Audience with the King

Elvis Aron Presley departed this world on 16 August, 1977. Even if you delight in conspiracy theories and believe the film Elvis Found Alive was a documentary, he is currently unavailable for personal appearances. So his presence at the O2 Arena and five other UK cities in November was confined to giant screens. Actually present

Arts feature

Instant gratification

Instant photography already existed long before Edwin Land, the ingenious inventor and founder of Polaroid, went for a walk with his daughter in Santa Fe in 1943. ‘Why can’t I see the pictures now?’ she asked her father on the way home. But the photographic systems available at that time were really just ‘experimental portable


Of ice and men

An ice floe. Two anglers. Months to kill. That’s the premise of Nice Fish by Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins. The off-beat script is full of bleak and quirky insights. Rylance, who stars as the bungling Ron, admits that sometimes he gets so bored he bangs nails through frozen bananas. His pal compares dogs with


From first to last

As the dreaded season of goodwill approaches, the Royal Opera has mounted two revivals of pieces that are interestingly contrasted: Puccini, in the first characteristic and successful opera of his career, though with a lot still to learn, and Offenbach, with the incomplete last work of his career, but a radical departure from all the


Closing credits

BBC1’s The Missing has been one of the undoubted TV highlights of 2016. Yet, even thrillers as overwhelmingly thrilling as this one have been known to blow it in the concluding episode, when the biggest revelation of the lot turns out to be that the writers couldn’t really answer all the questions that previous episodes


Trivial pursuits | 1 December 2016

Robert Rauschenberg, like Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale, was a ‘snapper-up of unconsidered trifles’. Unlike Shakespeare’s character, however, he made them into art. Rauschenberg’s most celebrated piece, ‘Monogram’, on view in the grand retrospective of his work at Tate Modern, comprises, among other bits and pieces, a rubber shoe heel, a tennis ball, and a


All I want for Christmas

Comfort and joy. That’s what the song talks about, and that’s what the classic Christmas movies deliver. Whether it’s Die Hard (1988) or It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Home Alone (1990) or White Christmas (1954), we enjoy these films, in part, because they are so comfortable. Time and tradition have made them as familiar as

No peace, no pussy

The bizarro concept of a ‘President-elect Trump’ came to pass despite the wishes, clearly stated on the stump, of the entertainment-industrial complex. They all came out for Hillary — Queen Bey, the Boss, Jay-Z, J-Lo, SJP, Kimye, Madge, Meryl, Gaga, Lena D, old uncle Team Clooney and all. How the alt-right cackled when this star-spangled


On the road | 1 December 2016

‘We’re going to get lots of negative attention from environmentalists,’ he cackled, great puffs of blue-grey smoke emerging from the exhaust of his two-stroke car. Will Self was crossing Tower Bridge in a Trabant, that most potent symbol of the East German socialist state, bending almost double to fit himself round the steering wheel (he’s