Friday Arts Diary

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.


Tate Liverpool, René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle until 16 October

Catch the end of the first UK exhibition devoted to the Belgian surrealist in a decade. This exhibition brings together major works and those from Magritte's early commercial career- many previously unseen in the UK. A highlight is a selection of rarely seen photographs and films. Adult tickets are priced £9, with concessions at £7.10.


Soho Theatre, London W1D, Josie Long- The Future is Another Place 20 October

Long is from South East London and started doing stand-up comedy at 14 years old. She has achieved rapid success, winning the BBC New Comedy Awards at 17 and supporting Stewart Lee during his spring 2005 tour. The Future is Another Place began at the Edinburgh Fringe. In this intelligent and charming show Long uses anti-Tory material; however, rather than being overly ranty, she is upbeat and optimistic.


Hammersmith Apollo, London W6, Bon Iver 23 October

Performing on 23-24 October, catch Bon Iver's indie folk sound. Best known for his raw and emotive vocals, American singer-songwriter Justin Vernon founded the band in 2007. Fellow band members are Michael Noyce, Sean Carey and Matthew McCaughan. The band have recently released a self-titled album follwing their widely-acclaimed debut For Emma, Forever Ago of 2008.


The Banqueting Hall, London SW1, Bye Bye Kitty!!! 17 October

What is one of the first things you think of when someone mentions contemporary Japanese culture? Is it kawaii (cuteness, sometimes super-girly hyper-cuteness)? David Elliott, founding director of the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, urges that this stereotype detracts attentions from the real nature of modern Japanese art. He emphasises its intensely reflective, self-critical and often political stance. Elliott will discuss the Bye Bye Kitty!!! exhibition he curated at the Japan Society in New York earlier this year, which will be complimented by a discussion with sociologist and Japanese art specialist Adrian Favell. The event is free, but booking is essential.


National Theatre, London SE1, The Kitchen until 8 November

Set in London during the 1950s, Arnold Wesker's darkly funny play takes place in the kitchen of an huge West End restaurant. It is a hectic place where a range of intriging and dynamic characters work: chefs, waitresses and porters from across Europe. Peter is an upbeat young cook who strikes up an affair with married waitress Monique, but can their relationship survive? As part of the National Theatre Live, The Kitchen will be broadcast live to cinemas worldwide on 6 October.

Show Hide image

Commons Confidential: Sleepy Zac is too laid-back

Lucy Allan's "threat", Clean for the Queen and the case of the invisible frontbencher.

After six years as a minister for Europe, David Lidington’s profile remains low. But the invisible frontbencher might be useful in a pub quiz, if not a referendum. A Tory snout muttered that David Who? has been boasting that he can name 20 of the 28 European commissioners currently parked in Brussels.

Lidington admitted that he will be history, should the UK decide to quit the EU. “If Britain voted to leave,” he nervously told a Tory gathering, “I think I’d let somebody else have a go in this job.” David Cameron is presumably thinking the same thing. Incidentally, can anybody name Britain’s EU commissioner?

“I wanted to get in touch to let you know about a fantastic initiative to help clean up the UK in advance of HM the Queen’s 90th birthday,” trilled the Banbury Tory Victoria Prentis in an email to fellow MPs. “‘Clean for the Queen’ brings together all the anti-litter organisations from the UK and aims to get people involved in the largest community-inspired action against litter . . . I will also be holding a drop-in photo opportunity . . . We will have posters, litter bags and T-shirts. Please do come along.” I await the formation of a breakaway group: “Republicans for Rubbish”.

Tory colleagues are advising Zac Goldsmith, I hear, to invest a slice of his inherited £300m fortune in speaking lessons to help him stop sounding so disinterested. Laid-Back Zac appears to lull himself to sleep on public platforms and on TV. My informant whispered that cheeky Tory MPs have been cooking up a slogan – “Goldsmith: head and shoulders above Labour” – ahead of the tall, rich kid’s tussle with the pocket battleship Sadiq Khan to become the mayor of London.

The Telford Tory Lucy Allan has finally received help after inserting the words “Unless you die” into a constituent’s email that she posted on Facebook, presumably to present herself as the victim of a non-existent death threat. Allan has since become embroiled in accusations of bullying a sick staffer. “The House has offered me a three-hour media training session,” the fantasist said in an email to colleagues. “There are two extra slots available . . .” How much will this cost us?

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when the Injustice Secretary, Michael Gove, shared a drink with Chris Grayling and informed his predecessor that prisons would be the next piece of his legacy to be reversed. Chris “the Jackal” Grayling, by the way, is complaining that Gove’s spads are rubbishing him. And with good reason.

The Tory lobbyist Baron Hill of Oareford is the UK’s chap at the European Commission. He puts the margin into marginalised at the Berlaymont.

Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 11 February 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The legacy of Europe's worst battle