Music

‘Street in Auvers-sur-Oise’ by Vincent van Gogh

Why we love unfinished art

30 April 2016 9:00 am

An unfinished painting can provide a startling glimpse of the artist at work. But the common tendency to prefer it to a finished work is being taken to extremes, says Philip Hensher

Dull hipsters in broad daylight – why I’m done with today’s dance music

19 March 2016 9:00 am

At 19, I dropped out of university to pursue a career as a rave promoter. I went into business with…

Did criticism kill John Keats? Sketch by Joseph Severn of the poet in his last illness

Aphorisms and the arts: from Aristotle to Oscar Wilde

19 March 2016 9:00 am

The author of this jam-packed treasure trove has been a film critic at the New York Times since 2000 and…

Phil Lynott performs with Thin Lizzy (Photo: Getty)

Phil Lynott, from Dublin teenager to rock'n'roll burnout

27 February 2016 9:00 am

It’s often said that there are only seven basic plots in literature. When it comes to biographies of rock stars…

Joan Bakewell: on socks, fridge magnets, teddy bears and such stuff

13 February 2016 9:00 am

I don’t know if this counts as name-dropping, but I recently interviewed a boyhood friend of Elvis Presley’s in Tupelo,…

‘The Evening’ by Caspar David Friedrich

At the going down of the sun

6 February 2016 9:00 am

One of the epigraphs to Peter Davidson’s nocturne on Europe’s arts of twilight is from Hegel: ‘The owl of Minerva…

A musician plays in the lobby of the Regal hotel in Hong Kong. Photo: Lucas Schifres/Bloomberg/Getty Images

If we really cared about mental health, muzak would be a top priority

30 January 2016 9:00 am

No one is consulted. No one is held to account. No one has the authority to turn it off. How…

Powerful and upsetting: Pelléas et Mélisande at the Barbican reviewed

16 January 2016 9:00 am

There are some operas, as there are some people, that it is impossible to establish a settled relationship with, and…

He’s in the bestselling show: David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, New York, 1973

Bowie realised there was more to life than art

16 January 2016 9:00 am

The DJ and sage Mark Radcliffe once said that he didn’t think he could ever like anyone who didn’t love…

Benjamin Clementine hasn’t really dedicated his prize to the Paris victims — yet

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Benjamin Clementine, who won the 2015 Mercury Music Prize for his debut album At Least For Now, received his cheque…

Is television at its best when it mimics radio?

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Not that long ago the BBC trumpeted a new Stakhanovite project to big up the arts in its many and…

An early photograph of Sinatra, the flute-thin crooner.From Charles Pignone’s Sinatra 100 (Thames & Hudson)

Frank Sinatra never went away — but did he ever grow up?

7 November 2015 9:00 am

‘He never went away. All those other things that we thought were here to stay, they did go away. But…

Make-up, chocolates, deodorant and sand: two weeks in cancer scares

29 October 2015 9:00 am

Killer facts The World Health Organisation added processed meats to its list of ‘known’ carcinogens. A few of the other…

On song: Bob Dylan performs at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in 2011; photographers are banned on his current tour

Never again, I told myself last time Bob Dylan was in town

29 October 2015 9:00 am

We were like four hapless contestants on University Challenge. None of us knew the answer. But just like they do…

Not all crap TV is all that crap

29 October 2015 9:00 am

Girl is back for half-term so I’ve been able to watch nothing but crap on TV this week. Some of…

My Schubert cruise was a transport of delight

17 October 2015 8:00 am

Michael Henderson is transported to raptures on a Schubert cruise

It may have a meagre script and no plot but Farinelli and the King is still a major work of art

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Philippe V was a Bourbon prince who secured the throne of Spain using his family connections. Claire van Kampen is…

Why I’m stepping down after 28 years as The Spectator pop critic

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Pop's place in culture has changed drastically. Marcus Berkmann explains why, after 27 years, it is time to step down as The Spectator's pop critic

From top left: Lucian Freud, Rudolf Bing, Stefan Zweig, Walter Gropius, Rudolf Laban, Max Born, Kurt Schwitters, Friedrich Hayek, Fritz Busch, Frank Auerbach, Emeric Pressburger, Oskar Kokoschka

German refugees transformed British cultural life - but at a price

3 October 2015 9:00 am

German-speaking refugees dragged British culture into the 20th century. But that didn’t go down well in Stepney or Stevenage, says William Cook

Just what Tom Watson needs: a Bananarama tribute band

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Available for parties Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said that leaving his party to join the Liberal Democrats would be…

The truth about me, David Cameron, drugs and Supertramp

26 September 2015 8:00 am

This week I woke up shocked to find myself on the front page of the Daily Mail. Apparently I’m the…

In praise of cheap box sets

12 September 2015 9:00 am

This column does like a bargain. Indeed, it not only esteems and relishes a bargain, it has also worked long…

Hans-Joachim Roedelius (Photo: Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns)

Four of the best albums to write books by

8 August 2015 9:00 am

I have been writing a book this summer, in the usual mad tearing hurry. (Much as I admire those who…

Helen Vendler is full of condescending waffle (and not just when she’s attacking me)

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Is it possible to tell a good poem from a bad one? To put the question another way: are there…

Compiling my greatest hits (and my Twitter trolls')

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Compilation schompilation. Having been in music for as long as I have you would think I had a good idea…