sat 20/04/2024

coronavirus

Spencer Jones: Making Friends, Soho Theatre review - award-winning comedian mines his post-lockdown escape to the country

Lockdown feels more like a dream now: empty streets; bright, scarless skies; pan-banging at 8pm. Did it all happen? One part of our brains insists that it did; another resists such an overthrowing of what it means to be human. Try recalling events...

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Pandemonium, Soho Theatre review - satire needs a shot of Pfizer's finest to revive tired storylines

In 2020, throughout the country, many people’s lives were affected adversely by an ever-present threat to our already fragile society. Though most got over it, many people still bear the cost every day, sapping them of energy, making them cough and...

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Jacqueline Rose: The Plague review - tracing our response to tragedy

In The Plague: Living Death in Our Times, Jacqueline Rose makes a surprising pivot from her usual topics – Sylvia Plath, children’s fiction, Zionism, to name a few – to throw a spotlight on the Covid-19 pandemic. It was hard to process the...

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Jonathan Kennedy: Pathogenesis - How Germs Made History review - a return to the infections that formed us

The Cayapo tribe, a shade under 10,000 strong, lived in South America unacquainted with humans in the wider world until 1903. That year, they accepted a missionary who, along with news of salvation, brought new disease. By 1918, they numbered only...

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Extract: The Northern Silence - Journeys in Nordic Music and Culture by Andrew Mellor

“Silence,” Andrew Mellor contends, “is more prominent in the northernmost reaches of Europe.” Yet it is more like a texture or an apprehension of vacancy than a state of true soundlessness: sometimes “real and pure”, sometimes it “lingers despite...

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Extract: Where My Feet Fall - Going For A Walk in Twenty Stories

I began work on Where My Feet Fall a few months into the pandemic of 2020. After lockdown was announced we all became better walkers, and the collection took on greater resonance.The writers I selected were invited to do one of two things – recall a...

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Salley Vickers: The Gardener review - nature has other ideas

A garden is a space defined by its limits. Whatever its contents in terms of style and species, and however manicured or apparently wild its appearance, what distinguishes a garden from its equivalent quantity of uncultivated land is its enclosure...

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Russell Howard, Netflix special review - joyous return to live performance

In 2019, Russell Howard was all set to celebrate his 20th year in comedy by going on a world tour. Covid put paid to that, so it was with some genuine celebration that he was able to return to the stage with Lubricant, his second Netflix special,...

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Sarah Moss: The Fell review - a dark night on the hills

Sarah Moss’s new novel is a slim snapshot of a moment of fear and danger in the year of Covid. That year when judgement and recrimination ruled, and neighbourly feeling was in short supply. It is almost too close to the bone, but it is a neat...

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Sarah Hall: Burntcoat review - love after the end of the world

Sarah Hall’s Burntcoat is one of those new books with the unsettling quality of describing or approximating a great moment in history and its aftermath, as the reader is still living through it. This could be trite, but Hall manages to make it...

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Album: The Stranglers - Dark Matters

Following the death last year from COVID-19 of keyboard player Dave Greenfield, it appears the The Stranglers’ five decade journey may finally be drawing to a close. They bucked all odds by maintaining a path after singer Hugh Cornwall left in 1990...

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10 Questions for Harry Grafton of Red Rooster Festival

Harry Grafton (b. 1978) is the preferred title of Henry Fitzroy, 12th Duke of Grafton, custodian of Euston Hall in Suffolk and the man behind the Red Rooster Festival. The latter, during its six pre-COVID years of existence, built a reputation for...

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