The latest on books and the arts


Job seekers.
“Innocent, gullible, and blinded by illusions”: Honoré de Balzac on the misery of interns in 1841
By Philip Maughan - 29 September 11:20

“There are two types of interns: poor ones and rich ones. The poor intern has pockets full of hope and needs a permanent position; the rich intern is unmotivated and wants for nothing.”

© Laura Dodsworth
Bare Reality: Breasts are an integral part of my identity as a woman
By Bare Reality - 29 September 9:05

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

Opening Night Performance of 'King Lear' at Delacorte Theater on August 5, 2014 in New York City
Why is there still a gender imbalance in theatre?
By Alexander Woolley - 26 September 16:27

Most audience members are female, but actresses and female writers are having a tough time.

City that never sleeps: New York's Time Square in 1980. Photo: Getty
Suzanne Moore: Strawberry cheesecake, sex motels and the blonde with a heart of darkness
By Suzanne Moore - 26 September 15:22

In the first instalment of her new column for the New Statesman, Suzanne Moore recalls wild times with a dangerously alluring friend in early-1980s New York.

In the Frame: The End Game
By Tom Humberstone - 26 September 12:58

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Illustration by Jackson Rees
Will Self: Whoever came up with Duck and Waffle’s menu is some kind of twisted genius
By Will Self - 26 September 12:28

This is perfect comfort food for those who’re feeling vertiginous as they contemplate the giddy extent of the ever-inflating London property bubble.

Karl Miller, former literary editor of the NS, who has died aged 83
Great Scot: Karl Miller’s pilgrimage through the London literary world
By Leo Robson - 26 September 11:43

The editor, critic and writer, who was literary editor of the New Statesman in the 1960s, head of English at UCL and founded the London Review of Books, has died, aged 83.

On the road: traffic on a main route into London near Canary Wharf. Photo: Getty
Tracey Thorn: Driving made me a nervous wreck – now I walk everywhere
By Tracey Thorn - 25 September 17:30

Luckily the accident wasn’t fatal, or even injurious, but it was final, an absolute bitter end. When I got home I put my car keys in the fruit bowl to make clear I would never be needing them again.

Fading icon: Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) stars in Cronenberg’s satire.
David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars sees Hollywood as a disease
By Ryan Gilbey - 25 September 17:11

Maps to the Stars places elements of ghost story, black comedy and Hollywood satire in a screwball framework.

Mummy’s mucky boy: Maxine Peake as Hamlet. Photo: Jonathan Keenan
Mark Lawson: Maxine Peake’s Hamlet – when theatre goes gender-blind
By Mark Lawson - 25 September 17:01

Maxine Peake talks on the Prince of Denmark in a new production at the Manchester Royal Exchange.

U2 performing at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival. Photo: Getty
With so much “stuff” out there in the world, can we still tell what is art and what isn’t?
By Oliver Farry - 25 September 16:11

From U2’s forcedly ubiquitous new album to “rediscovered” paintings from centuries ago, we are surrounded by things that lose and gain artistic status according to their context.

Unity, Diana and Nancy Mitford in 1932. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Why the Mitford sisters were the Kardashians of their day
By Hope Whitmore - 25 September 14:12

These beautiful, wayward young women, who caused such scandal in their time, were the reality stars of their day, providing plentiful fodder for the papers, society magazines and gossip rags.

Detail from Head and Heart: a painting by the German-Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon, who died in Auschwitz
Glow in the dark: how history’s boldest women embraced vulnerability
By Melissa Benn - 25 September 11:33

Melissa Benn reviews two new books about remarkable 20th-century women – from Emmeline Pankhurst to Marilyn Monroe.

Protests outside the Barbican's Vaults in London. Photo: Fiona Rutherford
Barbican art show displaying black people as exhibits in “human zoo” cancelled after protests
By Fiona Rutherford - 25 September 11:21

Locking black people in cages for the amusement of wealthy Europeans was a common Victorian amusement – but is recreating it for art’s sake also recreating the racism? 

Image taken from "Dad's National Service Album, 1951", a collection uploaded to Flickr by an ex-conscript's son. Photo: Steve Bowbrick/Flickr
The way we war: a history of British national service
By Richard Overy - 25 September 10:00

Reading this detailed account of the national service experience – peppered with moments of humour among the long years of pointless routine – invites the question whether it made any sense.

Committed socialist: Newens (left) with Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, and Lord Brockway, in 1970. Photo: Getty
Independent spirit: Stan Newens’s fight for a fairer Britain
By Stephen Brasher - 25 September 10:00

A new autobiography by the former Labour MP and left-wing campaigner. 

What does an artist look like? One of Grayson Perry's witty illustrations in Playing to the Gallery
Do I make myself Claire? Grayson Perry dissects the art world
By Thomas Calvocoressi - 25 September 10:00

In this illustrated handbook to contemporary art, Perry compares his once unfashionable pottery to the woman ordering a Babycham in a style bar and everyone suddenly wanting one.

Plumb role: actors dressed as Nintendo characters Super Mario and Luigi in Chiba, Tokyo, August 2014. Photo: Getty
The most influential tech company you’ve never heard of
By Philip Maughan - 25 September 10:00

The scientists and engineers at “Alca-Loo”– as it is known among financiers – think of themselves as “the plumbers of the internet world”.

Exciting match: Scotland's Ikechi Anya (foreground) in the UEFA qualifying match against Germany. Photo: Getty
If Scotland votes Yes it’ll make no difference to football
By Hunter Davies - 25 September 10:00

Hunter Davies’s The Fan column. 

Fuzzy logic: Ludwig Wittgenstein
Perish the thought: trying to impress the philosophy tutor
By Juliet Jacques - 25 September 10:00

Besides the sad realisation that after grad­uating these people will never realise the potential their teacher sees in them, there is deep melancholy beneath their fantasies about “Wittgenstein Jr” praising them.

White out: paracetamol, the most commonly taken pain reliever. Photo: Getty
Antonia Quirke: until recently, I was addicted to paracetamol
By Antonia Quirke - 25 September 10:00

Don’t bother looking for official statistics on dependency in the UK – because there is “absolutely no data”.

Henrik Ibsen. Photo: Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images
Mind out of time: what Ibsen can tell us about today
By Erica Wagner - 25 September 10:00

On the eve of a major season of adaptations at the Barbican, Erica Wagner goes to Norway to discover how the playwright captured the beginning of the modern world.

Toby Jones as Neil Baldwin in “Marvellous”. Photo: BBC/Tiger Aspect/Fifty Fathoms/Scott Kershaw
BBC2’s Marvellous lives up to its name
By Rachel Cooke - 24 September 17:12

Marvellous, the world’s least-likely biopic, reminds us of the power of kindness.

George Sluizer.
George Sluizer (1932-2014): The obsessive director behind River Phoenix’s last film
By Ryan Gilbey - 23 September 12:10

The Dutch director, who has died aged 82, stole the unfinished reels for Phoenix’s last film Dark Blood from after coming close to death in 2007.

Hilary Mantel. Portrait by Leonie Hampton for the New Statesman
Hilary Mantel’s Thatcher story: this author is no innocent in need of defence from right-wing critics
By Sarah Ditum - 23 September 11:00

Of course Hilary Mantel knew what she was doing in writing her short story “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher” – the precise application of words is her speciality.

Bonnie McFarlane performing on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Why are people still talking about whether women are funny?
By Andrew Hankinson - 22 September 15:35

Bonnie McFarlane on why her new film, Women Aren’t Funny, is tackling some very serious subjects.

A chase in Allan Dwan’s “Trail of the Vigilantes” (1940). Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The European Western: popular culture for the late Imperial age
By Oliver Farry - 22 September 14:45

It wasn’t just Hollywood that revelled in the glorious adventures offered by the Western as a genre – Europe made its fair share, too.

The people's choice: inhale and imbibe at the Beer Museum in Bruges. Photo: William Craig Moyes
If Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy mixed his drinks, so can you
By Nina Caplan - 22 September 11:11

Philip moved his court frequently and I believe his reasons had to do with drink: half of his lands produced wine, the other half beer. 

Bare Reality: God gives life and creates, and as a woman you can connect with that
By Bare Reality - 22 September 9:01

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

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

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.