The Friday Arts Diary

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Photo: Getty
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Moss Side Public Laundry, 1979

A new poem by Pippa Little.

Childless I arrive with a rucksack,
own no Silver Cross steered topple-high
by the bare-legged women in check coats
and bulging shoes who load and unload
ropes of wet sheets, wring them out
to rams’ horns while heat-slap of steam
dries to tinsel in our hair, frizzles our lips
gritty with Daz sherbert dabs and the mangle,
wide as a room-size remnant, never stops groaning
one slip and you’re done for…

In the boom and echo of it, their calls swoop
over Cross-your-Hearts, Man. City socks,
crimplene pinks and snagged underskirts,
Maggie Maggie Maggie Out Out Out! blasts
from across the park, whole streets
get knocked out like teeth,
in a back alley on the way a man
jumped me, shocked as I was
by the fuck off! I didn’t know was in me

but which I try out now to make them laugh, these women
who scrub blood and beer and come
with red-brick soap, quick-starch a party dress
while dryers flop and roar
before their kids fly out of school,
flock outside for a smoke’s sweet rest
from the future bearing down of four walls and one man.

Pippa Little’s collection Overwintering (Carcanet) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Award. Her new book, Twist, was published in March by Arc. 

This article first appeared in the 20 July 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The new world disorder