The latest on books and the arts


Dystopian future: a still from Bladerunner (1982)
The Bladerunner book: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep on Radio 4
By Antonia Quirke - 04 July 16:00

Jonathan Holloway’s adaptation rightly cherished many things that the film ultimately minimised, in particular the novel’s mourning of the extinction of various animal species.

World food cup: a stallholder at Sao Paulo’s Mercado Municipal, June 22. Photo: Getty
Felicity Cloake: Brazilian cuisine is the original fusion food
By Felicity Cloake - 04 July 15:03

Nigerian peanut sauces, Japanese pastries and German sausages, Portuguese salt cod and an Amazonian duck dish made with the cyanide-laced juice of the wild cassava root.

Ball boys: players from the French and Irish rugby union teams chat in the locker room. Photo: Getty
Will Self: If you want to be in a naked throng, the changing room still rules
By Will Self - 04 July 14:37

Gay or straight, fat or thin, smooth or hairy, old or young: it seems entirely arbitrary as to whether a given man struts brazenly across the tiles, or cowers in the corners.

An installation at the Channel 4 building in London. Photo: Oli Scarff, Getty Images
The Secret Life of Students: a Channel 4 documentary or an episode of Jeremy Kyle?
By Beth Lambert - 04 July 12:49

Channel 4's new documentary series The Secret Life of Students once again fits into their trend of perpetuating stereotypes and vilifying social groups. 

In the Frame: Augmented Summer
By Tom Humberstone - 04 July 12:10

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Boys' done good: Jack Wilshere and Frank Lampard of the England team after the Costa Rica game, 24 June. Photo: Getty
Why we should actually be proud of England’s World Cup performance
By Hunter Davies - 04 July 11:12

I am honestly and truly now coming to the conclusion that England did astonishingly well. In fact, they overachieved. 

Emma Rigby in Ripper Street. Photo: BBC
Enough is enough: from TV’s “crime porn” to endemic violence, the assault on women has to stop
By Doon Mackichan - 04 July 10:26

Violent images of women onscreen fuel violence against women in society. Actress Doon Mackichan explains why she now has a zero-tolerance policy on taking part in any storylines that use violence against women as entertainment.

A toxic reputation: Margot Asquith’s Great War Diary
By Simon Heffer - 04 July 10:00

One has the impression that the war was a prolonged drama for which she was a critic sitting in the audience. She certainly doesn’t seem to understand what part she was expected to play in it.

Orange squash: Ron Vlaar and Andrés Guardado during the Netherlands v Mexico match, 29 June. Photo: Getty
This is Fifa-land: colourful, attractive spectators in team shirts playing by the rules
By Jonathan Wilson - 03 July 17:35

There is a set way to behave. Team shirts and face paint have become de rigueur, while Mexican waves now interrupt the view of anybody trying to watch the football with irritating regularity. 

Blessed are the cheese joke makers! The Pythons reunite on stage. Image: Alamy
Everyone expects the Spanish Inquisition: Monty Python and their loyal superfans
By Mark Lawson - 03 July 17:08

While it’s generous and sensible to give the fans what they want, the familiarity of the material starts to feel weird.

Down at the bottom of the garden: visitors inside a garden shed on show at the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show. Photo: Getty
Tracey Thorn: gardening porn vs reality and the pampas grass swingers’ code
By Tracey Thorn - 03 July 17:00

Given we had bought the house from friends, I consigned the pampas “fact” to a small compartment at the back of my mind…

Sad-eyed lady: Maggie Gyllenhaal as Nessa Stein
A walking target: The Honourable Woman on BBC2
By Rachel Cooke - 03 July 15:54

Nothing on telly is going to be this good for some time to come.

Darth Vader.
Jon Spira's Elstree 1976: memorialising the unseen performers in the first Star Wars
By Ryan Gilbey - 03 July 13:06

Jon Spira's forthcoming documentary Elstree 1976 focuses on the Star Wars cast members time forgot: from voice-artists to extras and wookiees.

Holy water: these talismanic bottles are thought to have been made by Irish Catholics
Gods in bottles and concrete crocodiles: British Folk Art at Tate Britain
By Philip Hoare - 03 July 11:05

This stuff is beyond classification; that is part of its appeal. It is Britain’s feral past.

Mind games: an image from Rob Davis's graphic novel The Complete Don Quixote
Hedgehog versus fox: how do we tell the story of the novel?
By Leo Robson - 03 July 10:34

Three critics attempt to make make sense of the slippery lifespan of the realist novel, with occasionally illuminating and often chaotic results.

Sightless witness: British troops blinded by mustard gas in the German spring offensive. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty
Simon Heffer: First World War, the battle of the historians
By Simon Heffer - 03 July 10:00

From almost the opening shot, the Great War has been fought over by historians wishing to interpret and understand what happened and why. Their conflict is not over yet.

Back to a friend that longs to grip your hand: a 1916 postcard to be sent to soldiers serving on the front. Photo: Getty
“We are a long way from Blighty here”: letters home from the trenches
By Lucy Fisher - 03 July 10:00

I discovered a box of wartime correspondence among some family papers this year, from my grandfather’s first cousin Walter Brabyn, a teenage soldier, to his parents and sister.

The NS First World War poems: Edward Thomas and Robert Graves
By Edward Thomas and Robert Graves - 03 July 10:00

Two poems by the First World War poets both appeared in the pages of the New Statesman – the first in June 1918, the second March 1919.

The First World War: Battle of the books
By New Statesman - 03 July 10:00

The centenary of the outbreak of hostilities has mobilised both historians and publishers.

The NS First World War poems: Siegfried Sassoon
By Siegfried Sassoon - 03 July 10:00

Sassoon (or “Sashûn”, as he signed himself here) was one of only a handful of Great War poets who survived the fighting. This poem was first published in the New Statesman of 22 May 1926.

It's Grim Up North: Newcastle's Tyne Bridge in 1928
When it comes to arts spending, it’s London vs the rest of the UK
By Beth Lambert - 02 July 18:33

In the latest arts budget, 47 per cent of spending will go to London-based organisations – why does the capital’s cultural excellence have to come at the expense of projects everywhere else?

Gruff Rhys at the Barbican.
Reviews round-up | 1 July
By Critic - 01 July 17:00

The critics’ verdicts on Tristram Hunt, Gruff Rhys and Leslie Jamison.

Jewish and German: Frontkämpfer Lustig
First World War: the losers’ viewpoint
By Robin Lustig - 01 July 10:00

Robin Lustig’s grandfather, a non-practising Jew, fought for Germany during WWI. By 1943 he had no reason to feel sympathy for the country but his cool appraisal of what had led to the earlier conflict is remarkable.

A view of the Seven Sisters cliffs from Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex, 1950s. Photo: Getty
Dwarf rabbits, bee stings and inflamed buttocks: In the Approaches by Nicola Barker
By Frances Wilson - 28 June 10:00

The scene is set in 1984 but  it could be any time between 1934 and 2014 in this backwater of the East Sussex coastline far from Thatcher’s Britain.

Promo sample from Ben Westwood's Clint Eastwood-inspired collection. Photo: Rodney Westwood
Ben Westwood recruits Julian Assange to model his latest fashion collection
By Daisy Lafarge - 27 June 13:19

Dame Vivienne's son will give the Wikileaks founder his modelling debut.

“Keep Calm and Carry On” conquered the world, but it was too mundane for World War II
By Henry Irving - 27 June 12:01

Designed on this day 75 years ago, the iconic poster was surprisingly not seen in public until 2001.

How now: cows in the Cotswold Hills. Photo: Getty
Through my Window with Laurie Lee
By Antonia Quirke - 27 June 11:40

A 1981 archive recording of the Cider With Rosie author looking at the view from his study in Slad, Gloucestershire.

In the Frame: The Politicians-Trying-To-Pass-As-Human Cup
By Tom Humberstone - 27 June 10:45

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Making the cut: Viv Albertine, Ari Up and Tessa Pollitt of the Slits in 1981
Punk survivor: Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys by Viv Albertine
By Tracey Thorn - 26 June 17:00

With their backcombed hair, dreads, tutus, ripped tights and Doc Martens, the Slits were the most anarchic and badly behaved band on the “White Riot” tour. 

The Golden Dream.
The Golden Dream by Diego Quemada-Díez: Freedom pass
By Ryan Gilbey - 26 June 15:30

Four young teenagers face violence and desperation on the road to California in this modern road movie with clear echoes of John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath and Michael Winterbottom’s In This World.