Magic of New Orleans

More than 11 years after getting sober, memories of my more disgraceful drunken nights can still make me blush with shame. Waking up in a police cell with no idea how I came to be there was a low point and so was being discovered unconscious in the pouring rain under the shrubs in a

Arts feature

Revolting teenagers

As 200 children descend on the Savoy, Niru Ratnam asks why corporations sponsor works of art In July, 200 teenagers from east London will head to the Savoy where they will take over the Lancaster Ballroom for the day. There they will be given the freedom to create a large-scale event — food and performances

More from Arts

Me and my shadows

Shadows and reflections have always triggered all sorts of fantasies. Theatre itself, in the words of many playwrights and theorists, is nothing but a game of shadows. Today, filmic and computer-generated or manipulated projections have taken the place of what was once cleverly done with candles and mirrors. Indeed, projections seem to have become a


Old-git territory

I’m not the biggest fan of Neil Simon, I admit it. In the programme notes for The Sunshine Boys, I discovered that Time magazine once called him ‘the patron saint of laughter’. Good, I thought. When the curtain goes up I’ve got someone to pray to. The show opens with Danny DeVito slumped in a


Learning to love Falstaff

It’s taken me a shockingly long time to realise how great Verdi’s Falstaff is, and I still wouldn’t agree that it is his greatest opera, which fully paid-up Verdians tend to think. It may be a measure of my progress, though, that I got a lot of pleasure out of the new production at Covent


Failing Britain

For my holiday reading in Australia I chose Max Hastings’s brilliant but exceedingly depressing Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord 1940–45. Once you’ve read it, it’s impossible to take any pleasure from second world war history ever again. Basically, runs Hastings’s persuasively argued thesis, we were rubbish at pretty much everything. Our generals were useless, our


Glass act | 26 May 2012

The name of Patrick Reyntiens (born 1925) is indissolubly linked to the recent history of stained glass in this country. Reyntiens bridges the often troublesome gap between craft and art: not only is he a superb and innovative craftsman, but he is also a substantial artist. The second quality is not always recognised. Best known

Fruitful oppositions

There are so many good exhibitions at the moment in the commercial sector that the dedicated gallery-goer can easily spend a day viewing top-quality work without paying a single museum admission fee. The following shows nicely complement some of the current or recent displays in public galleries — such as Mondrian||Nicholson at the Courtauld and


Birth pains

As a general rule, what to expect when you are expecting is a baby, which is always kind of miraculous, but the way everyone carries on in this film you’d think nobody had ever had one before. This is odd, particularly as the latest research has proven that having babies predates the iPod, internet and


Conflict management

7 Up, the TV series first made in 1964, would never have worked on radio. Ten young boys and (only) four girls were interviewed as they set out on their lives, with the intention of checking up on them every seven years thereafter to see what might have happened to them. They’ve now reached 56