sat 04/12/2021

book reviews and features

Sunday Book: I Am Brian Wilson

Adam Sweeting

For decades Brian Wilson was depicted as the mad, lost genius of the Beach Boys, but these days, at 74, he's looking more like one of pop's great survivors. After all, he has comprehensively...

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Sunday Book: Carlo Rovelli - Reality Is Not What It Seems

Peter Forbes

Scientists today tend to patronise the early Greek philosophers who, 2500 years ago, inaugurated enquiry into the nature of things. The Atomic Theory? A lucky guess, they allege. But Carlo Rovelli...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Garrison Keillor

Jasper Rees

It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, and has been for the past 42 years, ever since Garrison Keillor first reported on the town's goings-on in his weekly radio show A Prairie Home Companion...

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Who was St Clair Bayfield?

Jasper Rees

This week Stephen Frears's film about Florence Foster Jenkins opens. It will bring to the widest attention yet the story of a New York socialite who couldn’t sing and yet did sing, infamously, to...

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Søren Dahlgaard’s Dough Portraits

theartsdesk

Can a portrait really be a portrait if we can’t see a person’s face? And what if the reason we can’t see their face is that it is covered with a lump of dough? Is it a joke? And if it is a joke,...

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Extract: The Time Traveller’s Guide to British Theatre

Aleks Sierz And

Theatre is one of the glories of British culture, a melting pot of creativity and innovation. Beginning with the coronation of Elizabeth I and ending with the televised crowning of the current...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Günter Grass

Kate Connolly

The Nobel prize-winning writer, playwright and artist Günter Grass was arguably the best-known German-language author of the second half of the 20th century. Kate Connolly met him in May 2010 in...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Novelist Hilary Mantel

Jasper Rees

Hilary Mantel is a maker of literary history. Wolf Hall, an action-packed 650-page brick of a book about the rise and rise of Thomas Cromwell, won the Man Booker Prize in 2009. Its...

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theartsdesk at the Port Eliot Festival

Mark Hudson

Remember when festivals were only about what they were ostensibly about? When, say, Reading offered nothing beyond hard rock bar disgusting toilets, overpriced hamburgers and the prospect of a...

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Extracts: John Tusa - Pain in the Arts

Ismene Brown

In the midst of ferment as the arts world faces fast-shrinking public subsidy, Sir John Tusa, former managing director of the BBC World Service and the Barbican Arts Centre, publishes this week a...

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Zingari/Tosca Suite, Opera Rara, Rizzi, Cadogan Hall review...

Two major composers took Pushkin’s narrative poem The Gypsies as the subject for two very different...

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Madmess are a Portuguese power trio who are based in London. Muscular and (mostly) instrumental stoner...

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When the Canadian Yann Martel went to India as a young adult backpacker he fell in love – not with one person but with the rich imaginative...

Starstruck, Scottish Ballet review - smart, sassy and cinema...

How do you picture Gene Kelly? Most likely in his effervescent screen persona, either as the burly ex-GI of An American in Paris, or as...

Hellbound, Netflix review - supernatural assassins usher in...

Netflix is sometimes criticised for bringing too much of...

10 Questions for musician and DJ Pete Tong

Perhaps appropriately, when I called Pete Tong for his 10 questions I...

Album: Paul Weller - An Orchestrated Songbook

It’s a far cry from his beginnings in a tight, no-frills power-pop-post-...

theartsdesk at Tallinn's Black Nights Film Festival - s...

Film festival chiefs the world over have been having a tricky time...

The Courtauld Gallery - the old place, just better

The Courtauld Gallery’s dark corners have gone, and with them a certain apt melancholy, that effortlessly summoned the ghosts of Gauguin’s ...

Hedvig Mollestad, National Jazz Scene, Oslo review - watch o...

The opening moments don’t suggest what’s coming. A solo flute is followed by a few spoken phrases from a treated voice. What’s being said? It’s...

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