In the literary tradition

In recent years there have been a number of exhibitions of Keith Vaughan’s work in commercial galleries, and his prices at auction have climbed steadily, but no major show in the nation’s museums. Yet interest in his life keeps pace with the revival in his art (the standard biography of Vaughan, by Malcolm Yorke, is

Arts feature

Adult entertainment

On 19 March, Adele’s 21 overtook Dark Side of the Moon to become the seventh bestselling album in British music history. A day or two later it caught Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms napping, and eased into sixth place. So far 4.15 million copies have been sold. One in six British households has one. Ahead

The unforgettable Ferrier

On the centenary of her birth, Michael Kennedy pays homage to ‘Klever Kaff’, occasional golfer, and inventor of Rabelaisian limericks Was she as wonderful an artist and woman as legend has it? Yes. Everything is true that has been said or written about the contralto Kathleen Ferrier, the centenary of whose birth is 22 April.


The magic of speech

Not yet, since you ask. And I doubt if I ever will. My aversion to multiplex cinemas, with their cheerless foyers and their hordes of texting, tweeting cola-hydrated popcorn-gobblers, has deterred me from seeing new movies lately. The King’s Speech eluded me until it arrived, in its original form as a play, in the West


Thrills and chills

Lightning struck, after what must surely be one of the most dreary seasons at the Royal Opera, with a revival of Rigoletto. You never know. I haven’t been an admirer of John Eliot Gardiner, either in the pre-classical repertoire in which he made his name, or in his excursions into more recent orchestral and operatic


My way

By the time you read this it’s quite likely I shall be in mid-air on my long journey to Australia. I’m off on a month-long speaking tour to promote Killing the Earth to Save It (the Oz version of Watermelons) and I figured my flight might work out cheaper if I arranged to be travelling


Relatively eccentric

My uncle Robin Ironside bewailed the demise, after the scandal of the Wilde trial and the early death of Beardsley, of the imaginative tradition which, he wrote, ‘had been kept flickering in England since the end of the 18th century, sometimes with a wild, always uneasy light, by a succession of gifted eccentrics’. The truth


Routine carnage

If you go down to The Cabin in the Woods today you can be sure of very little in the surprise department and an insufferably dreary time of it. It’s a comic horror film and although I do not like horror, comic or otherwise, it’s the only major release this week, so I felt compelled.

Booze and pews

Home cinema equipment isn’t only for the home; in fact, home may not be the best place for it. If you really want to see the effect of a good digital projector and a set of surround-sound speakers, put them in the back room of a pub. An increasing number of publicans are doing so.


Question time | 14 April 2012

You might be thinking ‘Oh no’ as you listen to yet another trailer announcing the BBC’s latest Shakespeare season, designed to showcase England’s great playwright across radio and TV in this Olympics year. ‘Do we really need a 20-part series on Radio 4, scratching through the surprisingly few facts that are known for sure about