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The Month Ahead

What to see, read and listen to in October


The rise and fall (and possible rise) of Adam Ant

In the 1980s, British pop star Adam Ant inspired a generation of kids to take to the streets wearing pirate outfits. MTV viewers voted him “Sexiest Man in America.” His band, Adam and the Ants, was rarely out of the charts. By the 1990s, though, the Ant’s star had faded, and by the 2000s his fame had descended into notoriety (a battle with bipolar disorder led to hospitalization and repeated run-ins with the law). This month Adam Ant embarks on his first U.S. tour in 16 years, with a new album to follow. Here, in his own words, the ups and downs:

On early fame: “No one can prepare you for that kind of thing. I’m a fairly private person, not a partygoer, so I just stayed busy. The least enjoyable part was the lawyers. I spent more time talking to lawyers and accountants than I did the band.”

On record labels: “At the time, the music industry was all-powerful. I got eight pence out of every pound I earned, which was actually seen as a great deal.”

On integrity: “You have these record companies holding the purse strings saying, ‘Can’t you make it sound like The Happy Mondays?’ I never did that, which didn’t make me any friends. There were a few years of being ignored.”

On mental health: “All those years spent concentrating on making a name for myself, I forgot to take a holiday, and it caught up with me. It wasn’t the product of a rock fable, drugs or drink; it was a silent enemy, and it went untreated.”

On revival: “I’ve been back on the road for 18 months. I’ve got a new album. I have my own record label. I’m coming back replenished. I’m really enjoying it now.”

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A new book encourages youngsters to invent, grow and melt stuff

There are better ways to alleviate tedium than texting. So contends Unbored, an uncommonly brainy kids’ activity book. Primers include how to be alone (à la Thoreau) and how to be a critic of anything (written by a New York Times TV critic). “The coolest thing,” says co-author Joshua Glenn, “is that we’re taking the DIY ethos we absorbed as punks in the ’80s and applying it to childhood.” A few of his favorites:

Upcycle your vinyl: Instead of junking an unwanted vinyl LP, place it atop an upside-down oven-safe bowl, put the bowl on a cookie sheet and stick it all into a 200-degree oven for five minutes. Then mold the still-warm record into a snazzy bowl.

Curse without cursing: Rather than calling someone a “jerk,” call him a “Captain Kirk,” or play it even safer with just “Captain.” This is how Cockney rhyming slang works.

Rewire your brain: Use ideas from behavioral economics to influence yourself and others in a positive way. Want to eat more carrots? Try rebranding them “X-Ray Vision Carrots.” OCT. 16

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