Bad conduct

To be honest, my friendship with Michael Tilson Thomas hasn’t gone quite as I had hoped. It started in February 1990, when he chose a Tallis Scholars track for one of his desert island discs. This was a movement from a mass by Josquin des Prez, that he said (apparently impromptu) was music which ‘completely

Arts feature

All white on the night

Shakespeare’s ‘Wars of the Roses’ will have no ethnic minority actors in the cast when the shows (two Henry VI plays and Richard III) open at the Rose Theatre, Kingston upon Thames, later this month. A sprinkling of so-called BME (black and minority ethnic) actors in Shakespeare has been the norm for ages now. So

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Press night

Sam Mendes once said there is no such thing as the history of British theatre, only the history of British press nights. That observation takes us closer to understanding the taboo that constrains journalists from reviewing the opening performance of a West End play. A dozen or so previews take place before the critics are


Art by committee

Australia, 1788. A transport ship arrives in Port Jackson (later Sydney harbour) carrying hundreds of convicts and a detachment of English officers under orders to guard the prisoners and to implant the roots of a well-ordered colony. These facts form the basis of Our Country’s Good, which was created in 1988 by Timberlake Wertenbaker in


Lifting the veil

Finally I realise why women are so pissed off. It all goes back to the first codified laws — circa 2,400 bc — when rules like this were invented by men: ‘If a woman speaks out of turn then her teeth will be smashed by a brick.’ Before that, apparently, women lived on a pretty


Touchy-feely – not

‘The eye is fatigued, perverted, shallow, its culture is degenerate, degraded and obsolete.’ Welcome to the Palpable Art Manifesto of Romanian sculptor Paul Neagu. Art must be accessible to all the senses, he argued, for ten fingers will explain more than two eyes and the tongue might tell yet more again. His Palpable Sculpture is


Family matters | 3 September 2015

The Second Mother is a Brazilian film concerning a wealthy family, their live-in housekeeper, and the arrival of the housekeeper’s daughter, who throws the household into upheaval. If pushed, I’d say it’s about class and the female experience but, before you run for the hills, you should know it is socio-economic warfare beautifully written and


Loose women

Late Night Woman’s Hour has created a Twitter storm with its twice-weekly (Thursdays and Fridays) doses of ‘mischievous and unbridled conversation’. The 11 p.m.–midnight slot is an ideal opportunity for cardigans to be unbuttoned and tongues unloosed, a chance to show that Radio 4’s venerable magazine programme for women can still shake up the station.