Arts feature

There’s something about Mary

I think I probably qualify as the oldest fashion editor in the world, because in spite of my advanced age I am still writing about clothes (in the Oldie). This gives me one USP: it means that I was actually around — even wearing them myself — when the revolutionary fashion ideas that are now

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Sublime salvage

There was a moment more than 20 years ago when Bankside Power Station was derelict but its transformation into Tate Modern had not yet begun. I remember thinking, on a visit to the site, how beautiful and impressive the huge rusting generators looked — like enormous real-life sculptures by Anthony Caro. Nothing that has since


Toxic waste

Bruce Norris is a firefighter among dramatists. He runs towards danger while others sprint in the other direction. His Pulitzer-winning hit Clybourne Park studied ethnic bigotry among American yuppies and it culminated in a gruesomely funny scene in which smug liberals exchange racist jokes in public. The play was morally complex, dramatically satisfying and an


Forza majeure

To stage Verdi’s Il Trovatore, they say, is easy: you just need the four greatest singers in the world. The Royal Opera has applied this principle to La forza del destino. Jonas Kaufmann sings Alvaro, Anna Netrebko is his beloved Leonora, and Ludovic Tézier her brother Carlo, with the mighty Ferruccio Furlanetto completing the set


The secret of their success

Which of the Beatles would you most like to have been? Not either of the dead ones, presumably. Nor the one continually derided for his alleged lack of talent. Definitely not the embarrassing, gurning, two-thumbs-up uncool one… Anyway, it’s a trick question. The correct answer, at least it is for me after watching The Beatles:


England, their England | 28 March 2019

All good narrative painting contains an element of allegory, but most artists don’t go looking for it on a Coventry council estate — unless, that is, they happen to come from there. Since starting his Scenes from the Passion series while at the Royal College in the 1990s, George Shaw has been painting the Tile


A circus film with no circus

Dumbo is an elephant we can’t forget. More than 70 years since Disney’s 1941 film, the big-eared baby is still the most famous pachyderm on the planet. Director Tim Burton has dared to enter the ring with this iconic grey beast and remake the Disney classic not as a cartoon, but as live action. In


Foreign exchange | 28 March 2019

As the ravens circle around Broadcasting House in London’s West End, presaging difficult times ahead for BBC Radio, with less money to play with at a time of increased competition from its commercial rivals, a very different kind of listening experience was on offer last week in an upstairs room above a café in Canterbury.