Blighted by Dylan

Is it true that Bob Dylan is 70? I would never have guessed: there has been so little about it in the newspapers. No doubt he is out on the road right now, on his never-ending tour, murdering his old tunes with a relentless indifference, unbothered by what his fans might think. But you have

Arts feature

An Australian in Lautrec’s Paris

The remarkable career of Charles Conder At the small but distinguished exhibition at the Courtauld Institute — Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril (until 18 September) — we glimpse many of the habitués of the Moulin Rouge with the exception of Charles Conder. A marginal figure in at least four works by Lautrec, he is also the

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Imogen Heap

Imogen Heap, the English songwriter whose gloves let her control her music with hand gestures, has perfected the art of delegation. While most musicians leave it to their labels to sort out a press biography, she forged hers from 1,500 contributions from her Twitter followers; where others endlessly pore over potential concert setlists, she lets

Mariinsky Ballet | 13 August 2011

It’s somewhat surprising that there are many people who are still amazed by the Mariinsky Ballet’s sparkling response to the choreography of George Balanchine. After all, it is well known that the father of modern American ballet, born Georgi Melitonovic Balanchivadze, had been trained at the Imperial Ballet School, from which developed the artistic principles


Power games in Stratford

There’s something decidedly odd in being part of a largely grey-haired audience sitting respectfully through a play about the discomforts of a cantankerous old butcher’s ménage consisting of a chauffeur, pimp, demolition worker and, ah yes, a professor of philosophy incomprehensibly returning from his American campus to the bosom of his dysfunctional family. This revival

Pushy mothers

Weird experiments in stone and glass clutter the South Bank opposite the Tower of London. The near-spherical City Hall looks like a speeding squash ball photographed at the moment of impact with a racquet. Around it stretches an acre of sloping flagstones, ideal for freestyle biking and skateboarding. (Sure enough, both activities are vigorously suppressed


Dorset delight

Dorset Opera dates back to 1974, but I have only just been for the first time. The quality of what I saw and heard was such that I’m annoyed with myself, ashamed even, for not having been before. The annual effort begins each year as soon as the Bryanston School holidays start; everyone involved in


Simon Hoggart: Chilean Miners

Angus Macqueen is a film-maker whose CV includes The Death of Yugoslavia, Gulag, Cocaine and a slightly odd period commissioning the likes of The Secret Millionaire as Channel 4’s head of documentaries. These days, happily, he’s back making his own stuff — and BBC2’s Chilean Miners: 17 Days Buried Alive was another gem. Commentary was


Hungarian photography, Richard Long, Thomas Struth

As regular readers of this column will know, I am not a great admirer of photography exhibitions, but the current show in the RA’s Sackler Galleries is more enjoyable than most. I have long loved the work of André Kertész and Brassaï, and besides presenting a lavish selection of their photographs, this show offers the


Monkey business

Apes have always made lousy movie stars. They never have front-page affairs with other celebrity animals; there’s no Most Emotional Grunt category at the Academy Awards; and teenage girls don’t lie in bed at night, dreaming of one day meeting the Right Orangutan. That’s why, if you going to make a summer blockbuster named Rise


Kate Chisholm on The Reunion

There was a scary moment on last Sunday’s The Reunion when we heard that the derivatives market has ‘exploded’ since the collapse of Barings in 1995. Banking has become more, not less, dependent on the kinds of gambling on future (i.e., virtual) values that brought down Britain’s oldest merchant bank. When Barings fell, just over