Notes on politics, arts and entertainment

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Podcasts are for everyone. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
Downloading a parallel world: Helen Zaltzman on what it takes to make a successful podcast
By Caroline Crampton - 19 February 22:43

For over a decade now people have been making and listening to podcasts - it didn't all begin with Serial, you know.

James MacMillan in action.
Conjuring sound: James MacMillan conducts a retrospective of his own works
By Caroline Crampton - 19 February 16:27

Appearing at the Barbican with the BBC Singers and London Sinfonietta, the composer's hands seem to shape music out of thin air.

Prodigy: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a child. Picture: Rex features
Extended play: the world's longest Mozart festival debuts at Wigmore Hall
By Caroline Crampton - 05 February 15:15

On Mozart 250 and Sarah Connolly in America.

Grave matters: a relief from Djehutyhop II's tomb. Photo: British Museum, London
The mummy returns: the first Senusret III exhibtion is a reminder all things must end
By Caroline Crampton - 08 January 15:10

A new exhibition at Lille's Palais des Beaux-Arts reveals the life of an ancient image-maker.

David Tennant as DI Alec Hardy and Olivia Coleman as DS Ellie Miller in Broadchurch. Photo: ITV
It’s a miracle: the new Broadchurch avoided all the usual pitfalls of a sequel
By Caroline Crampton - 06 January 11:34

It looks like the second series of ITV’s popular thriller is going to be far more interesting than we can usually expect from such a highly-anticipated follow-up.

The Reverend Libby Lane, the new Bishop of Stockport.
Meet Libby Lane, the Church of England’s first woman bishop
By Caroline Crampton - 17 December 17:57

After decades of wrangling, the Church of England has finally appointed its first woman bishop. Caroline Crampton went to meet Reverend Libby Lane, the new Bishop of Stockport.

Other Mary: a statue of Mary Magdelene in San Salvador. Photo: Getty
Magdalene sisters: John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary
By Caroline Crampton - 05 December 16:18

The piece is an attempt to see the Passion through the eyes of the women who surrounded Jesus, with particular emphasis on Mary Magdalene.

Inspiring: Malala Yousafzai speaks at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia on 21 October. Photo: Getty
Hear their voices: a choral celebration of Malala Yousafzai
By Caroline Crampton - 13 November 10:00

Young British composer James McCarthy and Pakistani writer Bina Shah have collaborated to produce Malala, a dramatic work for choir and orchestra that attempts to capture the spirit of her story.

Woman and fiction: A portrait of Virginia Woolf, c. 1927. Photo: Getty
Women writers after Woolf: Still fighting for a room of one’s own
By Caroline Crampton - 16 October 10:00

Superficially, women who write fiction today seem to get equal billing with their male counterparts. Yet their work will never get the kind of avid coverage given to men. 

God's own composer: John Tavener in 2007
Sound and vision: John Tavener's Flood of Beauty
By Caroline Crampton - 09 October 10:00

Lasting 100 minutes and requiring an orchestra, dozens of singers, cello and vocal soloists, the piece assaults the senses, deliberately seeking to encompass the listener within the scope of its sound.

Emma Thompson attends a photocall for BAFTA's Screenwriter Lecture series at BFI Southbank, 20 September. Photo: Getty
Emma Thompson’s leap into the dark
By Caroline Crampton - 09 October 10:00

Thompson is best known for playing complicated intellectual women, often in period dramas. But at the outset, sketch comedy was where she saw herself.

Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for West Lothian from 1962 to 1983. Photo: George Freston/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
What is the West Lothian Question?
By Caroline Crampton - 19 September 8:32

The thorny issue of “English votes for English laws”.

The New Statesman’s Scottish referendum coverage
By Caroline Crampton - 18 September 15:36

We’ll be here all night!

Diana, framed by some crafty editing. Photo: BBC/Love Productions
Diana was framed: why did the Great British Bake Off throw an innocent WI judge to the wolves?
By Caroline Crampton - 28 August 12:40

Accusations of a stitch-up are flying after the baking show’s most controversial episode to date.

Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan in Masters of Sex. Photo: Showtime
Masters of Sex: a drama of sex, ambiguity and darkness
By Caroline Crampton - 14 August 16:25

This US cable drama about William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the American sex researchers who pioneered physiological study of human sexuality, just keeps getting better and better.

The composer William Walton, photographed in 1965. Photo: Erich Auerbach/Getty
Proms 2014: the sound of silence in Walton’s Violin Concerto and Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony
By Caroline Crampton - 13 August 17:54

Performances by James Ehnes and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales had the Royal Albert Hall audience listening intently.

Lauren Bacall in 1951.
Lauren Bacall, leading lady of Hollywood’s Golden age, has died
By Caroline Crampton - 13 August 13:16

The star of To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep has had a stroke aged 89. But did she always get the roles she deserved?

Clare Teal with the Count Pearson Proms Band & Duke Windsor Proms Band at the Battle of the Bands, BBC Proms 2014. Photo: BBC/Chris Christodoulou
Proms 2014: a triumphant blaze of 1930s jazz with Clare Teal's Battle of the Bands
By Caroline Crampton - 10 August 13:51

Clare Teal brought an imagined “jazz off” between the Duke Ellington and Count Basie bands to the Royal Albert Hall.

Proms 2014: Commemorating the outbreak of WWI with John Tavener and the Tallis Scholars
By Caroline Crampton - 05 August 15:32

100 years after British foreign secretary Edward Grey said that “the lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”, a programme of John Tavener’s music provided the perfect soundtrack for quiet remembrance.

Louise Dearman, Tony Yazbeck, Alexandra Silber and Ben Davis in Kiss Me, Kate at the Proms. All photos: Chris Christodoulou
Proms 2014: the John Wilson Orchestra thrills with Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate
By Caroline Crampton - 03 August 13:11

A triumphant return to the Proms for the John Wilson Orchestra with the original 1948 version of Cole Porter's great musical.

The bands are talented, but the music is terrible. Photo: Getty
Proms 2014: Remembering WWI with anthems for doomed youth
By Caroline Crampton - 25 July 10:20

Disciplined it might be, but military music is awful. Luckily, there's greater depth to this season than a first glance suggests.

Martin Freeman as Richard III. Photo: Marc Brenner
Stop clap-shaming first-time theatregoers who like Martin Freeman from off the telly
By Caroline Crampton - 07 July 14:12

So-called “seasoned theatregoers” have complained about the audience clapping during Martin Freeman’s West End appearance as Richard III, in what is nothing more than a display of blatant snobbery.

It was Sidney Webb, not Beatrice, who first supported women’s suffrage. Photo: Getty
The Women’s Library: a treasure house of women’s literature
By Caroline Crampton - 15 May 10:00

The LSE recently took over custodianship of the Women’s Library, which houses everything from Emily Wilding to Barbara Cartland and has close links to Beatrice and Sidney Webb. 

Queen Caroline. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Caroline of Ansbach: the Georgian queen who brought the Enlightenment to Britain
By Caroline Crampton - 01 May 15:07

Three hundred years ago, an unlikely set of circumstances led to a minor German aristocratic family becoming the British royal family. Once the Georges arrived, Britain took the first steps towards becoming the nation it is today.

Mark Heap as Jeeves, Robert Webb as Bertie Wooster and Mark Hadfield as Seppings. Photo: Craig Sugden
Pure, unadulterated entertainment: Jeeves and Wooster on the stage
By Caroline Crampton - 24 April 17:05

Robert Webb and Mark Heap take their turn at portraying P G Wodehouse’s beloved toff and his omniscient butler.

Popular in Poplar: Angela Lansbury at the Angela Lansbury Film Festival, Poplar, April 2014
Angela Lansbury: “Peach queens are stars. I’m an actress”
By Caroline Crampton - 15 April 14:00

The veteran actress best known for Murder, She Wrote had an emotional return to her East End roots this month with a series of screenings and a personal appearance.

Stephen Mangan as Adrian Mole in a 2001 BBC TV adaptation.
The best moments from Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole
By Caroline Crampton - 11 April 10:06

The author, who has died at the age of 68, created in Adrian Mole a character who spoke to a generation of teenagers growing up in suburban Britain. Here, we recall a few of his finest moments.

Moving image: filmmaker Anthony Powell has yet to find cold-beating tech solutions on his feet. Image: Anthony Powell for his film "Antarctica: A Year on Ice"
What happens when your dishwasher breaks down in Antarctica?
By Caroline Crampton - 10 April 15:12

When you're living at the bottom of the world, you can’t just pop out to a hardware shop when something breaks, so your appliances are like part of the family.

Why, when we say "I'll just stay for one", does that never turn out to be the case? Photo: Getty
Peering through beer goggles: the pub that wants to improve your health
By Caroline Crampton - 28 March 12:56

Psychologists at London South Bank University have cunningly disguised a lab as a pub in order to research our drinking habits.

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