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Arts reviews

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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Intimations of infinity

18 December 2010

Andrew Lambirth finds a striking metaphor for the physical limitations of earthbound existence versus the infinite freedom of the spirit in Paul Nash’s painting ‘Winter Sea’ Paul Nash is one… Read more

The road to ruins

11 December 2010

Director Patrick Keiller made his name with London (1994) and Robinson in Space (1997), semi-documentaries recounting the peripatetic investigations into ‘the problem of England’ conducted by the unseen narrator and… Read more

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Gruesome fun

11 December 2010

Having been away, I only got to Alexander Raskatov’s opera A Dog’s Heart at its fifth performance by ENO, by which time everyone knew that it was brilliantly mounted, but… Read more

Bring on the warmth

11 December 2010

Cold weather demands warm music. To which end I am delighted that Mojo, the monthly rock magazine for the more gnarled music fan, has chosen as its album of the… Read more

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All the lonely people

11 December 2010

Whereas Sofia Coppola’s directorial breakthrough, Lost in Translation, featured two lonely souls rattling about in a Tokyo hotel, her latest film, Somewhere, features one lonely soul holed up in a… Read more

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Exhibitions Round-up: lifting the heart

11 December 2010

The run-up to Christmas is the perfect season for an exhibition of Andrew Logan’s joyful and extravagant art. The run-up to Christmas is the perfect season for an exhibition of… Read more

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Juggling statistics

11 December 2010

I love statistics. Possibly my favourite is the one from Bjorn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist: the total number of birds killed in the Exxon Valdez disaster was the same as… Read more

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Serious business

11 December 2010

Emily Mortimer on how her father John was asked by Kenneth Tynan to translate Feydeau’s farce and how she wishes he were still around to drink champagne with the current… Read more

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Speech impediment

11 December 2010

It’s the juxtaposition of ‘u’ on ‘u’ that did for Jim. According to scientific study, a sequence of words with the same vowels in the same place can trip us… Read more

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Flawed curiosity

11 December 2010

His brain clouded with opium fumes, Jean Cocteau wrote Les Parents Terribles in just one week. It opens like a Greek tragedy crossed with a madcap sitcom. The ageing beauty… Read more

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Interview: Semyon Bychkov: his own man

11 December 2010

Semyon Bychkov has rather unspectacularly become one of the world’s most sought after conductors, and at present he is in London to conduct a series of performances of Wagner’s now… Read more

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Broken hearts

4 December 2010

In a bleak St Louis tenement, the Wingfields are buckling beneath the Depression and their mother’s old-fashioned aspirations. A framework of fire escapes and raised walkways provides convenient perches from… Read more

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Magnificent Mozart

4 December 2010

The subtitle of Mozart’s Don Giovanni is ‘Il dissoluto punito’ (the rake punished), that of Rossini’s La Cenerentola is ‘La bontà in trionfo’ (goodness triumphant), while Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea… Read more

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Incredible journey

4 December 2010

Monsters is a sci-fi alien film and is being promoted as a sci-fi alien film but it’s not really a sci-fi alien film as it’s a love story with a… Read more

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Light relief

4 December 2010

The so-called Glasgow Boys had no manifesto, common background or style, apart from working in and around the city of Glasgow and sharing a belief in the importance of painting… Read more

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Street life

4 December 2010

It is the 50th anniversary of Coronation Street and there seems to be as much celebration and feasting as there was for the Queen’s own golden jubilee, in 2002. It… Read more

Playing it safe

4 December 2010

Put the life of a legendary music-maker/campaigner in the hands of a controversial choreographer and you’ll possibly end up with some explosive stuff. Put the life of a legendary music-maker/campaigner… Read more

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Tendentious drivel

27 November 2010

It told the story of two best mates, Frankie and Peter, serving in an unidentified northern regiment in Afghanistan where Peter quickly discovers he can’t cope under fire — and… Read more

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No laughing matter

27 November 2010

The Nobel prize is nothing. The real badge of literary greatness is the addition of the ‘esque’ suffix to one’s name and, if you’re truly outstanding, the word ‘nightmare’, too.… Read more

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Catching up with Clooney

27 November 2010

There are quite a few reasons to like The American. It is an action film with almost no action, making it a non-action action film which, I now know, is… Read more

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Conflicting passions

27 November 2010

Francesco Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, his biggest success, dating from 1902, leads a fringe existence, but it persists thanks primarily to the name role, dramatically meaty and not imposing too great… Read more

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At the heart of Europe

27 November 2010

The historic centre of Bruges has 16 museums, enough to cater for every touristic taste. There’s a Diamond Museum, a Lace Centre, a Choco-Story (the narrative element distinguishes it from… Read more

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Smoke and mirrors

27 November 2010

The Prince, according to Machiavelli, ‘should appear, to see him, to hear him, all compassion, all good faith, all integrity, all piety’ — which might be translated into Basic Blairish… Read more

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Ray of sunshine

20 November 2010

Could there be subtle changes taking place at Radio 4 HQ? Late last Friday night, A Good Read was dropped in favour of a repeat of a half-hour profile of… Read more