The latest on books and the arts

RSS

Miranda July.
Miranda July’s new app Somebody delivers text messages in person
By Philip Maughan - 29 August 12:42

“Every relationship becomes a three-way,” July says of the new app, which launched yesterday at the Venice Film Festival.

Ringo was the top bandmate with the other Beatles. Photo: Terry O'Neill/Getty Images
Battle of the Beatles: who was the fabbest of the four?
By New Statesman - 29 August 12:13

Four leading figures make their cases for Paul, John, George or Ringo respectively. 

Image: Jean-Pierre Degas/Hemis/Corbis
Class, commerce and pop: what the Beatles mean today
By New Statesman - 29 August 11:37

A band like the Beatles could never make it as big as they did in our era of hyper-commercialisation and Brit School elitism. 

In the Frame: The Last Resort
By Tom Humberstone - 29 August 10:19

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Bake-off: a table of cakes for the Oxford-Cambridge boat race. Photo: Getty
Tracey Thorn: The kids protest but sugary treats are an ever stickier issue
By Tracey Thorn - 29 August 10:00

The low-fat yoghurts I shovel down my neck and the smoothies I’ve been promoting to my vegetable-allergic teenage son might just as well have been crystal meth.

Eva Green.
Beaten to a pulp: Why the hyper-stylised Sin City is in need of Raymond Chandler
By Ryan Gilbey - 29 August 10:00

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For imagines what 1940s cinema might have looked like with CGI and no Hays Code - but it falls short of that era’s crackling dialogue, smoky characters and emotional pull.

In the New Statesman this week: Autumn Fiction Special
By New Statesman - 28 August 17:08

This week’s New Statesman kicks off a seminal publishing season with reviews of new novels by the biggest names in British literature.

SS officers including former Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss (second from left) relax at Solahütte, a resort near the concentration camp, 1944. Photo: courtesy US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Too much information: how scientists and historians captured the brains of Amis and McEwan
By Leo Robson - 28 August 16:22

Novels by both authors seems to be creaking under the burden of researched fact and rehearsed message, but there was a time when their impulses flowed in the opposite direction.

Dentist.
Banal retentive: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
By Philip Maughan - 28 August 15:30

In his new, Booker-longlisted novel, Joshua Ferris retains his title as the poet of the modern workplace, but his invented religion, Ulmism, proves to be a pretty dry excuse for a quest.

Dogfight proves that a famous name is not the only reason to adapt a film for the stage
By Ryan Gilbey - 28 August 15:15

Dogfight at the Southwark Playhouse shows that a musical using an existing film as its springboard is no more or less likely to succeed than an entirely original work. And rightly so.

Opulent: staff at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai
Don’t blame it on the bellboy: how India does hotels
By Rachel Cooke - 28 August 12:07

The Taj Mahal Palace, which looks like the bastard child of Sandringham and St Pancras Station, is India’s biggest and most epically decadent hotel. 

Perfect storm: over the decade between 1960 and 1970 Ringo, John, George and Paul conjured up a rich alchemy. Photo: Getty
Come together: the collision of culture, chemistry and magic that created the Beatles
By Hunter Davies - 28 August 11:52

Fifty years since the height of their fame, the band’s legacy is more important than ever, writes authorised Beatles biographer Hunter Davies.

Larkin and his close companion Monica Jones at John Betjeman’s funeral, 1984. Photo: Getty
A life more ordinary: salvaging Philip Larkin’s reputation
By Erica Wagner - 28 August 10:04

A painstakingly diligent new biography leaves Erica Wagner feeling relieved that the poet’s pornography collection is “almost entirely lost”.

Screams like teen spirit: girls go wild at a Beatles concert, Christmas 1963. Photo: Sharok Hatami/Rex
Forty pairs of abandoned knickers: Maureen Lipman on the Fab Four in Hull
By Maureen Lipman - 28 August 10:00

In the second half, John Lennon stepped forward to the mike, thighs straining against his shiny and confining suit. He shook his locks, lowered his eyes and let me have it.

British Voluntary Aid ambulance drivers at front. Image: www.gwpda.org/photos
Women volunteers were first to the war zone in 1914
By Toby Thacker - 28 August 9:28

While many of the men men who volunteered faced months, even years, of training and waiting for uniforms and weapons, the women who volunteered as nurses, or “dressers” in August 1914 were in the war zone within weeks.

A street cafe in Paris, c.1929. Photo: Getty
Wouldn’t be seen dead there: what our choice of café says about us
By Oliver Farry - 28 August 9:04

In a densely populated city, the café or the neighbourhood bar is effectively an extension of home. The ones we choose are the most basic manifestation of our social self-conception.

Moo closer: presenter Michael Mosley
Cattle royale: why red meat should be a treat
By Rachel Cooke - 27 August 10:00

Chicken is permitted to remain on the all-you-can-eat buffet, even if it has been produced in a vast shed containing 54,000 birds. Ditto mussels.

Crash and burn: Colin Myler, last editor of the News of the World, closes the paper in 2011. Photo: Tom Stoddart/Getty
Other people’s voicemail: how phone-hacking became the news
By Peter Jukes - 26 August 12:29

The author and screenwriter Peter Jukes reviews two new exposés on the News of the World scandal. 

Beyoncé performs at the VMAs. Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images
Beyoncé’s VMA performance was feminism’s most powerful pop culture moment
By Rebecca Traister - 26 August 12:08

More and more high-profile women are embracing the language, ideas, and symbolism of feminism, and that they’re doing it from their places within the power structure, not just from outside of it.

Temps perdu: a 1900s Paris street scene. Photo: Getty
Bouquets and billets-doux: letters from Proust to his neighbour
By Jane Shilling - 26 August 12:07

Propped against a multitude of pillows in his dark bedroom, Proust maintained his connections with the outside world through a blizzard of letters.

Night Moves.
Night Moves: an environmental thriller with an intractable problem at its core
By Ryan Gilbey - 26 August 10:30

Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning star as eco-warriors in Kelly Reichardt’s tense new film, two radicals who plan to blow up a hydroelectric dam.

Fight the power: Coral Stoakes's placard used in the London protests of 2011
The things they carried: the ingenious props of modern protest
By Michael Prodger - 22 August 17:49

A new exhibition at the V&A celebrates the hardware of protest movements, ranging from Solidarity to the Guerrilla Girls by way of Greenham Common and the anti-apartheid campaign.

Automatic: Kraftwerk perform at Tate Modern in 2013. Photo: Rex
Krautrock: Germany’s coolest export that no one can quite define
By Stuart Maconie - 22 August 16:09

Krautrock is a term that is bandied about alarmingly freely by bloggers, hipsters and, most of all, bands, desperate for its reflected cool – but what does it actually mean? By Stuart Maconie. 

Song
By Emily Berry - 22 August 12:16

A new poem by Emily Berry. 

Speech problems: Gabriel Quigley as Fiona, Scotland's new foreign minister in Spoiling, Traverse Theatre. Photo: Jeremy Abrahams
Edinburgh Fringe plays tackle Scottish independence in irreverent, tub-thumping form
By Mark Lawson - 22 August 12:13

Because the theatrical profession generally attracts more radicals than reactionaries, these performances tend to be rallies for the Yes campaign.

War and poetry: James McArdle (left) as James II
Three kings, one country: very timely plays for Scotland
By Andrew Marr - 21 August 16:49

Superbly acted, aggressively and imaginatively directed and providing great variety, these dramas will make thousands of Scots think again about their country.

The lynx may be brought back to Britain and areas of damaged landscape could be repaired. Photo: Ruggero Maramotti/Gallery Stock
Bring back the big cats: is it time to start rewilding Britain?
By George Monbiot - 21 August 12:20

Rewilding means the mass restoration of damaged ecosystems. It involves letting trees return and allowing parts of the seabed to recover. Above all, it means bringing back missing species.

Floella Benjamin is one of the stars who has given the issue more prominence of late. Photo: Getty
Making a permanent change to the representation of ethnicity on our screens
By Stuart Murphy - 21 August 11:29

Sky’s Stuart Murphy explains why the broadcaster has introduced targets to combat the absence of real change in BAME representation.

Elvis Presley c.1975. Photo: Getty
In 1970’s That’s The Way It Is, you get Elvis at his artistic peak
By Bob Stanley - 19 August 16:36

With this re-release of the 1970 documentary, the question is really how many different versions of “Suspicious Minds” you want in your life.

Care about feminist issues all the time, not just when someone is being abused on Twitter. Image: Keoni Cabral on Flickr via Creative Commons
But What Can Be Done: Dos and Don’ts To Combat Online Sexism
By Leigh Alexander - 19 August 12:26

Here’s a helpful guide to what you should and shouldn’t do if you see a woman being harassed on Twitter.

Pages