The Chinese are coming

On a bullet train out of Shanghai, a nuclear family catches my eye. The father, weather-beaten and wearing an ill-fitting suit, is clearly a working man. His wife, younger and city sleek, is dressed to impress. Their son, an only child, is four or five years old. Curious, I get talking and discover they are

Man and boy | 23 November 2017

In the last week of October, the middle-aged Baxter Dury and the boy Baxter Dury were brought together. The 45-year-old man released his fifth album, Prince of Tears, his best so far. The five-year-old boy, meanwhile, appeared on the cover of New Boots and Panties!!, by his father Ian Dury, released in 1977, but re-released

More from Arts

Fighting talk | 23 November 2017

There’s a scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie in which Tippi Hedren is emptying a safe while a cleaning lady silently drags her mop towards her. Can Hedren, playing the disturbed Marnie, slip down the stairs before the woman turns her head? I felt a twinge of the same panic last week interviewing the composer Nico


Net effect | 23 November 2017

The inexplicable popularity of Ivo Van Hove continues. The director’s latest visit to the fairies involves an updated version of Network, a creaky and over-rated news satire from 1976. Van Hove appears to be unconstrained by thrift or self-discipline and he fills the Lyttelton stage with expensive clobber. It’s like a hangar full of half-tested


Passion killer

The late arch-Rossinian Philip Gossett regarded Semiramide as a neoclassical work, vaguely and alarmingly suggesting to me a musical equivalent of Canova, a sculptor I detest. Actually, I don’t think the terminology is helpful. Nor is Semiramide monumental in the way that the programme book suggests. There is a notable lack of ensembles and of


Family favourites | 23 November 2017

It’s a weird sensation getting your child back for an extended period when for the previous decade you’ve been packing him off every few weeks back to boarding school. Obviously, it’s quite pleasant, amusing and enlightening to study at close hand and at length this alien thing that you’ve bred. At the same time, though,


Ladies first

Battle of the Sexes recreates the famed, culture-changing 1973 tennis match between 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, a self-proclaimed chauvinist, and 29-year-old Billie Jean King, the world’s top female player who was out to liberate women and herself. (She was just discovering her true sexuality at that time.) Unless you happen to identify with Bobby — ‘Don’t


Watch this space | 23 November 2017

Wally Funk is on a mission — to make real her dream that a woman will walk on the moon in her lifetime. She was one of 13 female pilots who trained at Nasa alongside the Mercury 7 astronauts as they prepared to go to the moon. But when the Apollo programme was abandoned in