Apple Inc.’s famous penchant for secrecy remained intact Wednesday as the company’s retail stores were curtained and employees were close-lipped about a private memorial service to celebrate the life of company co-founder Steve Jobs. The service, announced to Apple employees in an email by CEO Tim Cook, took place Wednesday morning at company headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. It was also being webcast to employees worldwide. Apple planned to keep its stores closed for several hours so employees could watch the service. At stores across Northern California, white curtains were draped across the windows to block the view from outside. Near the campus before services started at 10 a.m. PDT, sheriff’s deputies directed traffic and employees streamed toward the company’s outdoor amphitheater. Media handlers kept reporters from getting too close to the scene and tried to prevent them from speaking with employees. Music drifted across the campus from the service, and employees leaving the service who wouldn’t give their names said singer Norah Jones and the British rock band Coldplay performed live. At the end of the service, employees said Coldplay front man Chris Martin told everyone to get back to work because that’s what Steve Jobs would have wanted. The mood at the service was festive, not somber, employees said. Speakers reportedly included Cook, Apple’s chief designer Jony Ive and former Vice President Al Gore. Jobs died Oct. 5 at age 56 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. … Larry McMurtry‘s newest job is not writing books but writing about them. The author of “Lonesome Dove,” “Terms of Endearment” and other novels is stepping in for an indefinite period as the “New Books” columnist for Harper’s Magazine. McMurtry is filling in for “White Teeth” novelist Zadie Smith, who is on temporary leave.