The latest on books and the arts


Ben Blow and Rowan Winter.
At the Edinburgh Fringe: Engels! The Karl Marx Story and The Confessions of Gordon Brown
By Stephen Brasher - 15 August 17:08

Karl Marx and Gordon Brown unravel on stage in two political gems at this year's Edinburgh Fringe.

Pepper Potts, in a screengrab from Iron Man 3.
I hate Strong Female Characters
By Sophia McDougall - 15 August 12:57

Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong.

Desert Island Discs: 66 years young
By Simon Parkin - 15 August 12:13

Simon Parkin looks back at 66 years of a British institution.

Verbier's 20th anniversary: a festival of encounters and collisions
By Alexandra Coghlan - 14 August 12:47

The Swiss Verbier Festival does epic, polyphonous music well - but it's real gift is for intimate chamber recitals.

Payday 2.
Heist to meet you: the compulsive thieves of gaming
By Phil Hartup - 13 August 14:58

Phil Hartup asks what makes a heist game truly great.

Jade Raymond
Jade Raymond: Triple-A videogames can still be innovative
By Alex Hern - 13 August 11:54

Alex Hern speaks to the all-star producer and lead of the upcoming Splinter Cell: Blacklist about upstart indie gamers, the polygons of emotion - and the new Spies vs Mercs mode.

Breaking Bad.
Breaking Bad series 5, episode 9: Ordinary, decent lives
By Philip Maughan - 13 August 9:30

The beginning of the end for Walter White, and Breaking Bad, is here.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist.
Do It at the Manchester Art Gallery: A perpetual exhibition, constantly regenerating itself
By En Liang Khong - 12 August 16:05

The latest reincarnation of Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s ongoing exhibition encapsulates both the allure and danger of participatory art.

Bill Shankly.
Reviews round-up
By Jonathan Brick - 12 August 15:00

The critics' verdicts on Mendelson, Hawi and Peace.

Sam Coomes of Quasi: "The internet has demystified the idea of being in a band"
By Yo Zushi - 12 August 11:35

The Quasi front man on two decades in indie rock, noise and the coming apocalypse.

An excerpt of Prophet, via
Comics review: If you like space oddities, Prophet is for you
By Cara Ellison - 10 August 12:59

Prophet volumes 1 & 2 by Brandon Graham et al is like being slingshotted through a tunnel populated with all the weird beasts of Mos Eisley whilst a rat gently knaws off your arm, says Cara Ellison.

Friday Arts Diary
By Bithia Large and Joe Collin - 09 August 12:35

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.

New Statesman
In the Frame: Some Plinth Ideas
By Tom Humberstone - 09 August 9:12

Tom Humberstone's weekly observational comic for the New Statesman.

A screengrab from Braid.
Video Games Aren't Young Any More
By Edward Smith - 09 August 8:59

It's been 41 years since <em>Pong</em>, and yet we're still at a point where we need an entire web series to explain all the ways games are sexist. Games should know better by now, says Edward Smith.

Indian woman with sari.
In The Critics this week
By Bithia Large - 08 August 17:09

David Runciman on Kennedy's last 100 days, Rachel Bowlby on the changing nature of parenthood and Rachel Cooke on the Channel 4 drama Southcliffe.

Does misogyny lie at the heart of "fake geek girl" accusations – or is it self-loathing?
By Kaite Welsh - 08 August 11:50

The men who police geek spaces are fighting a losing battle, writes Kaite Welsh.

The New York Review Abroad: A breathless journey around disparate worlds
By Tara Isabella Burton - 07 August 15:30

Tara Isabella Burton reviews a a hefty and often harrowing compendium of The New York Review’s foreign reportage over the past fifty years.

Inside the Science Museum library
Fiction Uncovered 2013 is no literary John Peel sessions
By Jonathan McAloon - 07 August 15:00

Do we need yet another self-serving literary prize list? The Fiction Uncovered 2013 list purports to give prominence to promising and innovative writers that have been overlooked elsewhere, but the many of the books it has selected are anything but, write

Review: Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
By Tara Isabella Burton - 06 August 13:47

A musical adaptation of <em>War and Peace</em> could easily have become sprawlingly shallow. But director Rachel Chavkin and writer-composer David Malloy are unafraid to let Tolstoyan complexity play out onstage.

Akala: "Hip-hop is a modern day minstrel show"
By Joe Collin - 06 August 10:00

Akala’s "Hip-Hop History Live": an exploration of black history like no other I've seen before.

Indian cricket.
Reviews round-up
By Critic - 05 August 16:00

The critics' verdicts on Wilson, Astill and Doyle.

Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi will be a Doctor of gravitas and steel
By Tom Phillips - 05 August 8:55

One of the joys of <em>Doctor Who</em> is that the actor isn’t limited by their human characteristics - Capaldi won’t have to play the Doctor as a 55-year-old man, because, you know, he isn’t.

Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi revealed as the new Doctor
By Caroline Crampton - 04 August 19:16

The name revealed on a special BBC1 announcement programme.

New Statesman
Transition: Contested landscapes in South Africa
By New Statesman - 02 August 10:34

A photography essay including work by Philippe Chancel, Raphaël Dallaporta, Pieter Hugo, Santu Mofokeng, Zanele Muholi, Jo Ractliffe, Thabiso Sekgala and Alain Willaume. Photography Editor: Rebecca McClelland.

West Bank Wall being climbed by Palestinians.
Reviews Round-up
By Critic - 30 July 7:00

The critics' verdicts on Di Cintio, Laing and Pagden.

Sonya Tamazovna, Lika Barabadze and another member of the company.
The Muteli Monologues: feminism and activism converge in Georgian theatre
By Tara Isabella Burton - 29 July 15:37

The first complete Georgian-language production of Eve Ensler's feminist performance piece <em>The Vagina Monologues</em> caused substantial controversy. Tara Isabella Burton meets two of the women behind it.

UK Uncut protest.
Left Without a Future? by Anthony Painter: astute proposals, overly "pragmatic"
By Joe Collin - 29 July 11:02

Anthony Painter’s 'Left Without A Future?' demonstrates an all too typical condemnation of “moral fervour”.

Ex Machina 50.
Brian K Vaughan: the king of "creator-owned" comics
By Alex Hern - 28 July 12:09

He rarely speaks about the ethics of working alone as against for Disney or Warner Brothers, but Brian K Vaughan's work speaks volumes about the importance of creative freedom.

New Statesman
In the Frame: Support
By Tom Humberstone - 26 July 11:33

Tom Humberstone's weekly observational comic for the New Statesman.

Mexican art
In the Critics this Week
By Joe Collin - 25 July 6:00

Birds, an exclusive short story by Hanif Kureishi, Mexican art and Elizabeth Taylor.