The latest on books and the arts


Pay up: a banner outside St Paul's Cathedral during the Occupy London protests. Photo: Rex/Matt Lloyd
Risky business: Peter Wilby on Owen Jones’s The Establishment
By Peter Wilby - 11 September 10:00

Jones is excellent on how the state, supposedly rolled back, has just changed its nature so that, as big as ever, it has become a creature of capital, controlled by the corporate sector.

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman attend a photocall ahead of the new BBC series of 'Dr Who' in Parliament Square on August 22, 2014 in London, England. Photo: Getty Images
The politics of Doctor Who: satire has always followed the Doctor through time
By Pete May - 10 September 17:24

In its use of political satire, from non-deviating Daleks to the Master infiltrating British politics, Doctor Who always been astute and often very funny.

Manet’s “Masked Ball at the Opera” (c.1873) on display in a gallery. Photo: Getty
Reliance on unpaid volunteers is turning public museums into a middle class commodity
By Sam Reyes - 09 September 16:08

As funding is cut, museums are becoming more and more dependent on volunteers to keep services running, but in doing so, they risk entrenching a lack of diversity.

The Post Office.
Reviews Round-up | 9 September
By Critic - 09 September 14:00

The critics’ verdicts on Owen Jones’s The Establishment, James Meek’s Private Island and Emily Mackie’s In Search of Solace.

Princes Harry and William on Christmas Day, 2013. Photo: Getty
Deadly rival or comic relief: the dilemmas of the spare heir
By Amy Licence - 09 September 12:05

Being a second-born royal can be a difficult path to walk – often, it seems to be the sibling’s job to make the mistakes the heir cannot risk.

Man Booker Prize 2014 shortlist announced in full
By Critic - 09 September 11:07

Chair of judges A C Grayling announced the six shortlisted books at a press conference in London this morning.

Rebecca Root in the upcoming BBC sitcom “Boy Meets Girl”.
Is the tide turning for transgender actors?
By J Tebble - 09 September 9:27

J speaks to two trans actors in the UK, and asks if the landscape of acting and casting is becoming, slowly, more inclusive to trans people.

A reprisal of The Last House on the Left shows 35mm film is not dead yet
By Alexander Woolley - 08 September 15:00

Hollywood is scaling back on analogue film, but in the UK dedicated fans are organising screenings in 35mm to try and keep the medium alive.

Peter Capaldi and a dalek. Photo: BBC/Adrian Rogers
Why Doctor Who is football, but for geeks
By James O'Malley - 08 September 12:02

In the same way that complete strangers can bond instantly over the latest football news, Doctor Who gives geeks an easy solution to awkward silences in conversation.

Reel deal: the old-style American drive-in has become a relic and may soon disappear
That’s all, folks: what the end of 35mm film means for cinema
By Helen Alexander and Rhys Blakely - 08 September 10:00

Like all things human, the 35mm reel is slowly shuffling off this mortal coil. This year, Paramount Pictures became the first big studio to announce that it would no longer release 35mm prints of movies in the US.

Bare Reality: I’m one of the lucky ones
By Bare Reality - 08 September 9:10

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

Bare Reality: 100 women and their breasts
By Laura Dodsworth - 08 September 9:06

A hundred women have bared their breasts and their souls as part of a project to further understanding of how women really feel about their breasts, and how they really look.

Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: William Murphy on Flickr, via Creative Commons
From inflexible nationalism to Sky Sports: Ireland’s Gaelic games have come a long way
By Oliver Farry - 05 September 17:04

In 2014, Gaelic Athletic Association games are being broadcast by Sky Sports for the first time. Oliver Farry looks at the history of two sports that have deep connections with Ireland’s identity.

In The Basement.
2014 London Film Festival preview: French house music, Austrian basements and the British Harmony Korine
By Ryan Gilbey - 05 September 12:17

Our film critic Ryan Gilbey previews the 58th London Film Festival, which opens next month.

In the Frame: The Unearthly Pudding
By Tom Humberstone - 05 September 10:04

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Peter Capaldi as the Doctor with the TARDIS in Parliament Square, London. Photo: BBC/Guy Levy
Why does Iowa like Doctor Who so much?
By Lea A Donovan - 05 September 9:34

A regional broadcaster in heart of the continental US has been repeating Doctor Who almost constantly since 1974. Why does the Midwest have such an attachment to a British sci-fi show?

The Big Tramp comes to London
By Alexander Woolley - 04 September 17:40

The Big Tramp, combining the literary tropes of homelessness and night-walking, will raise money for theatre company Cardboard Citizens.

Not fade away: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Mark Lawson: The posthumous films of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams
By Mark Lawson - 04 September 17:21

The problem is that film is a form of immortality but it is disturbing if we see the ghost too soon or with scars that remind us of their departure. 

Class acts: Mr Bispham in Educating the East End
School’s out: How the “Educating” franchise became predictable and cynical
By Rachel Cooke - 04 September 17:11

If this feels familiar, that’s because it is. Here are all the tired tropes, arranged for our middle-class delectation. 

Ayes on the prize: Alex Salmond visits Brownings bakers in Kilmarnock, 3 September. Photo: Getty
Ed Smith: Alex Salmond may get the laughs – but would you trust him in a crisis?
By Ed Smith - 04 September 17:05

It is easy to imagine him as the popular mayor of a minor American city. What works when he is playing to the gallery, however, will not work if he becomes the head of a sovereign nation.

Stranger at the door: Dan Stevens as David
Downton to downright nasty: Dan Stevens’s dramatic transformation
By Ryan Gilbey - 04 September 16:46

In The Guest, Stevens plays David, a stranger who pitches up on the doorstep of a grieving American family. He claims to be a friend of their eldest son, who died in combat in Afghanistan but it’s clear to the viewer he’s bad news. 

Suit you, sir: to his adoring young fans, Savile, pictured on the set of Top of the Pops circa 1973, represented wacky style and wish fulfilment. Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images
How Jim fixed it: the strange, dark life of Jimmy Savile
By Rachel Cooke - 04 September 12:20

It is impossible to look back on the world of light entertainment in the Savile era and not come to the conclusion that it was strikingly weird.

Mistress of all the elements: Bush’s new stage show works stage magic as she transforms her life experience into a theatrical triumph. Photo: Ken Mckay/Rex
Tracey Thorn on Kate Bush at the Hammersmith Apollo: the ecstatic triumph of a life’s work
By Tracey Thorn - 04 September 12:02

If we still ask, where has Kate Bush been all these years and why has she not done this before, my answer would be that I think she has been living the life that made this show possible.

Spoilt for choice: browsing the Wine Society’s outlet in France is a pleasant way to bypass British taxes. Photo: Charles Platiau/Reuters
The tax dodge that would make Dr Johnson proud
By Nina Caplan - 04 September 9:42

The oddity is that the French government is very helpful to wine buyers.

Cheesy grits. Photo: Neil Conway on Flickr via Creative Commons
Will Self: Why on earth the Southern states of the US rejoice in grits is beyond me
By Will Self - 04 September 8:57

I don’t know how I got this far without sampling the mush that sustains the Southern states.

Art and its double: Frances Wilson on “How to Be Both” by Ali Smith
By Frances Wilson - 03 September 10:33

Ali Smith’s new novel How to Be Both is dizzyingly good and so clever that it makes you want to dance.

Reality bites: Mark Lawson on “Shark” by Will Self
By Mark Lawson - 03 September 10:14

Will Self’s latest novel is a hard read, but it rewards the attention demanded.

Battle of Stamford Bridge (1870) by Peter Nicolai Arbo/Private Collection/Photo © O Væring/Bridgeman Images
1066 and all that: Eimear McBride on “The Wake” by Paul Kingsnorth
By Eimear McBride - 03 September 10:12

In The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth delicately loops the multifarious layers of English history together.

Comic Sans: the typeface that came in from the cold
By Anoosh Chakelian - 03 September 10:00

The jaunty, rounded font is now most associated with shabby invitations to children’s parties, badly spelt emails and passive-aggressive PowerPoint presentations. 

The novelist David Mitchell. Photo: Mary Andrews/Guardian/IDS
Stitches in time: Olivia Laing on “The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell
By Olivia Laing - 03 September 9:44

The pleasure for the reader of David Mitchell’s novels lies in the comforting sense that there might after all be a pattern to the random data of the everyday.