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Arts reviews

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Grandfather’s footsteps

12 February 2011

In the good old days, when Hackney still had a proper swimming pool, I used to do lengths every morning with an old boy called Bob. And, because I recognised… Read more

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Subtle approach

12 February 2011

Those who believe that ballet today is often no more than a grotesque physical display ought to have seen American Ballet Theatre’s performance of Jardin aux Lilas last week. Those… Read more

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Expert witness

12 February 2011

Recent events in Egypt have exposed not just the chasms in our understanding of what’s been going on in the countries of the Middle East, but also the effects of… Read more

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Enlightened patronage

12 February 2011

Alberto Della Ragione (1892–1973) was a naval engineer from Genoa with a passion for music, poetry and the visual arts; he also had the collecting bug. Alberto Della Ragione (1892–1973)… Read more

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Deriding Donizetti

12 February 2011

Someone should write an opera about a once-great opera company, now in artistically suicidal decline. A few decades ago it had great productions and performances of the masterpieces of the… Read more

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Reality check

22 January 2011

Horizon (BBC2, Monday) asked, ‘What is reality?’ and didn’t really have an answer. Horizon (BBC2, Monday) asked, ‘What is reality?’ and didn’t really have an answer. Well, it seems nobody… Read more

Writerly magic

22 January 2011

A frock that shocks, a terror-filled red coat and diamonds of seductive power are all promised next week in an alluring late-night series on Radio 3 (produced by Duncan Minshull).… Read more

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Gender problems

22 January 2011

It’s sometimes intriguing to speculate, as you go to an opera in a fringe production of one kind or another, about how much messing around (used neutrally) this or that… Read more

Still life

22 January 2011

Ballet is a dying art, according to Jennifer Homans’s bestselling history of ballet, Apollo’s Angels. Ballet is a dying art, according to Jennifer Homans’s bestselling history of ballet, Apollo’s Angels.… Read more

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Non-stop larks

22 January 2011

Gently does it. The Fitzrovia Radio Hour takes us back to the droll and elegant world of light entertainment in the 1940s when the airwaves were full of racy detective… Read more

Cruel cuts

15 January 2011

You might be forgiven for thinking that the cuts to broadcasting have already been implemented, with nothing but Mozart on Radio 3 and the Bible on Radio 4 on Sunday.… Read more

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Witch craft

15 January 2011

Is Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel an opera for children of all ages, or for grown-ups and for children, or mainly for grown-ups? I went to the Royal Opera’s revival of… Read more

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Forgotten laughter

8 January 2011

The Radio Times now lists 72 channels, and that’s not all of them. The Radio Times now lists 72 channels, and that’s not all of them. No wonder television has… Read more

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Film: Farewell to arm

8 January 2011

Unless you’ve been living under a rock — in which case, keep it to yourself; I’m done with rocks — you’ll have already heard about 127 Hours. Unless you’ve been… Read more

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Twin peaks

8 January 2011

It’s that time of year. The great reckoning is upon us. Insurance is being renewed. Tax returns are being ferreted out. Roofing jobs are being appraised and budgeted for. And… Read more

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Death watch

8 January 2011

Although I stopped watching TV some years ago, films are a continuing solace and pleasure. Among the Christmas treats was a previously unseen Jack Nicholson movie, entitled The Bucket List.… Read more

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Whine merchants

8 January 2011

Some albums you love instantaneously, others you have to work at. And, just occasionally, an album comes along that you know that you will love if only you can hear… Read more

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Gardens: Beguiled by olive trees

18 December 2010

Fashion may be Folly’s child, but that never stopped gardeners, when the urge was on them, from planting something à la mode. Fashion may be Folly’s child, but that never… Read more

Top of the pops

18 December 2010

The most watched programme on British television this year was the special live edition of EastEnders, broadcast in February to mark the soap’s 25th anniversary. The most watched programme on… Read more

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Unsung poets

18 December 2010

We might actually be glad of the time difference over in Australia this Christmas, so that we can switch on to Aggers and co. and listen in peace long after… Read more

A golden age

18 December 2010

Was there a golden age of English music a hundred years ago? From today’s vantage-point there probably was. Was there a golden age of English music a hundred years ago?… Read more

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The long march

18 December 2010

Peter Weir’s The Way Back tells the story of a group of escapees from a 1940 Siberian gulag who walked across Siberia, Mongolia, Tibet and the Himalayas to freedom in… Read more

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All over the place

18 December 2010

Deceptively attractive. Romeo and Juliet tempts directors and leads them on while keeping all its false doors and secret pitfalls out of view. Rupert Goold’s RSC production is two fifths… Read more

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Interview: Goodies’ triple triumph

18 December 2010

Here in HMV on London’s Oxford Street, three comedians are signing autographs. Here in HMV on London’s Oxford Street, three comedians are signing autographs. The queue of fans stretches through… Read more

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Culture notes

18 December 2010

Hush: it’s secret When I go to a film, there are certain things I expect: the popcorn only affordable with a small loan; the endless standing up and sitting down… Read more