The Friday Arts Diary

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.


Serpentine Gallery, London W2, Lygia Pape Magnetized Space 7 December- 19 February 2012

Lygia Pape (1927-2004) was a leading Brazilian artist and a founding member of the Neo-Concrete movement, which was dedicated to the insertion of art into everyday life. The exhibition presents work from throughout Pape's career, including early drawings and poems.


Union Chapel, London N1, Live at the Chapel 3 December

Comedic genius Daniel Kitson returns to the Chapel to MC a great bill which features hilarious American duo The Pajama Men, Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Nick Helm, Alex Horne and Marcel Lucont. Doors open at 6.30pm and the show begins at 7.45pm.


Jazz Café, London NW1, Pharoah Sanders 7-8 December

Head to Camden Town to watch a rare performance by the jazz saxophone legend. The Grammy Award-winning artist influenced the development of free jazz.


The Royal Institution of Great Britain, London W1, Ghosts of Christmas Lectures Past 3 December

This festive evening of music and science pays tribute to over 180 years of Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. A group of science-lovers inspired by the lectures will reminisce about some of their favourite talks from the past. The evening features Robin Ince, Simon Singh, Matt Parker, Adam Rutherford, Helen Keen, Andrea Sella, Helen Arney, Bruce Hood and Mark Miodownik.Tickets cost £30.


Duke of York's Theatre, London WC2, Backbeat until 24 March 2012

Backbeat is an adaptation of the 1994 film, directed by Iain Softley on the birth of the Beatles, which had its West End premiere in October. It focuses on the intriguing triangular relationship between the band's original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, his best friend John Lennon and the German photographer Astrid Kirchherr. The stage show is co-written by Softley and Stephen Jeffreys and directed by the award-winning David Leveaux, with musical direction by Paul Stacey.

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Poem: "When the Americans came"

“Do you have vampires around here?”

When the Americans came,

they didn’t take to our gardens:

the apple orchard smelling of wild garlic,

foxgloves growing among the runner beans.


“Do you have vampires around here?”

a visitor from Carolina asked me.

It was a shambles, Wilfred knew that,

nodding wisely as though apologising


for the ill manners of King George,

the clematis purple in the thatched roofing.

But come the softe sonne,

there are oxlips in Fry’s woods,


forget-me-nots in the shallow stream,

lettuce and spring onions for a salad.

It’s certain that fine women eat

A crazy salad with their meat*


I tried to tell them. But they weren’t women,

and didn’t care to listen to a boy.

They preferred the red rosehips

we used for making wine.


Danced outside the village church

round the maypole Jack Parnham made.

Now they’re gone,

the wild garlic has returned.


* W B Yeats, “A Prayer for My Daughter”


William Bedford is a novelist, children’s author and poet. His eighth collection of verse, The Bread Horse, is published by Red Squirrel Press.

This article first appeared in the 20 October 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brothers in blood