Arts feature

A power to enthral

Henrietta Bredin on how book illustrations can bring the narrative to life The illustrations in children’s books play a crucial role in expanding the imaginative horizons of the reader and fixing the story in the memory. The very best book illustration is so inextricably linked to the text that it is hard to think of

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Garden shorts | 4 October 2008

Ursula Buchan on the new chief presenter of BBC 2’s Gardeners’ World Where do you stand on the most important issue of the day, namely, whether the BBC should have passed over Carol Klein, to be chief presenter of BBC 2’s Gardeners’ World after the retirement of Monty Don, in favour of Toby Buckland? The

Meditation on meaning

Rothko Tate Modern, until 1 February 2009 The first thing that should be noted is that this exhibition is not the retrospective that its title implies. In fact, it’s a severely limited show, concentrating on the late work only. There are therefore none of the joyful, brightly coloured paintings that sell so well around the

Losing is the new winning

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People 15, Nationwide How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is based on Toby Young’s best-selling memoir of the same name and, already, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking: what, a film based on Toby’s book? Well, he kept that very quiet, the sly old devil.

IPod dilemma

A musician friend of mine acquired his first iPod recently, and like small boys who don’t realise that everyone else went through this about five years ago, he and I frequently discuss our battles with the things. A musician friend of mine acquired his first iPod recently, and like small boys who don’t realise that

Confusing frolic

La Calisto Royal Opera House Tosca Opera North, Leeds It’s not often that you find the Royal Opera going as far back as the 17th century, no doubt for the good reason that operas written then are not suitable for performance in such large houses. That hasn’t daunted the director David Alden, who, together with

Playing games

Six Characters in Search of an Author Gielgud Riflemind Trafalgar Studios Pirandello, the master of pretentious bombast, is perhaps the most talent-free of all Nobel laureates. Here he is in the West End with one of his better-known experiments updated by Rupert Goold and his collaborator Ben Power. Playing games with the conventions of theatre

Sound sensations

Why do some sounds endure to jolt the memory and take us back to a specific moment in time, like Proust’s taste sensations, while others fade away? The chunter-chunter-chunt of a steam train, for instance, is instantly recognisable even for those too young ever to have been on a ‘real’ steam journey. When they hear

Campaigning genius

Jamie’s Ministry of Food (Channel 4, Tuesday); Ian Hislop Goes off the Rails (BBC4, Thursday) ‘People have a problem with me,’ claims Jamie Oliver, but I’m not one of them. I’ve had my doubts in the past — overuse of phrases like ‘luvly jubbly’, the Sainsbury’s ads, the general extreme jealousy of his stupendous wealth,

The turf | 1 October 2008

An old friend in journalism, well aware that he was prone to conspiracy theories, especially where his own career was concerned, used to say to me, ‘Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean the bastards aren’t out to get me.’ So were the authorities out to get Aidan O’Brien when they convicted him and jockey Colm