Arts feature

Hitting the high notes

Claude Debussy died on 25 March 1918 to the sound of explosions. Four days earlier, the Kaiser’s army had deployed its long-range Paris Gun, and as Debussy’s cancer entered its final hours, artillery shells were bursting in the streets around his home in Avenue du Bois-de-Boulogne. This quiet modernist — who’d transformed music into an


Faking history

It’s all about the rhythm. Hamilton is a musical that tells the story of America’s foundation through the medium of rap. It sounds crazy but it works because the show’s arsenal of effects is simply overwhelming. The lyrics drive the narrative, the rap gives energy to the lyrics, and the dancers double the effect by


Licensed to thrill

My third most fervent New Year wish — just after Litecoin goes to £20,000 and Jacob Rees-Mogg becomes PM — is for the BBC to retire to its study with its service pistol and a bottle of whisky and finally do the decent thing. After all, as lots of people are beginning to notice, when


Stiller instinct

Brad’s Status is a midlife crisis film starring Ben Stiller as a nearly 50-year-old man whose status anxiety is through the roof, poor thing. My heart bleeds and all that. I’ll tell you what Brad’s status should be: face well and truly slapped. The film is written and directed by Mike White (Beatriz at Dinner;


Top of the pods

It’s racing up the UK podcast charts, overtaking (as I write) the established favourites such as No Such Thing as a Fish, Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review and This American Life, and only just behind the reigning number one, My Dad Wrote a Porno (don’t ask; it’s meant to be funny). Briefly, at the height