Cannes rolls out traditional red carpet as Côte d’Azur shimmers into festival season

Planet Business: Brexit car industry warning, Linda ‘the Velvet Hammer’ Yaccarino and a brief history of HMV

Image of the week: Carpeting Cannes

Roll out the red carpet, they say, but then someone’s actually got to do it. Here, hours in advance of the start of the Cannes Festival on Tuesday, staff can be seen hard at work draping the steps of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, with 1968-era Catherine Deneuve gazing down at them from the official festival poster as they fit each step.

Cannes being a traditional sort of affair, it has stuck with the customary red rather than the champagne carpet of the last Oscars, the black carpet of the most recent MTV Video Music Awards and the turquoise carpet of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The festival, which runs until May 27th, swells the town of Cannes to 230,000 people, or three times its normal population, and marks the start of the tourist season for the resort.

Next month it’s the turn of the almost-as-glamorous advertising world, with the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity taking centre stage. Well, those beaches aren’t going to fill themselves.


In numbers: Brexit brake


Jobs in the UK associated with the car industry under threat thanks to both Brexit and its failure to become a player in the electric vehicle battery market.


People employed at plants owned by carmaker Stellantis in Ellesmere Port and Luton. The maker of Vauxhall, Fiat, Citroën and Peugeot vehicles now says if the UK can’t renegotiate its Brexit deal with the EU, it could be forced to shut these operations.


The Brexit deal requires 45 per cent of parts by value to be sourced in the UK or EU by 2024. Stellantis has warned it can no longer meet these rules after a rise in the cost of raw materials used in electric car batteries, exposing it to tariffs of 10 per cent if the 2024 time frame is not extended.

Getting to know: Linda Yaccarino

Easily the number one fact about Linda Yaccarino, the new Twitter chief executive hired by owner Elon Musk, is that she goes by the nickname “the Velvet Hammer” – a moniker that arose from her silky negotiating skills as the former, long-time advertising sales boss for broadcaster NBCUniversal.

But Yaccarino was missing from a key NBCUniversal presentation to advertisers in New York this week, having departed the company for the more fraught shores of Twitter, where she has been busy amassing followers.

“I’ve long been inspired by your vision to create a brighter future,” she told Musk on the platform. “I’m excited to help bring this vision to Twitter and transform this business together!”

She later added some further exclamation-marked excitement, suggesting to new followers that they “build Twitter 2.0 together!”

More sceptical sorts, however, doubt whether Yaccarino will be able to stick working with Musk for more than a few months. Others described the role as the ultimate “glass cliff” position, meaning the sort of high-profile but doomed-from-the-start roles that see female executives attempting to clean up the unholy messes created by their male predecessors.

The list: HMV history

HMV, the music and entertainment retailer that began life as His Master’s Voice, has been knocking around for 122 years now. This year the brand is set to return to both the Republic after a gap of seven years and its original London site after a four-year absence. The company has had its fair share of big moments, musical and otherwise, throughout its history.

1. Musical beginnings: British composer and conductor Sir Edward Elgar opened the first HMV at 363 Oxford Street in 1921 on behalf of then owners the Gramophone Company, a predecessor of music label EMI.

2. Massive fire: the original store went on fire in December 1937, with its interior reduced to rubble and ash, and 250 firemen required to bring it under control. Only Nipper, its front-of-store dog logo, remained unscathed, though the group managed to reopen at the site in 1939.

3. Beatles bliss: in 1962 Beatles manager Brian Epstein took a tape of the group into HMV’s studio in the Oxford Street store to make a demo record, starting a chain of events that led to their signing by EMI’s Parlophone.

4. Swear it again: in 2002, Irish band Westlife set a record for personal appearances, drawing 10,000 fans to HMV shops in Dublin, Belfast and Edinburgh over a 24-hour period.

5. Sunrise era: after two administrations in the UK and two effective collapses in the Irish market, one in 2013 and one in 2016, Canada’s Sunrise Records bought the UK chain in 2019 and is now expanding it across Europe, including to Dublin’s Henry Street. The vinyl revival is real, you guys.