Arts feature

Moving statues

One of the stranger disputes of the past few weeks has concerned a Victorian figure that has occupied a niche in the centre of Oxford for more than a century without, for the most part, attracting any attention at all. Now, of course, the Rhodes Must Fall campaign is demanding that the sculpture — its

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Before cheap flights, trains were the economical way to discover Europe and its foibles. Personally, I enjoyed the old fuss at border crossings. By the time I was 18, I had memorised those warning notices in the carriages: Nicht hinauslehnen; Defense de se pencher au-dehors; E pericoloso sporgersi. Those three different ways of saying ‘don’t


Alice in cyberspace

Damon Albarn and Rufus Norris present a musical version of Alice in Wonderland. A challenging enterprise even if they’d stuck to the original but they’ve fast-forwarded everything to the present day. The titular heroine, a trusting and solemn Victorian schoolgirl, has been recast as Aly, a wheedling teenage grump who loathes her mum, her dad,


Double trouble | 7 January 2016

It’s scene five of Kasper Holten’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Michael Fabiano’s Lensky is alone with a snow-covered branch and his thoughts. Well, not quite alone. At the other side of the stage stands the man he is about to face in a duel: his friend Onegin, who’s apparently arrived ahead of the


Coming up for air | 7 January 2016

Gosh what a breath of fresh air was Andrew Davies’s War & Peace adaptation (BBC1, Sundays) after all the stale rubbish that was on over Christmas. There were times when the yuletide TV tedium got so bad that I considered preparing us all a Jonestown-style punchbowl. That way, we would never have had to endure


Mad about the boy | 7 January 2016

This is the week of The Hateful Eight, the latest Quentin Tarantino film, but Tarantino being Tarantino, there were no screenings for reviewers, so I’ve yet to see it. There also seems to have been some falling out with the Cineworld, Picturehouse and Curzon chains such that their cinemas won’t be showing the film at


Good cop, bad cop

One of the most shocking items of recent news has been the bald statistic that the number of people shot by law enforcement officers in the United States last year was 1,136. Not died by gangland shooting, domestic violence or terrorist attack. But killed by those who are meant to be preventing such deaths. Many