Friday Arts Diary

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.


Murder in the Library, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1, 18 Jan – 12 May 

The British Library’s new exhibition about crime writing, which accounts for approximately a third of all British fiction books, will take you on a captivating journey through the evolution of this popular genre. It will explore the genre's origins in the early 19th century through to contemporary "Nordic Noir", without forgetting the most prominent crime writers including Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle.

This fascinating exhibition will showcase manuscripts, books, rare audio recordings, artworks, as well as intriguing artefacts from the library's British and North American collections.

Classical Music

The Opus Ones, Peter Donohoe, Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, 16 January

Warwick Arts Centre at the University of Warwick invites world renowned British pianist Peter Donohoe to take to its stage with a performance of music from the early part of the careers of some of the best known composers. Donohoe has devised an evening devoted to the works of Tchaikovsky, Bartók, Prokofiev, Schumann and Berg.

The audience is promised “power, tenderness, and the perennially fresh touch of one of the supreme virtuosos of our time”. Donohoe begins the evening with a pre-concert talk.


Work In Progress, Sean Lock, Leicester square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, Leicester Square, London WC2, 11 Jan – 16 Jan (except 14 Jan)

Sean Lock is taking a break from his  television appearances to begin a stand-up comedy tour. The shows at the Leicester Square Theatre are in preparation for a national tour which will commence later this year. The comedian, whose TV credits include team captain on 8 Out Of 10 Cats as well as QI and Argumental, will perform a string of shows at this venue in January and February.


The Johnny Cash Story, The Lowry Theatre, 8 The Quays, Salford, 13 January

For fans of the film Walk The Line, this one-night-only show is unmissable. Roger Dean, who has been playing Johnny Cash for most of his life after first performing The Tennessee Flat Top Box on BBC television aged 14, will be entertaining with a collection of the star’s best known songs. From Big River to Ring of Fire and I Walk The Line, the show charts Cash’s rise to fame from humble Arkansas beginnings.


The Silence of the Sea, Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, London SW1, 14 Jan – 2 Feb (previews start from 10 January)

A novella originally written by Vercors, The Silence of the Sea has been reimagined by Anthony Weigh for the stage. A soldier is sent to the home of an old man and his niece. The pair, with no option but to allow him in, resist him with a silence that will become their most forceful strength.

This “exquisitely constructed human drama”, whose cast features Finbar Lynch among others, sheds new light on the original play and observes “an excruciating dilemma faced by both the occupier and the occupied”.

Sean Lock, whose pre-tour warm-up gigs will begin this week in London. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Marching against climate change in the age of Donald Trump

The People’s Climate Movement is as much about politics as science. That's its strength.

Saying goodbye is never easy. But the present generation are facing an awful lot of farewells: to the melting arctic, the dying Barrier Reef, and the general resilience of ecosystems around the world. As Margaret Atwood described it in her essay of the same name: “It’s not climate change, it’s everything change”.

The problem with “everything-change” is that it can be overwhelming. How do you even decide where to start?

The People’s Climate Movement want to begin by making visible the extent of concern out there. This weekend, a coalition of organisations have planned a protest march on the American capital. Between 50,000 -100,000 people are expected to attend, including eco-celebrities Leonardo Di Caprio, Al Gore and Richard Branson.

In London, a group called Campaign Against Climate Change, are co-ordinating a UK-based solidarity event. Protestors will meet at 11.30am in Old Palace yard opposite Parliament, then move to Westminster Bridge, where they will spell out a message to Theresa May: “Trump and May: Climate Disaster”.

For UK campaigners, this is a vital opportunity to raise awareness of the many ways in which action on climate change is under threat. Claire James from CACC outlines the sense of frustration and injustice that many feel with regard to recent government policy: “There have been 12,000 jobs lost last year in the solar industry alone and installation numbers have plummeted. Meanwhile fracking, hugely unpopular, is given determined backing.”

Ahead of the June election, campaigners are using the event to call for specific, cross-party commitments. One, fast-tracking the UK’s delayed Climate Change Plan. Two, ruling out new trade deals that compromise environmental, worker or consumer rights. And three, implementing a fair deal for UK solar and wind industry. “Our action on Saturday is about saying to the government – and to anyone who wants to form the next government – do your policies measure up?” says James.

These concrete political aims are an important way in which the movement differs from last weekend’s March For Science. That protest, inspired by the popularity of the Women’s March earlier this year, kept its message intentionally wide. As one of the London event’s organisers told DeSmog, it placed its emphasis on a generalised “celebration of science”. But this lack of specificity drew criticism from some quarters – for presenting a confusing message about politics' relationship to science.

Generalisation can also risk putting people off joining marches at all. Over the last few months, numerous friends have said they feel uncomfortable joining protests where they’re not sure that the person marching next to them is doing so for the same reasons. They’d feel much happier signing a petition, with a more specific and limited aim, they tell me.

This weekend’s climate marches risk drawing some of the same concerns. “Climate-change has become a synecdoche, a surrogate, for many causes in today’s world – social justice, the protection of nature, the rights of future generations, the defence of science,” says Professor Mike Hulme from King's College London. “Marches such as this give political voice to anti-establishment protest, but they don’t stop the climate changing.”

In addition, not all who want to see climate change prioritised by governments may agree over the exact course of action – with outright opposition to fracking, for instance, or to a third runway at Heathrow.

But this weekend’s movement also appears to have taken these lessons on board. First, they are putting their political aims up front. According the US event’s website, whereas the March for Science strove to be non-political, this movement “believes strongly in the need to call out the politicians.”

The link to the Paris Climate Treaty is helpful in this respect. The People’s Climate Movement traces its birth back to September 21 2014, the eve of the UN climate summit, when 400,000 people marched through New York demanding action on the climate crisis. This gives the movement a clear piece of legislation to both celebrate and defend.

And the London-based event is also attempting to re-think and expand what street-protests can achieve. “We’re doing a smaller action rather than a big march,” explains Claire James, “but we’re trying to have a real focus with the speakers on ‘what next’”. After the protest in Westminster, attendees are invited to join an afternoon of free food, activities and music, hosted by the food waste campaign Feedback. Here there will be even further opportunity to learn about the many ways – from divestment campaigns to local renewable energy groups – in which people can help press for change.

In this respect, public action against the climate crisis promises not to end when the walking does. And while protests won't stop climate change in themselves, joining a march can be a powerful reminder that we are not in this crisis alone.

India Bourke is an environment writer and editorial assistant at the New Statesman.

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