The grrrls are back in town

The last time Bikini Kill played in London was in a room that now serves as the restaurant of a pub in Kentish Town. What a change 26 years can bring: on their return to the city last week, they filled the 5,000-capacity O2 Academy, Brixton, for two nights. That changed status, in truth, is

Arts feature

Vegas dreamtime

It’s to be expected. You take photographs in order to document things — Paris in the case of Eugène Atget in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the shacks of the American south in the case of Walker Evans in the 1930s — and these documents then acquire a quality of elegy. What is


Bad science

Kill Climate Deniers is a provocative satire by Australian theatre-activist David Finnigan. The title sounds misanthropic and faintly deranged but the show is a comedy delivered with oodles of verve and fun. Finnigan is a skilful writer of dialogue, a gifted farceur and, at times, an astute analyst of power and its corrupting tendencies. Like


Send in the clown

The tears of a clown have often fallen on fertile operatic ground. Think of Rigoletto and I Pagliacci; or The Yeomen of the Guard, where mock-Tudor merriment turns to ash in the mouth of the jester Jack Point. But what if the composer himself is the buffoon? Jacques Offenbach was the court jester of France’s


What women want | 20 June 2019

Six hundred and thirty years ago, Chaucer revealed in ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’ that what women really want is to be totally in charge of everything. With Girl now back home permanently having done her A levels, I can confirm that this is true: no longer am I in control of what we watch


Strokes of genius

In 1965 a journalist asked Paula Rego why she painted. ‘To give a face to fear,’ she replied (those were the days of the Salazar dictatorship in Portugal). But when asked the same question shortly afterwards, Rego added a qualification: ‘There’s more to it than that: I paint because I can’t stop painting.’ Rego has


Perfect fourth

Nearly 25 years on from its immaculate birth, Toy Story — like Wagner’s Ring, like John Updike’s Rabbit novels — has become a tetralogy. Do we need another one? Isn’t it time for Woody the toy cowboy to stuff that hat on a peg and stop hanging around kids? The short answer is no.  Though


The sea, the sea

Walking into Fingal’s Cave, after scrambling across the rocks to reach it from the landing stage where the boat from Mull arrives, is a strangely emotional experience. It’s not just the extraordinary landscape, the precise, almost unnatural shaping of the hexagonal basalt columns that rise up high above you, the screeching of gulls and roaring