• Thu
  • Oct 2, 2014
  • Updated: 3:47pm

Six degrees

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 May, 2012, 12:00am

Andy Lau Tak-wah (below) has become a dad at the age of 50, with wife Carol Chu Lai-sin giving birth to a girl. Lau's good looks saw him pigeonholed as a matinee idol early in his career, but his acting talent has come to be recognised largely thanks to a series of sympathetic bad-guy roles in films such as Johnnie To Kei-fung's A Moment of Romance; Andrew Lau Wai-keung and Alan Mak Siu-fai's Infernal Affairs; and As Tears Go By, directed by Wong Kar-wai ...

Hong Kong's greatest cineaste has long been a favourite with non-Chinese-speaking audiences as well as with film fans in this part of the world - but until five years ago he'd never made a film in another language. Then he really stuck his neck out, not only by making My Blueberry Nights in English, but also by casting in the lead role someone with no acting experience: Norah Jones ...

Most people know three things about the American singer-songwriter: she made an album a decade ago, Come Away With Me, that was very popular with people who don't want their ears unduly challenged; she's made some other albums since, but don't know what they're called; and her father is the renowned Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar. Like Wong, Shankar is as popular outside his country and culture of origin as he is within it. He was - pardon the pun - instrumental in the introduction of Indian influences into Western pop music during the 1960s, for example teaching the sitar to one of its greatest occidental popularisers, George Harrison, who was in quite a famous band with, among others, Paul McCartney ...

Perhaps more than any other member of The Beatles, Macca's career has undergone extreme vacillations between the sublime (Hey Jude, Yesterday) and the ridiculous (Ebony and Ivory, the Frog Chorus). He is nothing if not diverse, producing several albums of electronica and several more of classical music, as well as covering songs including A Room With a View, a characteristic piece of romantic whimsy written in 1928 by Noel Coward ...

No one could accuse the multitalented composer, singer, actor and playwright of being an anti-establishment figure - he ran the British government's propaganda office in Paris during the second world war, travelled tirelessly to entertain British troops and wrote several patriotic war-themed songs, as well as writing and starring in the flag-waving naval drama In Which We Serve. He still, however, managed to offend certain bastions of the establishment, finding himself alongside the likes of concert singer Paul Robeson and Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie on the blacklist of famous people not to be given any publicity in the various newspapers owned by Canadian-British publishing tycoon Lord Beaverbrook ...

Beaverbrook, born Max Aitken, turned against Coward because of a scene from In Which We Serve showing a British destroyer being sunk, followed by an image of a front page of Beaverbrook newspaper the Daily Express bearing the headline 'No war this year'. The Rupert Murdoch of his day, Beaverbrook was also the greatest benefactor of the University of New Brunswick in his native Canada, and served as its chancellor in the 1940s. More than six decades later, in 2010, that university awarded an honorary doctorate to Andy Lau.

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