Brett Anderson will celebrate his 46th birthday on stage tonight at the AsiaWorld-Expo alongside his skinny indie band mates and in front of his adoring Hong Kong fans. The androgynous Anderson stirred controversy in the British music press even before his band, Suede, had released an album, infamously “confessing” that he was “a bisexual man who had never had a homosexual experience”. In 1994, Anderson and Suede’s original guitarist, Bernard Butler, reunited as The Tears, the name taken from a line in a poem by Philip Larkin …

 

Named “the greatest British post-war writer” by The Times in 2008, Larkin’s reputation was tarnished by the posthumous publication of his letters and official biography in the early 1990s. Hitherto considered to be a gentleman, the publications revealed that the former librarian was, in fact, a racist misogynist obsessed with softcore pornography. In 1982, three years before his death, a collection of Larkin’s original essays and poems were published to celebrate his 60th birthday, with contributions to Larkin at Sixty from, among others, poet Seamus Heaney and journalist Clive James …

 

The witty Australian broadcaster, who once described Arnold Schwarzenegger as a “brown condom filled with walnuts”, continues to battle against chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and admitted in an interview last year that the disease had “beaten him”. The 73-yearold writer, who also has emphysema and can’t leave his adopted home, Britain, because of ongoing hospital treatment, recently penned Holding Court, a deeply moving poem in which he comes to terms with his fate, reflects on his life and regrets betraying his wife. This year, James published his translation of La Comedia, the poetic masterpiece of Durante degli Alighieri …

 

The Italian poet, more commonly referred to as Dante, was born in Florence and fought with the Guelph cavalry at the Battle of Campaldino, in 1289. Ensuing infighting led to the exile of many Florentines opposed to papal power, including Dante, the “Father of the Italian Language”. The Divine Comedy, widely considered the greatest literary work composed in Italian, describes Dante’s journey through hell and has been a source of inspiration for many artists over the centuries. For instance, it provided the name for the debut folk album of Ukrainian actress and supermodel Milla Jovovich …

 

After moving to the United States from Kiev in 1981, Jovovich signed her first professional modelling contract at the tender age of 12, prompting her to leave school to focus on her career. As an advocate for the legalisation of marijuana, Jovovich appeared in the magazine High Times, stating her only vices at the time were cigarettes and cannabis. In 2011, Jovovich was a presenter at the 68th Golden Globes, the annual film and television back-slapping ceremony hosted, to the detriment of a few humourless and overly sensitive A-listers, by British comedian Ricky Gervais …

 

For the annual British charity fundraising event Comic Relief Red Nose Day, this year, Gervais exhumed his beloved and cringeinducing alter ego David Brent, for a series of music tutorials called “Learn Guitar with David”. Gervais recently confirmed that Brent, the former “star” of The Office, who still struggles with any semblance of selfawareness, will play a couple of lowkey gigs in London next month. Before Gervais’ meteoric rise to comedy stardom he was briefly the booking manager of a pre-fame Suede, fronted by a slinky hipped Brett Anderson.