Does even he get nervous? President Obama appears on US chatshow The View. Photo: Getty
Tracey Thorn: interviews can be just as terrifying for the celebrity
By Tracey Thorn - 12 September 13:06

We don’t know what to expect: whether they want us to be garrulous or mysterious; live up to our image or confound it; be starry or down to earth.

The Big Tramp comes to London
By Alexander Woolley - 04 September 17:40

The Big Tramp, combining the literary tropes of homelessness and night-walking, will raise money for theatre company Cardboard Citizens.

Mistress of all the elements: Bush’s new stage show works stage magic as she transforms her life experience into a theatrical triumph. Photo: Ken Mckay/Rex
Tracey Thorn on Kate Bush at the Hammersmith Apollo: the ecstatic triumph of a life’s work
By Tracey Thorn - 04 September 12:02

If we still ask, where has Kate Bush been all these years and why has she not done this before, my answer would be that I think she has been living the life that made this show possible.

Ringo was the top bandmate with the other Beatles. Photo: Terry O'Neill/Getty Images
Battle of the Beatles: who was the fabbest of the four?
By New Statesman - 29 August 12:13

Four leading figures make their cases for Paul, John, George or Ringo respectively. 

Image: Jean-Pierre Degas/Hemis/Corbis
Class, commerce and pop: what the Beatles mean today
By New Statesman - 29 August 11:37

A band like the Beatles could never make it as big as they did in our era of hyper-commercialisation and Brit School elitism. 

Taylor Swift arriving at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscars Party. Photo: Getty
Taylor Swift’s success makes me hopeful for the future of humanity
By Sarah Ditum - 28 August 16:37

Poet laureate of women’s inner lives, resolute booster of the girls who love her, healthily selfish, and heartily unconcerned with what the haters think about her: we could all do well to spend a bit of time in Taylor’s world.

Get down with the common people: Annus Mirabilis, Rose Blake's tribute to Larkin and the spirit of the Sixties. © Rose Blake
From the archive: The Menace of Beatlism
By Paul Johnson - 28 August 16:32

In February 1964, then future NS editor Paul Johnson wrote an article attacking the Beatles and all they stood for. It became the most complained-about piece in the Statesman’s history.

Perfect storm: over the decade between 1960 and 1970 Ringo, John, George and Paul conjured up a rich alchemy. Photo: Getty
Come together: the collision of culture, chemistry and magic that created the Beatles
By Hunter Davies - 28 August 11:52

Fifty years since the height of their fame, the band’s legacy is more important than ever, writes authorised Beatles biographer Hunter Davies.

Screams like teen spirit: girls go wild at a Beatles concert, Christmas 1963. Photo: Sharok Hatami/Rex
Forty pairs of abandoned knickers: Maureen Lipman on the Fab Four in Hull
By Maureen Lipman - 28 August 10:00

In the second half, John Lennon stepped forward to the mike, thighs straining against his shiny and confining suit. He shook his locks, lowered his eyes and let me have it.

Beyoncé performs at the VMAs. Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images
Beyoncé’s VMA performance was feminism’s most powerful pop culture moment
By Rebecca Traister - 26 August 12:08

More and more high-profile women are embracing the language, ideas, and symbolism of feminism, and that they’re doing it from their places within the power structure, not just from outside of it.

Speech problems: Gabriel Quigley as Fiona, Scotland's new foreign minister in Spoiling, Traverse Theatre. Photo: Jeremy Abrahams
Edinburgh Fringe plays tackle Scottish independence in irreverent, tub-thumping form
By Mark Lawson - 22 August 12:13

Because the theatrical profession generally attracts more radicals than reactionaries, these performances tend to be rallies for the Yes campaign.

War and poetry: James McArdle (left) as James II
Three kings, one country: very timely plays for Scotland
By Andrew Marr - 21 August 16:49

Superbly acted, aggressively and imaginatively directed and providing great variety, these dramas will make thousands of Scots think again about their country.

Elvis Presley c.1975. Photo: Getty
In 1970’s That’s The Way It Is, you get Elvis at his artistic peak
By Bob Stanley - 19 August 16:36

With this re-release of the 1970 documentary, the question is really how many different versions of “Suspicious Minds” you want in your life.

"Rock Me a Little While" by Kim Weston, a northern soul classic. Photo: Michael Sveikutis/Flickr
Tracey Thorn: With music, we often only hear the side of the story told by men
By Tracey Thorn - 15 August 16:11

When it comes to music such as northern soul, there is a tendency to regard men as the experts, relegating women’s stories of what it felt like to be there to the status of anecdote.

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

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.

Louise Dearman, Tony Yazbeck, Alexandra Silber and Ben Davis in Kiss Me, Kate at the Proms. All photos: Chris Christodoulou
Proms 2014: the John Wilson Orchestra thrills with Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate
By Caroline Crampton - 03 August 13:11

A triumphant return to the Proms for the John Wilson Orchestra with the original 1948 version of Cole Porter's great musical.

The Bregenz Festival's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Photo © Bregenzer Festspiele/Anja Köhler
Widescreen, blockbuster Mozart at the Bregenz Festival’s The Magic Flute
By Alexandra Coghlan - 31 July 17:37

A small Austrian town tucked almost against the Swiss and German borders on the magnificent Lake Constance, Bregenz has claimed a place on the cultural map.

The artwork for Donnie and Joe Emerson's "Dreamin' Wild".
The best of happy endings: the rediscovery of Donnie and Joe Emerson’s Dreamin’ Wild
By Bob Stanley - 30 July 11:41

Two generations after their record sank without a trace, Donnie and Joe Emerson’s music has finally found the teenagers it was written for.

It’s not enough to be funny – these comedians believe comedy has to mean something. Photo: Ed Schipul/Flickr/Creative Commons
Political comedians aren’t funny any more – and that’s a good thing
By James Medd - 30 July 9:50

Feelgood gag-and-punchline stand-up is bigger than ever, but a certain stratum of comedians have already moved on to a place where the audience is laughing inside rather than out, or not at all.

The bands are talented, but the music is terrible. Photo: Getty
Proms 2014: Remembering WWI with anthems for doomed youth
By Caroline Crampton - 25 July 10:20

Disciplined it might be, but military music is awful. Luckily, there's greater depth to this season than a first glance suggests.

Fear eats the soul: cast members of The Crucible at the Old Vic. Photo: Alastair Muir/Rex
Mark Lawson: What would Arthur Miller have made of Operation Yewtree?
By Mark Lawson - 17 July 10:00

Two of the standout London productions of this year are the scorching version of The Crucible at the Old Vic and the Young Vic’s brilliant rethinking of A View from the Bridge.

Crosby, Stills and Nash (minus Young) in 1983. Photo: Getty
The long shadow of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
By Bob Stanley - 15 July 15:51

Bob Stanley takes a look at long-overdue rereleases for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Garth Brooks has cancelled five Dublin gigs in protest at a licensing dispute. Photo: Getty
Why is country star Garth Brooks cancelling five Dublin gigs causing such uproar in Ireland?
By Oliver Farry - 11 July 18:00

Ireland is currently split between people who are mortally embarrassed by the cancellation farrago and those who declare it to be of the utmost importance. What is it with the Irish and country music?

The Libertines. Photo: Getty
Are Pete Doherty and Carl Barât the last of British music’s tempestuous best friendships?
By Anoosh Chakelian - 11 July 16:38

As once estranged Libertines frontmen passionately reunite, they highlight the dearth of stormy musical partnerships in today’s music.

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