of Xbox himself, Phil Spencer. He started at Microsoft as an intern in 1988 and climbed his way up to CEO of Microsoft Gaming. A super insightful chat which explores evolving gaming trends and how to represent the world’s 3 billion active gamers.  

And I (Alex, the newsletter guy) have written for Kindred Media about three tech issues facing the next Prime Minister and how a growing UK tech ecosystem also needs to mature. Have a read

 Government Stuff 

70% of UK homes and businesses now have access to gigabit broadband, with a further £690m set to connect a further 500k premises in the coming months. 

The Competition and Markets Authority is dialling it up to an in-depth investigation into Microsoft’s $68.7bn deal for gaming giant Activision Blizzard.  

The Government Art Collection is launching a five-year project to promote the works of UK artists at government outposts abroad.  

The government has extended the financial support provided to the innovators and researchers who applied to the EU’s Horizon Europe programme. 

Politics Home reports that the government’s £120m Unboxed arts festival has seen just 238k visitors. The initial ‘stretch target’? 66 million. 

 Culture Stuff 

Arts & Culture 
Entries to GCSE exams across all creative subjects fell this year, with music hitting a new low.  

The National Portrait Gallery is trying to raise £50m to buy what The Art Newspaper call ‘the greatest portrait by one of the finest British artists’ Joshua Reynolds. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has pledged £1.2m to help the capital’s cultural spaces with their rising energy bills.  

A Freedom of Information request to see the minutes of Arts Council England’s Race and Disability Advisory Group has been denied.  

Skepta is taking centre stage at Sotheby’s with a special curation and a debut painting. One line (paint) flows, yeah he’s got some of those.  

New grants of €10-20,000 are now available to help underrepresented artists and community-centred projects through WeTransfer's The Supporting Act Foundation.  

State-supported students can now apply for free Art History A-Level and EPQ courses through Art History Link-Up and The Courtauld.  

Gulp. An AI-generated artwork took first place at the Colorado State Fair and, let me tell you readers, people are not exactly chuffed.  

An Australian company has designed a cling film alternative made from waste potato peels. Got a really good joke for this one but I’ll tell you tater. 

Theatre & Dance 
Ticket sales at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe were down 27% compared to 2019.  

The Royal Ballet is to feature a performance by a dancer in a wheelchair for the first time.  

A new arts centre in Worcester is to have a 500-seat theatre.  

Classical Music & Opera 
Classical music company through the noise is expanding its crowdfunded concerts in unconventional venues to Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham. 

Museums and galleries are being urged to join the VAT Refund Scheme which has provided the sector with up to £1bn since it was created in 2001. 

Press, Books & Libraries 
Circulation of the UK’s regional print newspapers is down by an average of 16% compared to last year.  

Prince Charles has guest-edited a special edition of the Black British newspaper The Voice to mark its 40th birthday.  

Exhibitions and Events  
Some unseen Charles Dickens letters are to go on display at London’s Charles Dickens Museum. Been looking forward to this for ages. Great expectations. 

Ai Weiwei has unveiled his first-ever exhibition of glass sculptures in Venice. Cracking. I hope not. 

A brilliant new episode of KindredCast sees LionTree CEO Aryeh B. Bourkoff sitting down with Maverick Carter for a game-changing conversation about the media landscape.  

From his humble beginnings in Akron, Ohio, Maverick has emerged as one of the most prominent entrepreneurs in the entertainment space. He’s been a central figure in building LeBron James’ sector-spanning empire, serving as CEO of The SpringHill Company and launching UNINTERRUPTED, a platform that enables world-class athletes to share their stories.  

Between inspiring LionTree’s own interns and sharing some never-before-heard stories about his career, this episode is a slam dunk you will NOT want to miss. 

 Creative Industries & Tech Stuff 

Film & TV 
The Guardian and Independent are Tolkien about how good the new The Rings of Power looks. Here’s the Financial Times on why film-makers can’t resist dipping back into this fantasy world. 

The Beeb looks back at the life of beloved BBC Breakfast host Bill Turnbull.  

The programme has been unveiled for the 66th London Film Festival, featuring the Knives Out sequel and a film about the reporters who broke the Weinstein scandal. 

The British Fashion Council is teaming up with Burberry and Zalando for an initiative to address the underrepresentation of minorities in fashion. 

John Lewis is to recruit 10,000 Christmas workers.  

Music & Radio 
Music venues are seeing their energy bills increase by an average of 300%. UK Music chief Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has warned that many face closure without action.  

Music publishers and streaming services have reached an agreement on new royalty rates in the US.  

Playing music as a youngster
(like me) leads to a sharper mind when you’re much, much older (like Ed), according to new University of Edinburgh research.  

The Guardian boogies on down to Notting Hill for the first carnival since 2019. 

Taylor Swift scooped the top prize at the MTV VMAs this week, which also featured a quite odd digital appearance by Johnny Depp.  

And look what you made her do… Taylor Swift has only gone and announced a new album, too. That rhymed.  

This is fun. The Guardian speaks to the team behind Goat Simulator 3 about making frankly the most ridiculous game of the year.  

Tech & Telecoms 
California has approved first-of-its-kind legislation aiming to keep children safe online.  

Amazon-backed electric vehicle company Rivian has put plans for a major UK factory on hold.

NASA has had to delay the launch of its gigantic moon-bound Artemis rocket and said they’re “not ready to give up”. Sounding a bit like a drunk call to an ex there, NASA. 

Scientists sponsored by the US Department of Energy have reportedly designed a super-fast method to recharge electric vehicles in under ten minutes. 

The Guardian talks to British founders who are finding it increasingly difficult to access funding.  

Losses at buy-now-pay-later firm Klarna have quadrupled

Snap has laid off one-fifth of its workforce and they’re the latest to BeCopying BeReal.  

This is it. It’s all downhill from here. Nice knowing you. Twitter is rolling out an edit button later this month.  

The US has restricted sales of advanced computer chips to China for use in AI research.  

A University of Cambridge study has found that children speak more candidly about their mental health when talking to a robot.  

A laptop with a foldable screen? Why not, Asus. Thanks? 

A survey in the US has found that 1 in 4 people aged 16 to 25 intend to become a social media influencer at some point. Same. 

Ahoy there! Cruise giant Royal Caribbean is teaming up with Elon Musk's SpaceX to use its Starlink satellite system to offer superfast broadband at sea.  

 Appointments & Movers 

Google UK’s vice-president Ronan Harris is joining Snap as president, EMEA; YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl is stepping down, replaced by Mary Ellen Coe; Michael Salter-Church has been elected chair of the Horniman Museum; Baroness Deborah Bull is to chair the expert advisory panel for the upcoming Cultural Education Plan; Calvin Klein CEO Trish Donnelly is leaving; the V&A has announced three new trustees; Paul Reed is stepping down as chief exec of the Association of Independent Festivals; Tania Harrison is to develop the City of London's new flagship leisure programme, Destination City

...And Finally

Dolly Parton has launched a new range of pet apparel called Doggy Parton. It's not quite Canine to Five, but it’s fine. 

I bet ewe are wondering who the first European on the Moon will be in this brave new era? Which astronaut of peak mental and physical fitness? That’s right, it’s Shaun the Sheep.  

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