Spotify: saint or sinner?

We have all read about the current woeful state of the CD industry — how it is 28 per cent down on last year, which was 25 per cent down on the previous year, and so on — but do we know why? Is it the endless financial crisis? Or is it that CDs, as

Arts feature

How Japan became a pop culture superpower

There is an island nation, just off the main body of a continent. It gained an empire from the force of its military and the finesse of its trading contracts. The empire withered, as they all do, under the gaze of history. But that didn’t finish the island nation off. It simply took over the

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An artistic crime is committed at the Royal Festival Hall

In one of the more peculiar concerts that I have been to at the Royal Festival Hall, Vladimir Jurowski conducted excerpts from Das Rheingold in the first half of the programme, and Rachmaninov’s little-known opera The Miserly Knight in the second half. The idea, I gleaned from a pre-concert chat by the conductor and others,


Could it be that Wolf Hall is actually the teeniest bit dull?

In January 1958, the British government began working on the significantly titled Operation Hope Not: its plans for what to do when Winston Churchill died. The plans, it turned out, wouldn’t be needed until January 1965 — but the intervening seven years were obviously well spent, because, as Churchill: A Nation’s Farewell (BBC1, Wednesday) made



Trash, review: trash by name, trash by nature

Trash is the sort of film one desperately wishes to be kind about — heart supremely, if not burstingly, in the right place and all that — but it doesn’t make life easy for itself. Directed by Stephen Daldry, with a script by Richard Curtis, and set amid the kids who work the rubbish dumps


The man who discovered Ebola

By some quirk of fate, just as news reached the papers that the Scottish nurse who had contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone was now recovered, the guest on that Radio 4 staple Desert Island Discs was the scientist who first identified the virus. This gave a programme that can seem rather outdated and