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Friday Arts Diary | 19 September 2014
By Esme Cargill - 19 September 12:30

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.

Emma Stone and Colin Firth.
Magic in the Moonlight: Another year, another Woody Allen mediocrity
By Ryan Gilbey - 18 September 17:50

It is astonishing, with actors as gifted as Colin Firth and Emma Stone, that Woody Allen’s latest film so badly misses the mark.

A polluted beach in Alabama during the BP oil spill disaster of 2010. Photo: Kari Goodnough/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Steven Poole on Naomi Klein: Could climate change action rejuvenate worldwide democracy?
By Steven Poole - 18 September 13:27

In her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism v the Climate, Naomi Klein provides a vividly reported and densely researched argument for how our future should look.

“The Riot Club” is based on Laura Wade’s Bullingdon Club-inspired Royal Court play “Posh”.
If only the lads of The Riot Club were a little less revolting
By Ryan Gilbey - 18 September 13:07

Lone Scherfig’s film adaptation of the 2010 play Posh feels unbalanced: we want to see a bit of naughty fun before the nastiness kicks in.

Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black in the ITV biopic.
Perky but prosaic: Sheridan Smith’s Cilla Black biopic lacks jeopardy
By Rachel Cooke - 18 September 12:51

Cilla Black’s story is not exactly on-the-edge-of-your-seat exciting, for all that she knew the Beatles.

In the Frame: Potential Distant Memories for Scotland
By Tom Humberstone - 18 September 11:58

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

A detail from Turner's “War, the Exile and the Rock Limpet”.
Mark Lawson: Turner and Constable rarely spoke to each other, but their pictures do
By Mark Lawson - 18 September 11:50

An accident of gallery scheduling means that London currently has a sort of early-19th-century chat show in which the two painters converse.

New lease of life: the Barbers Arms micropub in Wye, Kent. Photo: calflier001/Flickr
Community fixers? The mighty rise of the micropub
By Ben West - 18 September 10:00

In January 2013, there were just 15 micropubs, almost all of them in Kent. A year later, there were more than 40, spread across the country.

Women and children picking blackberries to sell to jam factories in 1943. Photo: Getty
Always mark where you find the juiciest berries
By Felicity Cloake - 18 September 9:55

Blackberries make an excellent fool and a decent autumnal replacement for summer cherries in a clafoutis, as well as a lovely fruity sauce for the first of the season’s game.

The Beyond the Fringe team, 1960: (l-r) Peter Cook, Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller, Dudley Moore. Photo: John Hedgecoe/TopFoto
From the the culturally conservative Fifties to the Swinging Harold Wilson Sixties
By Andrew Marr - 18 September 9:48

Writing the history of the recent past is not easy, but David Kynaston’s artful collage technique manages to draw us into a time that can feel like it belonged to another world.

By Simon Armitage - 18 September 9:45

A new poem by Simon Armitage.

Medieval philosopher-savant Roger Bacon. Engraving by R Cooper, print by Agidius Sadelam. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
John the Pupil by David Flusfeder: a novel of quiet suggestion and unobtrusive cleverness
By Tim Martin - 18 September 9:41

David Flusfeder’s novel John the Pupil follows three students of the medieval philosopher-savant Roger Bacon who make a secretive journey from England to the seat of the papacy at Viterbo.

Blood never lies: our fascination with forensics is fuelling the boom in cold case crime fiction
Digging up the dead: investigating the cold case crime narrative
By Leo Robson - 18 September 9:38

While the cold case thriller owes its life to new techniques such as DNA profiling and new disciplines such as forensic anthropology, the genre’s practitioners vary in their degree of commitment to these origins.

Nuns cleaning their church for Easter in Caltanissetta, Sicily. Photo: Getty
A holy mess: the ongoing sacred soap opera of Radio Maria in Sicily
By Antonia Quirke - 18 September 9:20

In southern Sicily you often hear Maria in the background in shops, like an ongoing soap opera: the live Mass from Medjugorje, where there have been apparitions of the Madonna since 1981, or the replaying of news from Radio Vaticana.

An aerial view of London at night. Photo: Getty
Will Self: If you want to see London with completely new eyes, take a night-hike out of town
By Will Self - 18 September 8:09

We sought out the high point, and there it was: the panorama we’d been seeking.