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The Lizard.
Friday Arts Diary | 19 September 2014
By Esme Cargill - 19 September 12:30

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.

Emma Stone and Colin Firth.
Magic in the Moonlight: Another year, another Woody Allen mediocrity
By Ryan Gilbey - 18 September 17:50

It is astonishing, with actors as gifted as Colin Firth and Emma Stone, that Woody Allen’s latest film so badly misses the mark.

A polluted beach in Alabama during the BP oil spill disaster of 2010. Photo: Kari Goodnough/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Steven Poole on Naomi Klein: Could climate change action rejuvenate worldwide democracy?
By Steven Poole - 18 September 13:27

In her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism v the Climate, Naomi Klein provides a vividly reported and densely researched argument for how our future should look.

“The Riot Club” is based on Laura Wade’s Bullingdon Club-inspired Royal Court play “Posh”.
If only the lads of The Riot Club were a little less revolting
By Ryan Gilbey - 18 September 13:07

Lone Scherfig’s film adaptation of the 2010 play Posh feels unbalanced: we want to see a bit of naughty fun before the nastiness kicks in.

Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black in the ITV biopic.
Perky but prosaic: Sheridan Smith’s Cilla Black biopic lacks jeopardy
By Rachel Cooke - 18 September 12:51

Cilla Black’s story is not exactly on-the-edge-of-your-seat exciting, for all that she knew the Beatles.

In the Frame: Potential Distant Memories for Scotland
By Tom Humberstone - 18 September 11:58

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

A detail from Turner's “War, the Exile and the Rock Limpet”.
Mark Lawson: Turner and Constable rarely spoke to each other, but their pictures do
By Mark Lawson - 18 September 11:50

An accident of gallery scheduling means that London currently has a sort of early-19th-century chat show in which the two painters converse.

New lease of life: the Barbers Arms micropub in Wye, Kent. Photo: calflier001/Flickr
Community fixers? The mighty rise of the micropub
By Ben West - 18 September 10:00

In January 2013, there were just 15 micropubs, almost all of them in Kent. A year later, there were more than 40, spread across the country.

Women and children picking blackberries to sell to jam factories in 1943. Photo: Getty
Always mark where you find the juiciest berries
By Felicity Cloake - 18 September 9:55

Blackberries make an excellent fool and a decent autumnal replacement for summer cherries in a clafoutis, as well as a lovely fruity sauce for the first of the season’s game.

The Beyond the Fringe team, 1960: (l-r) Peter Cook, Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller, Dudley Moore. Photo: John Hedgecoe/TopFoto
From the the culturally conservative Fifties to the Swinging Harold Wilson Sixties
By Andrew Marr - 18 September 9:48

Writing the history of the recent past is not easy, but David Kynaston’s artful collage technique manages to draw us into a time that can feel like it belonged to another world.

By Simon Armitage - 18 September 9:45

A new poem by Simon Armitage.

Medieval philosopher-savant Roger Bacon. Engraving by R Cooper, print by Agidius Sadelam. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
John the Pupil by David Flusfeder: a novel of quiet suggestion and unobtrusive cleverness
By Tim Martin - 18 September 9:41

David Flusfeder’s novel John the Pupil follows three students of the medieval philosopher-savant Roger Bacon who make a secretive journey from England to the seat of the papacy at Viterbo.

Blood never lies: our fascination with forensics is fuelling the boom in cold case crime fiction
Digging up the dead: investigating the cold case crime narrative
By Leo Robson - 18 September 9:38

While the cold case thriller owes its life to new techniques such as DNA profiling and new disciplines such as forensic anthropology, the genre’s practitioners vary in their degree of commitment to these origins.

Nuns cleaning their church for Easter in Caltanissetta, Sicily. Photo: Getty
A holy mess: the ongoing sacred soap opera of Radio Maria in Sicily
By Antonia Quirke - 18 September 9:20

In southern Sicily you often hear Maria in the background in shops, like an ongoing soap opera: the live Mass from Medjugorje, where there have been apparitions of the Madonna since 1981, or the replaying of news from Radio Vaticana.

An aerial view of London at night. Photo: Getty
Will Self: If you want to see London with completely new eyes, take a night-hike out of town
By Will Self - 18 September 8:09

We sought out the high point, and there it was: the panorama we’d been seeking.

Reviews round-up | 17 September
By New Statesman - 17 September 17:00

The critics’ verdicts on Ian McEwan’s The Children Act, A N Wilson’s Victoria: A Life and Elena Ferrante’s Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay.

A painting of Richard III by an unknown artist in the National Portrait Gallery. Photo: Getty
How Richard III really died
By Sarah Hainsworth - 17 September 10:06

Nine blows to the head and then he was gone: modern forensic techniques applied to the newly-discovered skeleton of Richard III have been able to suggest how he died for the first time.

The power of progress: Paul Delaroche’s The Conquerors of the Bastille Before the Hôtel de Ville in 1789 (1839). Photo: Musée de la Ville de Paris, Musée du Petit-Palais, France/Bridgeman Images
How liberalism lost its way
By David Marquand - 17 September 9:33

What happened to a defining world-view? David Marquand examines the religious roots of an ideology.

© Laura Dodsworth
Bare Reality: Breasts make you feel like a proper woman
By Bare Reality - 15 September 9:00

An excerpt from Bare Reality, a project to further understanding of how women really feel about their breasts, and how they really look.

A mind for crime: Agatha Christie at home, 1949. Photo: Popperfoto
Mark Lawson: inside the business of Agatha Christie Ltd
By Mark Lawson - 12 September 16:13

The death of an author doesn’t necessarily mean the death of their characters. Hercule Poirot is the latest sleuth to come back for an encore. 

“The Riot Club” is based on Laura Wade’s Bullingdon Club-based Royal Court play “Posh”.
The Riot Club’s portrayal of a restaurant-smashing Oxbridge elite lacks political bite
By Conrad Landin - 12 September 15:52

The film, adapted from Laura Wade’s Bullingdon Club-based play Posh, fails to address the fact that it isn’t just the restaurant-smashers who benefit from Oxbridge elitism.

Does even he get nervous? President Obama appears on US chatshow The View. Photo: Getty
Tracey Thorn: interviews can be just as terrifying for the celebrity
By Tracey Thorn - 12 September 13:06

We don’t know what to expect: whether they want us to be garrulous or mysterious; live up to our image or confound it; be starry or down to earth.

The guts to fight the power: Roxane Gay. Photo: Jennifer Silverberg/The Guardian
Does it matter if you’re a “bad feminist”? Roxane Gay doesn’t think so
By Helen Lewis - 12 September 12:52

Reading Roxane Gay comes as a relief – as being involved in feminism can sometimes feel more like voluntarily climbing into the stocks than participating in a social movement.

In the Frame: Haven’t I Got Satire for You
By Tom Humberstone - 12 September 10:55

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Strike partners: marching for the miners in Pride
Glitter and grit: when gay rights activists allied with the miners
By Ryan Gilbey - 12 September 10:18

Pride takes a subject that might be considered earnest or marginal and smuggles it through in jazzy, feel-good colours.

This 1698 tax list from Shrewsbury records the most prominent persons in the district first.
Mistress, Miss, Mrs or Ms: untangling the shifting history of women’s titles
By Alexandra Buxton - 12 September 10:18

In a paper published in the autumn issue of History Workshop Journal Dr Amy Erickson unravels the fascinating history of the titles used to address women. Her research reveals the subtle and surprising shifts that have taken place in the usage of those ubiquitous M-words.

Poker faces: Friends turned sarcasm into the default mode of conversation for a generation. Photo: Mr Photo/Corbis Outline
The hunting of the snark: Friends, 20 years on
By Andrew Harrison - 12 September 10:00

Twenty years ago, a new sitcom was described as “not very entertaining, clever, or original”. But Friends went on to shape the way we live now.

Good Knight: French actors perform during a rehearsal of Excalibur at the Stade de France, September 2011. Photo: Getty
Beyond the Round Table: celebrating the underdogs of Camelot
By Amanda Craig - 11 September 10:00

Beneath the romping humour and fast pace in this book is a plea for the shy, feminine, humane and deviant to be understood and valued.

Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth: Ruth Padel's new collection deals with religion in the Holy Land. Photo: Getty
Style over substance: three poets’ attempts to master their form
By Paul Batchelor - 11 September 10:00

However long a poet struggles to establish a style that answers the questions of form, voice, tone or subject haunting his imagination, the real work begins after the discovery is made.

The great contender: Brando at his parents' home in Illinois in 1951. Photo: Art Shay/The Life Images Collection/Getty
Marlon fishing: was Brando really brain as well as brawn?
By Christopher Bray - 11 September 10:00

Susan Mizruchi considers Brando a kind of one-man UN. Alas, she also unwittingly demonstrates how elitist and dictatorial her putative freedom fighter could be.