sat 24/07/2021

21st century

Test Signal: Northern Anthology of New Writing review – core writing from England's regions

“On the Ordinance Survey map, it has no name”, writes Andrew Michael Hurley, of the wood that nevertheless gives its name to his essay. “Clavicle Wood” provides the first chapter in the Test Signal: Northern Anthology of New Writing. It is...

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Dido’s Ghost, Buxton International Festival review - the Queen of Carthage returns

“Remember me!”, sang Dido to a departed Aeneas in the heart-rending aria-chaconne announcing her demise that dominates the ending of Purcell’s baroque opera. But what if he did … if in fact he never could forget her? That’s the premise behind...

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Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare's Globe review - unsatisfactory mix of clumsy and edgy

"It is dangerous for women to go outside alone," blares the electronic sign above the stage of the new Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare's Globe. This disquieting sentiment obviously takes some of its resonance from the Sarah Everard case, yet it also...

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Dark Days, Luminous Nights, Manchester Collective, The White Hotel, Salford review - a sense of Hades

Did you wonder what all those creative musicians and artists did when they couldn’t perform in public last winter? Some of them started making films. Putting film of yourself online was, after all, a way of communicating with an audience, and had...

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Ed Miliband: Go Big - How to Fix Our World review - reasons to hope

Almost alone among my friends, I liked and admired Ed Miliband, renewing my on-off relationship with the Labour Party having watched his first speech to conference live on TV. I had always considered him decent, thoughtful, intelligent – and, on the...

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Frankie review - dying for nuance

American filmmaker Ira Sachs excels at crafting throughtful relationship dramas in which middle-class characters confronted with crises or unanticipated realisations gain valuable emotional knowledge. His best works – Forty Shades of Blue (2005),...

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Psappha, Phillips, Hallé St Peter’s, Manchester online review - Turnage world premiere

Manchester’s Psappha have been proudly flying the flag of new and radical music right through the year of lockdown, and last night’s livestream, with two-and-a-half world premieres, one of them by Mark-Anthony Turnage, showed they haven’t given up...

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DVD/Blu-ray: County Lines

The website of the National Crime Agency offers the following definition of County Lines: “[it is] where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, often across police and local authority boundaries (although not exclusively), usually...

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Hough, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester online review - brassy, bouncy optimism

Sir Mark Elder is back with the Hallé for the latest (and penultimate) filmed concert in their “Winter Season” of 2020 and 2021, including the world premiere of Huw Watkins' Second Symphony. He introduces it from the Bridgewater Hall foyer, and...

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Undine review - respecting the nymph

Illogical in its twists and turns, elusive as a fading dream but not stylistically dreamy – Christian Petzold’s optimistic romantic tragedy Undine is a ciné-conundrum par excellence. It seems, at first glance, a dismayingly insubstantial work for...

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Charles Saumarez Smith: The Art Museum In Modern Times review – the story of modern architecture

“This book is a journey of historical discovery, set out sequentially in order to convey a sense of what has changed over time.” Add to this sentence, the title of the work from which it is taken, The Art Museum in Modern Times, and you’ll probably...

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Craig Taylor: New Yorkers - A City and Its People in Our Time review

For the last couple of years, until we were so rudely interrupted, I’d been spending chunks of the year in New York, a city I’ve come to know well these past 25 years. I’d once found the idea of it intimidating, scary even. A migraine-inducing...

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