Golden oldies | 8 November 2012

Old blokes make records too; they just take their time over it. Graham Gouldman of 10cc has one out, his first for 11 years. Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra has two out, but they’re his first for 11 years too. Donald Fagen’s new one is his first for six years, but he may be

Arts feature

Global power

Go back 90 years to the first radio broadcast by the newly formed BBC and you might think you’ve entered a time warp. The company (it became a corporation later) was obsessed about a government inquiry and accusations that it was elitist and biased towards London. How could it survive without the licence fee? How

More from Arts

London pride

The trend for documentary portraits of individual cities assembled from archive footage continues with Julien Temple’s London: The Modern Babylon, out now on Bfi DVD. Temple was the obvious choice of director, as a native of the city and creator of London films Absolute Beginners and Oil City Confidential, not to mention 2010’s superb Requiem

Captivating kaleidoscope

When Philippe Decouflé first introduced the idea of sheer fun into the deadly serious business of postmodern dance-making, sceptics predicted that his comic strip and animated movie-like ideas would soon start to wear off. Almost 30 years later, his stuff is still as provocatively entertaining, and his work holds a special place in the history


Essential Chekhov

Uncle Vanya comes into the Vaudeville at an artful slouch. Lindsay Posner’s take on Chekhov’s story of bickering Russian sophisticates has an unusual visual style. In Britain we’re used to seeing Chekhov set in some fading Palladian mansion just outside Haslemere or Bath. Designer Christopher Oram has rummaged through the archives and discovered some hideously


Triple time

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is outdoing itself in putting on a triple bill of little-known operas, two by Massenet and one by Martinu. What is still more remarkable is that GSMD has put them all on before, though I think in different productions. This time round the designer Yannis Thavoris has produced


Zombie hell

Derren Brown is a great big cheating liar. Or so my old mucker Rod Liddle reckoned last week in his Spectator blog. Derren Brown’s Apocalypse was ‘clearly, demonstrably, faked’, declared Rod. Well, I guess that settles it then. Or does it? First some background for those of you who missed it. (Though my advice for


Missing links

The primary experience of looking at painting is the crucial encounter between a painted surface and the human eye. Nothing is quite like it, and this unique experience cannot be replaced or replicated by looking at a painting in printed reproduction or on a computer screen. This may be a truism but it is worth


Lost in translation | 8 November 2012

Mother’s Milk is an adaptation of Edward St Aubyn’s novel of the same name and is about an English family who are about to lose their beloved holiday house in Provence. (Diddums, I’m minded to say, but only because I’ve never had a holiday house in Provence to lose, and am quite bitter about that.)


Living document

It takes Alistair Cooke three minutes, or about 450 words, before he finally gets round to declaring ‘I was there’ — on the night that Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June 1968. Cooke was talking just a few days later on his weekly Letter from America slot on Radio 4. You might think Cooke would