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Short and sweet

Somehow I missed A Nitro at the Opera when it was first put on at the Royal Opera’s Linbury Studio in 2003. Last week it was revived for four performances. The title — the most irritating feature of the evening — means nothing to me, but it is a collective one for songs and music-theatrical

Jokes and bitterness

The first question to spring to mind concerning this most welcome and in-depth study of the Irish–British painter Sir William Orpen (1878–1931) is why the Imperial War Museum? Recently, there have been notable exhibitions of his contemporaries Augustus John and William Nicholson at the Tate and the Royal Academy respectively, but Orpen it seems does

Spendthrift fever

I’m trying to write a novel at the moment, which means, of course, that I am spending a great deal of time looking for other things to do. It’s amazing how attractive the washing-up seems in comparison with sitting in front of a computer screen, making things up and struggling to find the words to

Master orator

Apart from a strange and silly piece on Today accusing Sir Winston Churchill of being a racist over his attitude to India — he was, after all, a product of the age of Empire — it was a good week on Radio Four for our greatest prime minister. To mark the 40th anniversary of his

Loitering with Mozart

Evidence that we live in clichéd times is everywhere about us, but I didn’t think it would extend to The Magic Roundabout. The new film, for which several of my colleagues have recently been recording the title music, is being trailed as follows: ‘The Magic Roundabout lies in ruins: the evil ice sorcerer ZeBadDee is