The latest on books and the arts


Magic number: a bar owner celebrates his big win near Barcelona, 2010
The day I (almost) won the lottery in Spain
By William Cook - 14 August 10:00

William Cook was on his way to buy a ticket for “El Gordo” in a small town in Tenerife but changed his mind at the last minute. It’s a decision he’s lived to regret. 

Ahead of the curve: Niterol Contemporary Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro by Oscar Niemeyer. Photo: Getty
Erotic architecture: the sexual history of great buildings
By Jonathan Glancey - 14 August 10:00

From Nero’s decadent Golden House in Rome to Charles Fourier’s orgiastic French “courts of love”; public toilet glory holes to Eileen Gray’s sexy Mediterranean hideway. 

The composer William Walton, photographed in 1965. Photo: Erich Auerbach/Getty
Proms 2014: the sound of silence in Walton’s Violin Concerto and Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony
By Caroline Crampton - 13 August 17:54

Performances by James Ehnes and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales had the Royal Albert Hall audience listening intently.

Lauren Bacall in 1951.
Lauren Bacall, leading lady of Hollywood’s Golden age, has died
By Caroline Crampton - 13 August 13:16

The star of To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep has had a stroke aged 89. But did she always get the roles she deserved?

Unexpurgated! An early copy of Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover: Photo: Chris Drumm/Flickr
Lady Chatterley’s lawyer: Jeremy Hutchinson interviewed
By Antonia Quirke - 13 August 12:28

Once married to the actress Peggy Ashcroft, Hutchinson was known be a dashing, lyrical figure liable to quote poetry. 

Playwright Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) embracing actor Jack McGowan at a first night performance, 1970. Photo: Getty
Mark Lawson: Happy days in the town of Samuel Beckett’s childhood
By Mark Lawson - 13 August 12:22

For the past three years, an international Beckett festival in Enniskillen has attempted to establish a more positive Google footprint alongside the one established by the IRA bombing at the town’s cenotaph in 1987.

Robin Williams as Tom Keating in Dead Poets Society
Remembering Robin Williams (1951-2014)
By New Statesman - 12 August 12:27

The American actor and comedian has been found dead at his home in California, aged 63.

Steven Isserlis performing with Joshua Bell and Marc-Andre Hamelin. Photo: Aline Paley
At the Verbier Festival, a lot of music is packed into a small town
By Alexandra Coghlan - 11 August 11:42

From Brahms’s chamber music to Mozart opera, the little Swiss ski-village provides a musical feast.

Clare Teal with the Count Pearson Proms Band & Duke Windsor Proms Band at the Battle of the Bands, BBC Proms 2014. Photo: BBC/Chris Christodoulou
Proms 2014: a triumphant blaze of 1930s jazz with Clare Teal's Battle of the Bands
By Caroline Crampton - 10 August 13:51

Clare Teal brought an imagined “jazz off” between the Duke Ellington and Count Basie bands to the Royal Albert Hall.

Life after death: Christie and Whishaw in Lilting
Lilting shows how language is not always a barrier to intimacy
By Ryan Gilbey - 08 August 16:15

Ben Whishaw stars as a grieving lover in this tale of cross-generational, Anglo-Chinese friendship. 

Baby blue: midwife Vicky (Christine Bottomley) in Kay Mellor's new drama
Soapy and box-ticking: Rachel Cooke on Kay Mellor’s In the Club
By Rachel Cooke - 08 August 16:13

This is a plot so grossly overloaded, so swollen with coincidences, that it makes EastEnders look lithe and minimalist.

Playing with Viola: Shakespeare in Love
Mark Lawson: From Wolfgang to Will, there’s no such thing as a full-time genius
By Mark Lawson - 08 August 15:30

In Shakespeare in Love, he is more Bart than Bard: a feckless, penniless hack dramatist with writer’s block who has terrible ideas for plays – “Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter”.

Paul Ready.
There are no clear answers in Channel 4’s conspiracy thriller Utopia
By Charlie Royle - 08 August 15:19

Channel 4’s Utopia is a complex and unpredictable thriller which refuses to give easy answers on the challenges of population growth.

Old-school grubbiness: the return of Sinéad O’Connor
Sinead O’Connor’s lively, messy and contradictory version of feminism
By Kate Mossman - 08 August 12:09

A concept album of sorts, this claims to chart the emotional experiences of an imaginary woman – from romantic activities to pain, deception and more.

In the Frame: The Road To Election Day Board Game
By Tom Humberstone - 08 August 10:31

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Caillebotte, Les Raboteurs de parquet
Toil and tedium: how painting remains coy about its painstaking processes
By Oliver Farry - 07 August 14:57

Everyone knows the effort that goes into creating works of art but it is all sublimated in a seamless, effortless whole. 

Lazing on a sunny afternoon: summertime on Hampstead Heath. Photo: Getty
Nicholas Lezard: A trip down memory pain on the way back from the Heath
By Nicholas Lezard - 07 August 10:00

Nicholas Lezard’s Down and Out column. 

Green giant: Kermit the frog at the New York Stock Exchange, 17 March. Photo: Getty
People don’t want to hear it when you tell them to run over amphibians
By John Brooke - 07 August 10:00

Ah – the internet. One minute in which to arm myself with an encyclopaedic knowledge about frogs. 

An infant inspects a work at the National Exhibition of Children's Art at the Royal Institute Galleries
No, Jake Chapman, opening culture to young people is never a waste of time
By Robert Macquarie - 06 August 12:00

The artist, nominated for the Turner Prize in 2003, has stoked controversy to gain media attention. It is still worth resisting his fundamentally misguided claims.

Place of violence: the arcades of the Uffizi in Florence. Photo: Getty
Will Self: First impressions last longest – and Florence is still a slap in the face
By Will Self - 06 August 10:00

Usually my mother didn’t mind me filling my metaphorical trouser bottoms with earthy words, but in Florence she’d seen vermilion and struck out, ensuring that for me, for ever, the city would be associated with violence.

Clockwise from top left: Gracie Fields visits the factory where Ali Smith's father Donald Smith worked before signing up; Smith's mother Ann in the WAAF; Donald in RN uniform; Smith's grandfather in front of WWI shaving tent
Listen with Father: a personal story by Ali Smith
By Ali Smith - 05 August 15:52

War and the sound of our ancestral voices. 

Proms 2014: Commemorating the outbreak of WWI with John Tavener and the Tallis Scholars
By Caroline Crampton - 05 August 15:32

100 years after British foreign secretary Edward Grey said that “the lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”, a programme of John Tavener’s music provided the perfect soundtrack for quiet remembrance.

Comedy in locomotion: Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot (1959)
Sax and spats: The Culture Studio reviews Some Like it Hot
By Antonia Quirke - 05 August 10:19

There’s such pleasure for the listener in hearing something you know being chewed over properly.

Life of a ladies' man: Leonard Cohen. Photo: Eric Mulet/ Agence Vu
Stuart Maconie on Leonard Cohen: why I like the man more than the musician
By Stuart Maconie - 05 August 10:00

Leil Leibovitz’s elegant fan letter casts its net far wider than the usual rock biog. You will find as much here on the Talmud as on the NME and more about the Yom Kippur war than Glastonbury.

A tawaki or rainforest penguin. Photo: Getty
Two new poems by Clive James
By Clive James - 05 August 10:00

The author, critic and broadcaster writes two new poems - “Nature Programme” and “The Emperor’s Last Words” - exclusively for the New Statesman.

Charlie Waite and Sophie McBain's Libyan entourage. Khaled, their guide, is on the left. Photo: Charlie Waite Photography
Shooting the great sand sea: a mysterious mission across Libya
By Sophie McBain - 05 August 10:00

On the eve of revolution, Sophie McBain accompanied the photographer Charlie Waite across the North African nation. Now she tells her story.

Midnight in Paris: Le Moulin de la Galette by Picasso (1900)
Painting the town rouge: Picasso and Matisse in Paris
By Michael Prodger - 04 August 12:43

Michael Prodger reviews Sue Roe’s new book, which examines the decade between 1900 and 1910 that Montmartre rose to its rickety peak – home to every avant-garde artist of significance.

Laurie Penny and Mary Beard in Conway Hall.
VIDEO: Laurie Penny and Mary Beard discuss the public voice of women
By New Statesman - 04 August 11:56

Highlights from our Conway Hall event on 30 July 2014.

Privet hedges: one of Swift's stories, "Ajax" is concerned with fear and conformity in the English suburbs. Photo: Getty
Watching the English: Erica Wagner on Graham Swift
By Erica Wagner - 04 August 11:28

A timely collection of short stories from Swift, an author who has always held England’s landscape and England’s nature – in both senses of the word – close to his heart.