Arts

The many faces of William ‘Slasher’ Blake

14 September 2019 9:00 am

‘Imagination is my world.’ So wrote William Blake. His was a world of ‘historical inventions’. Nelson and Lucifer, Pitt and…

Extremely predictable and extremely dull: Downton Abbey reviewed

14 September 2019 9:00 am

The much-anticipated film version of Downton Abbey has arrived and I suppose you could describe it as the Avengers Assemble…

The rude, ripe tastelessness of John Eliot Gardiner’s Berlioz is the perfect antidote to Haitink’s Instagram Bruckner

14 September 2019 9:00 am

Conducting is one of those professions — being monarch is perhaps another — where the less you do, the more…

With these documentaries, the BBC has lost any claim to impartiality

14 September 2019 9:00 am

Because the rise of the Nazis is a topic so rarely mentioned these days, least of all in schools, the…

General de Gaulle’s advice to the young Queen Elizabeth

14 September 2019 9:00 am

There were so many ear-catching moments in Peter Hennessy’s series for Radio 4, Winds of Change, adapted from his new…

Funny, short and cheap to stage, Hansard is an excellent bet for a transfer

14 September 2019 9:00 am

Hansard is the debut play by actor Simon Woods, who enjoys a deep knowledge of his subject. The characters are…

The most exciting band I have seen for years and years: the Murder Capital reviewed

14 September 2019 9:00 am

It’s entirely possible for a band to be quite the most brilliant thing in existence for the briefest of times,…

On photography, shrines and Maradona: Geoff Dyer’s Neapolitan pilgrimage

7 September 2019 9:00 am

At the Villa Pignatelli in Naples there is an exhibition by Elisa Sighicelli: photographs of bits and pieces of antiquity…

Why 80 per cent of young people in this Macedonian town have turned to posting ‘fake news’

7 September 2019 9:00 am

It’s such a relief to turn on the radio and hear the voice of Neil MacGregor. That reasoned authority, his…

I have no clue what’s going on, but can’t wait to find out: BBC1’s The Capture reviewed

7 September 2019 9:00 am

How did the police ever solve any crimes before CCTV? That was the question which sprang to mind watching the…

A decorative pageant that would appeal to civic grandees: The Secret River reviewed

7 September 2019 9:00 am

The Secret River opens in a fertile corner of New South Wales in the early 1800s. William, a cockney pauper…

Why has figurative painting become fashionable again?

7 September 2019 9:00 am

The figure is back. Faces stare, bodies sprawl, fingers swipe, mums clutch, hands loll. The Venice Biennale was full of…

Why did the Soviets not want us to know about the pianist Maria Grinberg?

7 September 2019 9:00 am

Only four women pianists have recorded complete cycles of the Beethoven piano sonatas: Maria Grinberg, Annie Fischer, H. J. Lim…

Great title – shame about the songs: Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell reviewed

7 September 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B+ Get the razor blades out, Ms Misery is back. Only the truly affluent can immerse themselves in such…

Is this film saying relationships between teachers and kids are OK? Scarborough reviewed

7 September 2019 9:00 am

Scarborough is a small British film but it will give you a very big headache. Its subject is teachers who…

Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Spall as Mrs Lowry and her son

Why did Mrs Lowry hate her son’s paintings?

31 August 2019 9:00 am

‘I often wonder what artists are for nowadays, what with photography and a thousand and one processes by which you…

‘Flowers’, 1942, by Ivon Hitchens

Whooshing seedlings and squabbling stems: Ivon Hitchens at Pallant House reviewed

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Set down the secateurs, silence the strimmers. Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow. Ivon Hitchens was a…

Watching Stephen Fry was like being in the presence of a god

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Stephen Fry lies prone on an empty stage. A red ball rolls in from the wings and bashes him in…

Why are so many operas by women adaptations of films by men?

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Opera’s line of corpses — bloodied, battered, dumped in a bag — is a long one. Now it can add…

The joys of Radio 4’s Word of Mouth

31 August 2019 9:00 am

I first heard Lemn Sissay talking about his childhood experiences on Radio 4 in 2009. At that time he was…

Sensational: Honor Swinton Byrne as Julie and Tom Burke as Anthony

Sensational: The Souvenir reviewed

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Joanna Hogg’s films are the antithesis of popcorn entertainment so if it’s not the antithesis of popcorn entertainment that you…

I like Brassic but the reason it’s getting such glowing notices is depressing

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Brassic (Sky One) feels like the sort of TV comedy drama they last made about 15 years ago but would…

Needed a shot of Stolichnaya: The Tchaikovsky Project reviewed

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B+ I’m not sure about ‘Projects’. Aren’t those what ageing rockers produce, in a haze of sedatives, when their…

Why a whole new generation of young Europeans are turning to old-school reggae

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Acamera sweeps across the verdant, shimmering beauty of Jamaica before descending on to a raffishly charming wooden house built into…

‘Oedipus and the Sphinx’, c.1826, by Ingres, a copy of which hung over Freud’s desk

Why was Sigmund Freud so obsessed with Egypt?

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Twenty years ago, I visited the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna with a party of American journalists. Even in those…