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Arts review

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Still life

12 February 2011

I didn’t go and see the Coen brothers’ remake of True Grit this week because I couldn’t get excited about it and don’t like westerns anyhow. I didn’t go and… Read more

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Neither here nor there

15 January 2011

Conviction is yet another film based on ‘an inspirational true story’ because, I’m assuming, Hollywood has now run out of made-up stories. Conviction is yet another film based on ‘an… Read more

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Single vision

8 January 2011

There’s been much grumbling in the shires about Radio 3’s 12-day Mozart marathon. There’s been much grumbling in the shires about Radio 3’s 12-day Mozart marathon. Why burden us with… Read more

Production values

8 January 2011

In the absence of any operas to attend, I’ve been reading the most recent defence of ‘director’s opera’, a book with the characteristic title Unsettling Opera, by the American academic… Read more

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Hit Liszt

8 January 2011

Damian Thompson highlights the gems among the prolific and pilloried composer’s nine million notes The extraordinary thing about Franz Liszt is that he remains one of the most famous composers… Read more

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Child abuse

4 December 2010

Christmas approaches. And kitchens and playrooms across the land resound with the joyous tinkle of little Josephs and Marys rehearsing their roles in the Nativity play. My four-year-old son, making… Read more

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Plain speaking

27 November 2010

Thank heavens for radio, and its ability to survive the depredations of new technology (even the botched introduction of DAB). Channel Four’s much-hyped adaptation of William Boyd’s novel, Any Human… Read more

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Rewarding rubbish

27 November 2010

If you went on holiday to Italy this year, you may have come back with a plate, a mug or a jug — an item or two of the painted… Read more

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A good life

20 November 2010

As she prepares for the role of Mrs Malaprop, Penelope Keith talks to Lloyd Evans, who finds her decisive, cheerful, pragmatic and modest, with a tendency to break into fits… Read more

Hard times

20 November 2010

Courtroom dramas filled the schedules this week, with Jimmy McGovern writing a series for the BBC called Accused (BBC1, Monday). Mr McGovern, who invented Cracker, does grim. In a McGovern… Read more

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Mangled Mozart

20 November 2010

Don Giovanni is an opera which gives plenty of scope for alternative interpretations, as has been very clearly demonstrated in the past 30 or so years, since directors took over… Read more

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Deathly dull

20 November 2010

By the time a film franchise arrives at its seventh and penultimate instalment, you probably know if it is something you enjoy or not, or at least I would hope… Read more

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Small blessings

20 November 2010

As I pointed out last week, one of the chief attractions of the Treasures from Budapest show at the Royal Academy is the inclusion of two rooms of Old Master… Read more

Fashionable folk

13 November 2010

I have never felt greatly inclined to grow a beard myself. (Not that I could ever manage the full naval Prince Michael of Kent. A rather precious goatee would probably… Read more

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Curing amnesia

13 November 2010

As Iraq fades from view so does our outrage at the crimes it provoked. Three monologues by Judith Thompson may cure our amnesia. Forgetting atrocities is an essential preliminary to… Read more

Double diamond

13 November 2010

Emanuel Gat’s Winter Variations is not just another male duet. It is also an intense dance piece which captivates viewers from the opening sequence with its unique interplay of movement,… Read more

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Fresh and feisty

13 November 2010

Harry Becker (1865–1928) is one of those artists too often dismissed as being of regional interest only, who feature but rarely in the art chronicles of the period. Harry Becker… Read more

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Dramatic moments

13 November 2010

Two dramas, two very different plots and personnel. One was political, the other intensely personal. Both were new, commissioned for radio, and defiantly worth paying the licence fee for. This… Read more

Rallying cry

13 November 2010

Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story (Channel 4, Thursday) was unquestionably the most important programme that will appear on British television this year. Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story (Channel 4, Thursday)… Read more

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Trouble ahead

13 November 2010

This is, I should confess, not a film I meant to see. I meant to see Harry Potter, but turned up for the screening in the right place at the… Read more

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All over the shop

6 November 2010

I’m writing this near Ludlow, a town which has miraculously kept its centre. I’m writing this near Ludlow, a town which has miraculously kept its centre. On Saturday last there… Read more

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Moments of magic

6 November 2010

The talk is that we’ve yet to experience the cuts that will have to be implemented to balance the nation’s books, but on the quiet, in suburban backstreets, behind closed… Read more

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Life’s losers

6 November 2010

Mike Leigh’s latest film feels cruel and is uncomfortable to watch which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — you can’t expect cinema to offer only comfort and warmth, my dears;… Read more

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The accidental pianist

6 November 2010

James Rhodes is being hailed as one of Britain’s most exciting new musicians, and has just signed a six-album deal. Here, he describes his journey from psychiatric hospital to concert… Read more

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Friends indeed

30 October 2010

Jarrow playwright Peter Flannery’s superb television serial Our Friends in the North started life as an RSC production in Stratford in 1982 and has finally been re-released on DVD. The… Read more