Britain’s Maddest Event

‘Burn him in a tub of tar Burn him like a blazing star Burn his body from his head Then we’ll say old Pope is dead.’ It’s almost time for the most bonkers event in the country…no, not the newly adopted US-style Hallowe’en but Guy Fawkes’ Night, and although there are no urchins on street […]

Covent Garden Turns Into Warren Street

This is the 53-foot long giant helium-filled rabbit that has appeared in Covent garden today. It’s an advertisement for the new Tate Modern show ‘Pop Life: Life In A Material World’ and is modelled on the stainless-steel Rabbit by pop artist Jeff Koons.

A Song At Sunset

Thinking further about music (I play music all day while I’m working), I suppose the third huge band in the sixties after The Beatles and the Rolling Stones was The Kinks. But Ray Davies didn’t create psychedelic, pulse-raising sounds. A humanist, he wrote about working lives with an unfashionable nostalgia that cost him a certain […]

Bloomsbury In The Country

Charleston was the home and country meeting place for the writers, painters and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Group. The interior of the house was painted by the artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, and together with their collection forms a unique example of their decorative style. Charleston runs a May festival, and also the […]

Small Wonder This Weekend

The Small Wonder Short StoryFesival is now on, and I’ll be there tomorrow trying not to get thrown out of a dirigible in the 2:00PM Great Balloon Debate. It’s at Charleston, Virginia Woolf’s beautiful abode in Sussex – for details visit here.

Having Fun With The French

“C’est en faisant n’importe quoi qu’on devient n’importe qui,” is Remy Gaillard’s motto (‘It’s by doing whatever that you become whoever’) and here are some good illustrations of that. I know he’s been around for a while but the French trickster pulls off sweet antidotes to outdated and mean-spirited counterparts like Sacha Baron-Cohen (although a […]

Exquisite Bodies on Euston Road

The anatomists of the past hired wax model makers to create disconcerting displays of the human form giving birth or eaten away with disease. The lurid lifesized models were at once both anatomy lessons, freak shows and ways of instructing the uneducated about the dangers of poor hygiene, specifically the horrors of so-called venereal diseases […]

Summer’s End: The Thames Festival

The Thames has an illustrious history of hosting pageants, and it’s good to see that this is celebrated again with the Thames Festival, although being at another event that night (also on the Thames) somehow I contrived to both be there and miss it, thanks to the convoluted way in which the river folds back […]

Are Gilbert & Sullivan Finally Dead?

Last night I was at an open-air performance of ‘The Yeomen Of The Guard’ in the moat at the Tower Of London. I thought it might be fun to see a site-specific opera that’s rarely performed now. Opera snobs loathe G&S for its stodginess (and I’ve seen some really bad productions) but the muscular energy […]