The Friday Arts Diary

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.

Art

Cabinet Gallery, London EC1, Homo Economicus, until 3 March
A two-part group exhibition at Cabinet Gallery and Mehringdamm 72, Berlin, exploring the link between art and labour through an examination of political economy.

Comedy

Wheatsheaf, London W1, Austentatious, 4 March
An hour of improvised comedy in Jane Austen's incomparable style, and based entirely on audience suggestions. Includes the supernatural thriller @Jane Austen: #Zombies.

Theatre

Studio 1, Trafalgar Studios, London SW1, Being Shakespeare, from 8 March
Simon Callow's celebrated portrayal moves seamlessly between telling the story of the Bard's life and the wealth of characters he created. Professor Jonathan Bate, arguably Shakespeare's most acclaimed living biographer, and recently elected Provost of Worcester College, Oxford, authored the play that has garnered rave reviews both in Britain and the United States.

Dance

London Coliseum, WC2, Russian Ballet Icons Gala: Anna Pavlova, 4 March
Marking a century since the establishment of London's Anna Pavlova House, here is an opportunity to see a number of key pieces from Pavlova's repertoire, among them Paquita, Le Roi Candaule, and La Bayadére.

Music

Barbican Hall, London EC2, Elijah, 7 March
Britten Sinfonia and the Britten Sinfonia Voices perform Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah. With baritone Simon Keenlyside, mezzo-soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers, soprano Lucy Crowe and tenor Andrew Kennedy. Andreas Delfs conducts.

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“The Hole-Up”: a poem by Matthew Sweeney

“You could taste the raw / seagull you’d killed and plucked, / the mussels you’d dug from sand, / the jellyfish that wobbled in your / hands as you slobbered it.”

Lying on your mouth and nose
on the hot sand, you recall
a trip in a boat to the island –
the fat rats that skittered about
after god-knows-what dinner,
the chubby seals staring up,
the sudden realisation that a man
on the run had wintered there
while the soldiers scoured
the entire shoreline to no avail –
you knew now you had been him
out there. You could taste the raw
seagull you’d killed and plucked,
the mussels you’d dug from sand,
the jellyfish that wobbled in your
hands as you slobbered it.
You saw again that first flame
those rubbed stones woke in
the driftwood pile, and that rat
you grilled on a spar and found
delicious. Yes, you’d been that man,
and you had to admit now you
missed that time, that life,
though you were very glad you
had no memory of how it ended.


Matthew Sweeney’s Black Moon was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Prize. His latest collection is Inquisition Lane (Bloodaxe).

This article first appeared in the 21 July 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The English Revolt