An eight-year-old’s dream: Muse at the O2 reviewed

‘Butterflies and Hurricanes’ by Muse was on heavy rotation on MTV at a time, 15 years ago, when my infant son could be magically coaxed away from tears and back to sleep by pop videos. The only lasting effect of this proved to be my developing a deep and lasting aversion to Muse, because I

Simon Rattle’s Messiaen is improving with age

Two flutes, a clarinet and a bassoon breathe a chord on the edge of silence. As they fade, the sound quietly intensifies, morphing into the metallic buzz of cor anglais and muted horn. The third of Arnold Schoenberg’s Five Orchestral Pieces of 1909 doesn’t have a conventional melody, and there’s even less in the way

Arts feature

The untold story of Judy Garland

Judy Garland is now a myth, a paradigm and a warning: don’t let your daughter on the stage! It’s the cognitive dissonance that is thrilling and awful, like a child that dies: Dorothy kicked off her ruby slippers and turned to Benzedrine. It is a narrative that erases Garland as surely as the drugs ever


Is it time to give up on the Ibsen adaptations?

Pub quiz question: what do John Osborne, Brian Friel and Patrick Marber have in common? The answer is they’ve all written their own versions of Hedda Gabler. Although none of them, it should be noted, to any particular critical acclaim. Is it time to give up on the Hedda adaptations altogether and just stick to



The rare gifts of Peter Doig

‘My basic intention,’ the late Patrick Caulfield once told me, ‘is to create some attractive place to be, maybe even on the edge of fantasy — warm, glowing, but often, by use, rather seedy.’ He frequently succeeded, as you can see from a beautifully mounted little exhibition at the Waddington Custot Gallery. It is a



What’s the point of the Today programme?

What else is there to write about in the week that John Humphrys, that titan of the BBC airwaves, retires from his duties on the Today programme? Love or hate his terrier-like style of interviewing — baiting and occasionally biting his victims metaphorically on air — there’s no denying his stature as a news broadcaster