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Facing the music

The Spectator’s pop critic looks back on 20 years It suddenly occurs to me, with a jolt, that I have been writing about pop music for The Spectator for 20 years. This makes me the fifth (or possibly sixth, since I am bound to have forgotten someone) longest continuously serving columnist on the magazine, which

Timeless verities

Marylebone is the pleasant departure-point if you’re taking the train to Aylesbury from London, and what better way to spend a spring day than an outing to the gentle Buckinghamshire countryside to see a celebration of its merits by fine artists. Upstairs at the Bucking-hamshire County Museum, near St Mary’s Church, is an excellent small

At one with nature

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the first and best of the breed in the British Isles. Since 1977 it has activated 500 acres of undulating land between Barnsley and Wakefield in a unique way. A man-made upper and lower lake, with a weir and cascade at the narrow junction between the two, runs through the middle

Banality of evil

Holocaust art must be approached with care. There’s a worry that by finding fault you’re somehow failing to take the world’s all-time Number one human rights violation seriously. Kindertransport follows the tale of Eva, a Jewish schoolgirl sent from Nazi Germany to Britain at the close of the 1930s. She’s adopted by a rough-diamond Manchester

Simple and sumptuous

I wish the term ‘ballet-theatre’ had not already been snatched and (mis)used by dance historians, for there is no better way to define Will Tuckett’s art: his creations are to ballet what dance-theatre is to modern and postmodern dance. Not unlike some of the most acclaimed performance makers who specialised in the latter genre, Tuckett

Preachy prig

Britten’s penultimate opera, Owen Wingrave, has always been the Cinderella in that area of his work, and the production of it at the Linbury Studio in the Royal Opera House is unlikely to change that. Britten wrote it for presentation on BBC television, and took very seriously the possibilities and limitations which that medium possesses

Our island story

Victoria’s Empire (BBC1, Sunday) is the BBC’s new Palinesque travelogue series in which comedienne Victoria Wood goes from exotic location to exotic location chatting to the locals, making wry observations and being mildly funny. But there’s at least one thing that’s very, very annoying about it. The annoying thing — and I don’t know whether