The latest on books and the arts


Valentine’s Day songs – and how to write one
By Yo Zushi - 14 February 9:11

If music is the food of love, here's your buffet and recipe book. Sam Ritchie from Sam & the Womp and Jerry David DeCicca talk to Yo Zushi in an effort to pin down what makes a great Valentine's lyric.

Reckless by William Nicholson: dropping bombshells you know are coming
By Matthew Jennings - 13 February 17:42

Reckless leaves you wanting to know what happens next, even though, with the real life events, you know the answer.

No laughing matter: King Lear at the National Theatre
By Helen Lewis - 13 February 7:24

A big production for a big theatre.

The promise and the power of the ocean, a conduit for all history
By Philip Hoare - 12 February 17:21

A history of empire and civilisation is a history of the sea.

New Statesman
Slavoj Žižek: what is an authentic political event?
By Slavoj Zizek - 12 February 15:51

Julian Assange and his collaborators enacted a true and authentic political event. But what do we mean by that, and how does it influence our actions?

"Black Dog Whelk Feeds on a Barnacle": a poem by John Wedgwood Clarke
By John Wedgwood Clarke - 12 February 10:52

Lost keys run riot between desk and pocket

leave me for dead at the door.

I won’t be sweet: there’s a hairline crack

in this sun-baked shell that’s lost all faith in the sea.

Black Dog Whelk listens through itself

and every move I fail to make,

Why is The Lego Movie pushing anti-capitalist propaganda?
By Emmett Rensin - 12 February 10:16

The villain is named Lord Business, a man who hates “hippie-dippy stuff” and thunders over Bricktown, where the workers drink Over-Priced Coffee™. No wonder Fox News declared the film “anti-capitalist”.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z snacking at Madison Square Garden in New York
I’d rather binge on booze than self-denial
By Felicity Cloake - 12 February 10:12

Please, don’t tell me about your pious dry January.

Wild at heart: Literary tigers from William Blake to Fiona McFarlane's The Night Guest
By Philip Maughan - 10 February 15:00

Like so many books about tigers, The Night Guest, by Australian first-time novelist Fiona McFarlane, is a battle to preserve the order and civility of the household from the madness and barbarity outside.

Eimear McBride shortlisted for the £40,000 Folio Prize
By Philip Maughan - 10 February 14:42

McBride is joined by US lawyer Segio De La Pava and 85-year-old OBE Jane Gardam on the Prize's inaugural shortlist.

It's great to have one woman on a TV panel show, but you need more than that
By Ed Morrish - 10 February 10:48

The head of BBC TV output has promised that there will be no more all-male panels on TV comedy shows. Ed Morrish, radio comedy producer, explains why he always tries to book more than one woman – it makes his show better.

The amazing world of “Breaking Bad” en Español
By Laura Bennett - 07 February 18:15

Behind the scenes of <em>Metástasis</em>, the Spanish-language remake of <em>Breaking Bad</em>, which is going to considerable lengths to be a different kind of show.

The Gate of Ivory: why Inside Llewyn Davis is a masterpiece
By Dorian Lynskey - 07 February 16:38

Friends who hate <em>Inside Llewyn Davis</em> complain about the tonal monotony, from the plot down to the colour palette, but it’s about the seeming impossibility of change. It looks how depression feels.

In the Frame: Punching down
By Tom Humberstone - 07 February 9:40

Tom Humberstone’s weekly observational comic for the <i>NS</i>.

A wood of one's own: Germaine Greer's mission to save the trees
By Richard Mabey - 06 February 16:14

In <em>White Beech: the Rainforest Years</em>, Germaine Greer is on a mission to save the ecology of southern Australia.

What is it like to come from an intensely musical family?
By Steven Isserlis - 06 February 14:31

Many generations of Steven Isserlis's family have been involved in making music, transported and shaped by opportunities to play. A celebrated cellist himself, he describes how closely music is connected to a happy family life.

Reviews Roundup | 6 February
By New Statesman - 06 February 9:30

The critics' verdicts on Philip Lymbery and Isabel Oakeshott, Sherill Tippins and Ray Jayawardhana.

Adam Curtis: “We don't read newspapers because the journalism is so boring”
By Rob Pollard - 04 February 12:50

An interview with Adam Curtis, producer of the BBC documentaries The Power of Nightmares and The Century of the Self.

What's behind the puritanical obsession with Jay-Z and Beyoncé's marriage?
By Justin Charity - 31 January 17:11

Their performance of “Drunk In Love” at the Grammys was undoubtedly sultry, but why does it give the media licence to speculate about “what goes on” in the couple’s own home?

In the Frame: Lord Rennard’s law of 21st-century debate
By Tom Humberstone - 31 January 9:42

Tom Humberstone’s weekly observational comic for the <i>NS</i>.

Remembering “Those Glory Glory Days” – a film that understood what football can mean to people
By Martin Cloake - 31 January 9:14

Julie Welch’s semi-autobiographical 1983 film <em>Those Glory Glory Days</em> is that rarest of things, a film about football that works.

Geoff Dyer to judge the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize
By Critic - 28 January 10:18

The prize, inaugurated in 2013 to reward "fiction at its most novel", will officially relaunch on 29 January.

Justified: What happens when you take a cop show out of the city?
By Phil Hartup - 27 January 14:54

In stepping away from established urban locales to the slightly shop-soiled countryside of Kentucky, Justified manages to change not just is aesthetic but also its characters and stories.

How many people are reading Mein Kampf in 2014?
By Adam Kirsch - 27 January 9:52

According to Time and ABC News it has rocketed up the e-book charts - but are more people reading it now than six months ago? By turning Mein Kampf into a totem of evil, we only reinforce its dark glamour.

In the Frame: I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe
By Tom Humberstone - 24 January 10:10

Tom Humberstone’s weekly observational comic for the <i>NS</i>.

Fiction can be a sharp tool for analysing how we think.
Nathan Filer: How novels can help us understand mental health
By Philip Maughan - 23 January 12:13

Costa award winning novelist Nathan Filer on his life as a mental health nurse, the location of illness and the power of fiction.

Jason Schwartzman.
Jason Schwartzman to play Philip Roth in upcoming movie - almost
By Philip Maughan - 22 January 11:48

Listen Up Philip concernes a self-involved Jewish writer, named Philip, who visits an older Jewish writer, named Ike Zimmerman, at his secluded country home.

Manon at the Royal Opera House: a voluptuous romp translated to the Belle Epoque
By Alexandra Coghlan - 20 January 15:54

Opera’s ultimate problem-child heroine returns to the Royal Opera House in a production somewhat lacking in warmth.

No, Jane Austen was not a game theorist
By William Deresiewicz - 20 January 13:42

Using science to explain art is a good way to butcher both, and is intellectually bankrupt to boot.

New Statesman
In the Frame: Dear Mr Gove
By Tom Humberstone - 17 January 10:09

Tom Humberstone’s weekly observational comic for the <i>New Statesman</i>.