Monthly Archives: January 2016

We Pay To Use The Roads – Should We Pay To See Art?

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Remember the notorious V&A ad that said ‘An ace caff with quite a nice museum attached’? Last week I ran a piece on my dispiriting trip to the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, now little more than a children’s playground (including a fairground ‘simulator’ ride) with a few nice bits attached, and apparently – I can’t […]

Has The Horror Film Gone For Good?

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The genres of most future films were firmly established when film was in its infancy. Of those, SF eventually came to the fore (albeit in a watered down version of its literary antecedents), the musical and the western both went away, crime moved to television and comedy was reduced to pubescent smut, an Apatow/Stiller format set […]

How We See Ourselves

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The story so far; freelance photographer Joel Goodman had a picture published on the Manchester Evening News website of New Year’s Eve revelries. It got picked up virally and flashed around the globe after someone spotted that it seemed rather like an old master, conforming to the Fibonacci Spiral or ‘Golden Ratio’, a pattern occurring […]

Farewell To A Hero

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We can be heroes just for one day? He was that for much, much longer – someone who was always there, and he’s died too young. The spot in Heddon Street where he was photographed for this album sleeve now has a plaque – and here’s a remix from the title track of a lesser-known […]

The First Schoolboy Hero

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The heroic English schoolboy is an archetype that has survived for two centuries, finding its most recent incarnation in the form of Harry Potter, a perfectly adequate avatar for a generation of middle-class children who wanted stories set in a rigorously ordered society of loyalties and hierarchies. But the story of the English schoolboy goes […]

Why Don’t Voters Choose The Best?

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As a long-term member of the British Film Academy I applaud its rigorous voting system, which I think works fairly for everyone, but it doesn’t mean that I always agree with the members’ choice. I’m staggered that the distinctly average ‘Bridge of Spies’ comes out top of this year’s nominations, just as I’m shocked by […]

History’s Greatest Witness Gets Interactive

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There’s that dread word again – interactive – and this time its victim is poor old Samuel Pepys. There’s a tendency to think of London’s great diarist as a dull man living in interesting times, but this is not actually the case. It’s the description of all those dinners that have left this impression, and […]

Making Art Just Got Cheaper

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The film ‘Tangerine’, which is now in the frontline of Oscar hopefuls and on many a critic’s list this year, was shot on the fly without permits or even most people’s knowledge that it was happening. But more than that, it was made entirely on three old Apple iPhone 5s (second hand ones cost around […]

Listen To A 1960s Wonderland

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  With the 150 year anniversary of ‘Alice In Wonderland’ there’s been a lot of renewed interest in Lewis Carroll’s nonsense book this year. ‘wonder.land’ at the National Theatre is the latest updated incarnation of the Alice story, although – like the rest of the National’s winter season – it has proved a less than […]

The ‘Wobbly Grid’: Why London Streets Are So Tricky

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When you see London from the air the first thing you notice is the Thames. The slate roof houses and backstreets echo the swerving shape of the river. The film ‘This Happy Breed’ is set in Battersea between the wars, and shows off London’s road layouts well. But why do they look like so distinctive? The […]