The latest on books and the arts


Queen Viv: Westwood on the catwalk after her autumn/winter 2014/15 womenswear show at Paris Fashion Week in March. Photo: Getty
Punk, seams and SEX: the life and fashion of Vivienne Westwood
By Jane Shilling - 16 October 10:00

Jane Shilling reviews a new autobiography of the veteran British fashion designer and punk icon.

Ancient and modern: solstice revellers celebrate sunrise at Stonehenge in June. Photo: Getty
Ancient watchfulness: searching for the spirit of place
By Erica Wagner - 16 October 10:00

Marsden examines the notion that there are places on the earth which chime mysteriously with the human spirit, which drew our ancestors to them just as we are drawn there.

Everything is illuminated: Marilynne Robinson. Photo: Danny Wilcox Frazier/Redux/Eyevine
Living the good life: Rowan Williams on Marilynne Robinson
By Rowan Williams - 16 October 10:00

Robinson’s trilogy set in small-town Christian America is more than great fiction – it is a political and ethical project. 

Boys will be boys: as the Nineties progressed men's magazines "had only one button to press: sex". Photo: David Turner/Rex Features
Dylan Jones: The New Lad – my part in his downfall
By Dylan Jones - 16 October 10:00

Two decades ago, a new kind of man emerged intent on having it all. GQ editor Dylan Jones asks what happened to him.

“You can ride a canoe, but can you ride a yacht?” The Apprentice blog: series 10, episode 2
By Anoosh Chakelian - 16 October 8:29

It’s the second episode in a week of the new series of The Apprentice, meaning the producers have really given it 200 per cent.

Welcome to The Apprentice blog: series 10, episode 1
By Anoosh Chakelian - 15 October 8:27

The Apprentice is back for its 10th year. “You’re tired!” sums up the format, but dedicated viewers of the show won’t mind a bit.

Frontier town: Quito, Ecuador, seen shortly after a small earthquake, August 2014. Photo: Getty
Alone in the border town, I got a bit too nifty with the Spanish phrasebook
By Suzanne Moore - 14 October 16:42

Suzanne Moore’s weekly column, Telling Tales. 

Grayson Perry and Miranda Sawyer at the Royal Institution on 13 October.
Listen: Grayson Perry in conversation with Miranda Sawyer
By New Statesman - 14 October 15:24

On the idea of the “Great White Male”, politics, fashion and much more.

Gillian Anderson as DSI Stella Gibson in “The Fall”. Photo: BBC/The Fall 2 Limited/Helen Sloan
Is violence against women on TV acceptable if there are complex female characters?
By Clare Wiley - 14 October 11:57

Violent scenes on TV form part of a wider picture of how the media portrays women: as degraded, objectified and patronised victims.

Pucker up: Shahid Kapoor as Haider/Hamler and Shraddha Kapoor as Arshia/Ophelia
To pout or not to pout: Hamlet goes Bollywood
By Ryan Gilbey - 14 October 10:56

Bhardwaj relocates the action to Kashmir in the mid-1990s. If the graft doesn’t quite take, it’s because the film is so persuasive in portraying the oppression of the Kashmiri people that the woes of Hamlet seem small beer.

Bright stars: LiLo and Schiff in Speed-the-Plow
When Lindsay Lohan came out from behind the screen
By Mark Lawson - 14 October 10:00

Lindsay Lohan, in her music career, has little hope of earning the review “better than Madonna” but, in theatre, she empirically is.

Why nobody knows what to think about Patrick Modiano winning the Nobel Prize for Literature
By Leo Robson - 13 October 16:51

The French author has never been internationally popular, but he is nevertheless widely studied. Leo Robson looks at the reaction to his Nobel win, and what this tells us about the way his work is perceived.

An 1899 illustration for H G Wells’ “When the Sleeper Wakes”. Image: Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty Images
Can science fiction writers predict trends in technology’s future?
By Peter F Hamilton - 13 October 13:32

From Arthur C Clarke’s “Extra Terrestrial Relays” (now called satellites) to H G Wells’ “ironclads” (tanks), science fiction writers have form when it comes to pre-empting the future of technology.

Thinking out loud: Grayson Perry and Martin Amis in Perry's north London studio, September 2014
Martin Amis talks to Grayson Perry: “I think there is a difference between male and female writing”
By Grayson Perry - 13 October 10:00

Our guest editor Grayson Perry invites the novelist Martin Amis to his studio to discuss art, violence and the end of men.

Alain de Botton: The terrible poignancy of the thinning pate
By Alain de Botton - 13 October 10:00

Baldness has been spun as synonymous with exaggerated potency, but the bald know that, far from having the vigour of a skinhead, most of them look like nothing so much as a fragile librarian.

It is autumn, not January, that feels to me like the new year. Photo: Getty
Tracey Thorn: Autumn brings the strangest kind of nostalgia: it’s when I start looking forward
By Tracey Thorn - 10 October 16:33

It is a funny kind of nostalgia. I feel not 19 again, but anticipatory again.

A A Gill: Why the suit is the greatest British invention ever
By A A Gill - 10 October 14:30

Nothing else that comes from this pathetically stunted island has had anything like the universal acceptance, reach or influence of the suit.

My Otherness by Stephen Collins
By Stephen Collins - 10 October 10:32

Click to zoom into a larger image

Wild palates: the Mitchell Cotts family in The Kitchen
Eat, pray, love: Britain’s seriously loopy eating habits
By Rachel Cooke - 09 October 16:53

Do people really do this stuff? Apparently, they do. 

Unbuttoned: Andrew Marr, novelist. Photo: Jeff Mitchell/Getty
Witty and wicked: Andrew Marr’s revealing political thriller
By Adam Boulton - 09 October 10:00

What makes Head of State worth reading is that it is Marr unbuttoned. The cloak of fiction allows him to express his view of his world in the way he used to when chatting to his fellow hacks, waiting to go live from Downing Street.

Photo: Leon Harris/Eyevine
Karl Miller’s grand style: John Sutherland remembers the late, great editor and academic
By John Sutherland - 09 October 10:00

Karl Miller was less a literary editor and more a conductor. He wielded his baton with the authority of a maestro. 

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.

Julian Assange appears on screen to discuss the revelations about New Zealand's mass surveillance at Auckland Town Hall, 15 September. Ph
When Julian Assange went head to head with Google
By Bryan Appleyard - 09 October 10:00

For Julian Assange, Google is all but an arm of the US state department. For the company’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, and Jonathan Rosenberg, an adviser to its CEO, Larry Page, Google is the model of the 21st-century company.

Toppling Maggie: a blown-up photo of Thatcher is taken down at the end of the Conservative Party Conference, 2 October. Photo: Getty
Darkly humorous vision: Hilary Mantel’s “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher”
By Erica Wagner - 09 October 10:00

The conceit of this book’s title story has prompted calls for Mantel’s head – but how well would Wolf Hall have gone down at the court of Henry VIII?

Braving the tyranny of the white wall: Hodgkin in his studio, an airy space in a Victorian dairy in Bloomsbury. Photo: David Levene/The Guardian
Howard Hodgkin: “I’ve always hated painting. It’s always been agony”
By Michael Prodger - 09 October 10:00

The British artist struggled as his friend David Hockney became a star. But at 82 he’s not bitter – and his art is as luminous as ever.

"I had him in the back of my cab": Goldfarb picked up Philip Roth (or did he?). Photo: Rex/Courtesy Everett Collection
A writer unbound: driving a New York taxi in the 1970s
By Antonia Quirke - 09 October 10:00

Author and one-time cabby Michael Goldfarb recalled how he’d been behind the wheel to pay for acting lessons, studying under Marlon Brando’s dauntless mentor Stella Adler.