Disney’s rococo roots

Extensive research went into the writing of this piece. First, I lay on the sofa watching Disney’s Cinderella. Then, Beauty and the Beast. Then, because I’m assiduous about these things, Frozen. The singalong version. I wish I could tell you that the sofa was a rococo number with ormolu mounts and a pink satin seat, but that would upholster the truth. My excuse – who needs one? – was the Wallace Collection’s delightful exhibition Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts. It’s not often that I leave a show smiling, humming and near enough twirling my way through the West End. Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo. What a clever and original exhibition

Why I will miss our mighty cooling towers – and I suspect I am not alone

One afternoon earlier this summer we drove through Rugeley in Staffordshire. There, looming above the A51, were the cooling towers of the power station: a pinkish red, resembling terracotta, with curving convex sides, like modernist vases on a pharaonic scale. At 385 feet high, they were a little taller than the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. We remarked on how surprisingly good they looked as we passed them on 4 June, en route to a spot in the Staffordshire countryside where we were going to stay. On 6 June there was a distant rumble like thunder but we thought little of it. However, that evening when we glanced at the