2012 highlights

The best of theatre, film and art in the coming six months.

February
The Death of Klinghoffer at English National Opera, from 25 February. After the success of Nixon in China, John Adams's "docu-opera" recalls the killing of a Jewish-American tourist during the hijacking of a cruise liner by Palestinian militants.

March
The Duchess of Malfi at the Old Vic, from 17 March. John Webster's Jacobean tragedy tells the bloody story of the widowed duchess, played by Eve Best.

The Jerwood Gallery in Hastings opens from 17 March. This new seafront space, hot on the heels of the neighbouring Turner Contemporary in Margate, will house the Jerwood Collection of 20th- and 21st-century art and the first retrospective of work by the Kent-based Rose Wylie.

April
“Damien Hirst" at Tate Modern, from 4 April. In 2012 there will be no escaping the British artist everyone loves to hate - Gagosian will also be exhibiting Hirst's complete spot paintings in its 11 galleries worldwide from 12 January onwards.

June
London 2012 Festival from 21 June. The Olympics have their inevitable arty offshoot in the form of a 12-week, UK-wide cultural extravaganza. Look out for Big Dance Week in July, featuring nine days of dance in unusual spaces from parks to lidos. Also includes performances of new scores for three of Alfred Hitchcock's silent films (Wilton's Music Hall, 28 and 29 June; BFI, 21 July) and coincides with Southbank's Festival of the World, starting on 1 June.

July
The two big superhero films of the year - The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan's third and final instalment of the Batman trilogy, and The Amazing Spiderman - are slated for release in July.

Wynton Marsalis's Swing Symphony (Symphony No 3), 25 and 26 July. No more tantalising combination is possible this year: Marsalis performs at the Barbican Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

This article first appeared in the 09 January 2012 issue of the New Statesman, Forget Obama

Wikimedia
Show Hide image

"Samphire": a poem by Alison Brackenbury

"Yet how it waved, in coast’s late light. . . ."

My grandmother could cook it, for
she grew up by that dangerous shore
where the sea skulked without a wall

where I have seen it, tough as grass,
where silent men with rods trooped past
its salty ranks, without a glance.

Lear’s gatherer hangs perilously.
Why? So much is closed to me.
Did Shakespeare ever hear the sea?

Once, said my father, far inland,
from friend or stall, one clutch was found,
steamed, in my grandmother’s great pan.

Once, a smooth leaflet from a shop
claimed they could “source it”, but they stocked
bunched, peppered cress – Another gap.

Yet how it waved, in coast’s late light,
stalks I will never taste, could make
tenderly dark, my coast’s sly snake,
salt on my tongue, before I wake.

Alison Brackenbury is an award-winning poet. Her ninth collection, Skies, will be published by Carcanet in March

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