Saturday 21 April 2012

The ultimate take on pop culture

Polyphonia/Sweet Violets/Carbon Life, Royal Opera House, London

If you believe the Royal Opera House is the palladium of ballet, this Wheeldon, Scarlett, McGregor triple bill is bound to prove you wrong. As diverse as the audience watching it, the show that opened in Covent Garden on 5 April 2012 demonstrates how resourceful the Royal Ballet programming has become and how moldable its dancers are.

The night opens with a revival of ‘Polyphonia’, originally created by Christopher Wheeldon for New York City Ballet in 2001. With its neat lines and evocative shapes, ‘Polyphonia’ exudes Wheeldon’s signature style all along. The reassuring symmetries and balanced patterns in the choreography create a luring contrast with the haunting music by György Ligeti, which many would recognise from the piano sequence Stanley Kubrick chose as the eerie soundtrack to his 1999 thriller Eyes Wide Shut. If a flaw had to be found in such a refined architecture of bodies in motion, it would be the execution. Several days after the opening night, the performance was still not as spotless as one might expect from the Royal Ballet and it looked as though it had not been rehearsed enough.

Following Wheeldon’s abstract piece, a complete change of scene is conjured up by Liam Scarlett’s ‘Sweet Violets’. A narrative ballet revolving around the obsession of artist Walter Sickert with Jack the Ripper’s murders, Scarlett’s work looks more traditional and less daring than one might expect from a 25-year-old choreographer on the rise. However, the complexity of the plot and the ingenious designs counteract the safe choice of the format.

As events unfold and characters swoon into a gloomy world of murder, sex and insanity, it becomes at times hard for the audience to grasp hints that are key to the storyline. At the same time, eyes are hypnotically entertained by John McFarlane’s highly graphic settings. Shadows are cast on sinisterly high walls whilst bed sheets are transformed into fetishes of insanity or backdrops to murder. At some point, the viewers’ perspective is even relocated to the backstage of a vaudeville theatre, allowing the audience to peep into the performance of enticing ballerinas clad in blood-evoking red costumes. What ultimately invigorates ‘Sweet Violets’ is the dancers’ vivid interpretation of the characters. Particularly stunning is Laura Morera in the role of deranged and miserable Annie Crook.

The evening closes with a bombshell: ‘Carbon Life’. Although Wayne McGregor can always be trusted to bring thought-provoking performances to the stage of the Royal Opera House, this collaboration with musicians Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt was undoubtedly beyond any prediction. McGregor’s pieces are known for overpowering the audience but, if the works he created so far for the Royal Ballet were oozing with energy, ‘Carbon Life’ bursts with it.

Inspired by pop culture, this piece showcases McGregor’s distinctive limbs-stretching and boundary-pushing choreographic language set to a brand new context. Guest artists including 1980s blue-eyed soul icon Boy George and American rapper Black Cobain, perform on stage alongside the dancers and in perfect synergy with them. Gareth Plugh with his Bauhaus-reminiscent costumes and Lucy Carter with her brilliant as ever lighting, complete the roster of high-caliber professionals involved in this project. It’s a spirit that recalls the artistic circle of Sergei Diaghilev who gathered under his creative leadership talents from multiple art forms, such as Stravinsky and Picasso, to create the magnificent and provocative performances of the Ballets Russes.

As an exhilarating music fills the theatre, it often distracts the beholder from the choreography itself but does not take away from it. In fact, it is clear that McGregor does not intend to put the different elements of his piece in competition with each other; he simply gives the audience the chance to keep a dynamic focus of attention on the performance, which is also key to nurture a strong engagement with it. Above all, the bodies still remain the backbone of the piece and some performances like the sensually obsessive duet between Sarah Lamb and Edward Watson and the hyper fast solo by Steven McRae, are indeed jaw-dropping.

‘Carbon Life’ is the ultimate take on pop culture. If there is an artist who should be called contemporary, that is Wayne McGregor.


Till 23 April 2012


Dance

Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

Permanent psychological damage

Big and Small (Gross and Klein), Barbican, London

Perched on something that resembles a massive window frame, Lotte (Cate Blanchett) eavesdrops on a pseudo philosophical conversation between two shadowy figures. She has no idea what they are talking about but is absolutely transfixed. She is on holiday but prefers hanging out, alone, in the hotel lobby. Lotte is a woman absorbed by life’s every little twitch and tremor, who longs to be involved, yet always seems apart from everything and everyone.

And so the scene is set for Botho Strauss’ surreal 1978 play, Big and Small, an intriguing glimpse at a lady hovering on the edge of life, trying to claw her way back in. The first half is a swift but careful stream of odd, jaunty images. We are shown a husband and wife, carrying out a brittle argument, after the wife catches her husband ‘spying’ on her sleeping self;  ‘This will cause permanent, psychological damage’. Their dialogue gleams with the type of sharp hatred, carved out by years of unhappiness. And yet, despite all this emotional emptiness, this is the scene that lonely Lotte tries to invade.

Cate Blanchett is an incredible force on stage and the production would be so much less without her. She manages to make her character, Lotte (wearing pastel pink, Alice in Wonderland-themed costumes), both bafflingly innocent and wearingly knowing. She instils her character with real emotional honesty, despite the surreal sheen of the director Benedict Andrews’ world. She keeps the play human and adds great warmth and energy to a potentially sterile production.   

Blanchett’s Lotte skips onwards, utterly unfazed by her warped surroundings. She walks through a door – isolated (even the walls cannot connect with each other) – and is perpetually accosted by topsy turvy images: a tent lunges at her, an old woman – her bra hanging out – is massaged by her husband and a huge lady, shoots up. Each snapshot suggests a world in which the senses have been skewed; why is that tent moving by itself, why are that old couple behaving like young lovers and why is the junky so damn big?

These unsettling encounters come to a head with a memorable, central scene. Lotte goes off in search of her best friend and tracks down her building. Designer, Johannes Schutz, nails the emotional context of this scene with his stark visuals. The best friend’s building is represented by a thin but looming wall, on which a door and intercom system is placed. Lotte slowly works her way through the buzzers, attempting to track down her friend and encountering all sorts of crusty, sleazy folks along the way. Soon enough, that thin wall is bursting with ugly, hidden life. When Lotte is finally let inside by her friend, only to be spat out again moments later, it feels like she’s just crept into the jaws of Hell.

The play does drop in the second half, as it tries too hard to hammer home its ideas. Martin Crimp’s translation is thankfully clipped and dry but even he cannot elegantly side step some particularly clunky statements. There is an especially jarring moment at the end – which stamps the mystery right out of things – when Lotte is left waiting in line, as everyone else is shown inside. An official approaches her: ‘Wasn’t your name called?’ ‘I’m just here,’ comes back Lottie’s gratingly existentialist reply.


Till 29 April 2012


Theatre

Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

‘There have been fights in here’

30 Cecil Street, Forest Fringe at the Gate Theatre, London

An old-school tape player crackles in a half-light, snatches of conversation tumbling out. The stage is bare but the thick mumbling from the recording fills the stage with rich, if not slightly removed, life. After some time, Dan Canham walks onto the empty stage, carefully places down a chair and sits down. He smiles. He is home again.

Home, in 30 Cecil Street, is the Limerick Athenaeum in Ireland - a once vibrant theatre, now abandoned and decaying. Canham’s show is an attempt to resurrect this crumbling theatre. Whilst Tassos Stevens (another Forest Fringe performer) practically bathes in language, swimming around in its murky waters, Canham is completely silent. He lets his body – particularly his arms and the most expressive fingers I have ever seen – tell his story.

Canham prowls, thoughtfully, around the stage, placing scraps of masking tape on the floor and across the walls, as stolen conversations rumble around him. A blueprint of the theatre gradually emerges, breaking up the space into three distinct areas. Now all that is needed, is to colour in between those white lines: that’s where the dancing comes in.

The walking develops into more sophisticated movements, consistently in synch with the recorded sounds. Although Canham dances with exquisite precision, he also seems out of control. It’s as if his body is somehow outside of him; an external governing force, controlling Canham’s every move. Most of the energy comes from Canham’s arms, hands and fingers, which persistently drag him backwards. It feels like Canham’s body is trying to transport his brain to a place in the past, to which he’s not entirely sure he wants to return. 

As Canham weaves around the stage, the individual areas become more defined. He stumbles down some ‘stairs’ (a few lines of masking tape) and his body is suddenly beating hard, as drum and bass blares out. ‘There have been fights in here,’ say the invisible inhabitants and Canham’s body jolts in reply. Canham’s routine reacts to each of these new spaces and is a patchwork of distinct dancing styles, stitched together with meticulous skills. It’s as if all the ex-performers and spectators at the Limerick Athenaeum are jostling for position, wriggling around in Canham and, one by one, exploding into being.

Canham’s body is allowed to relax just once and become itself again. The soundtrack finally settles and an extended song is played - a beautiful tenor solo – and Canham’s body finally breathes, moves and dances for itself. It’s as if Canham’s careful reconstruction has really worked and he has progressed from not only remembering past performances but performing something new, of his own, in this new, miraculously restored theatre.


Forest Fringe 2012 is now finished.


Theatre

Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

A pathetic little word

Jimmy Stewart, An Anthropologist from Mars, Analyses Love and Happiness in Humans (And Rabbits), Forest Fringe at the Gate Theatre, London

Love. Love changes everything. Especially when you’ve fallen out of love, or someone has fallen out of love with you. Love – or a lack of love - can make you feel like you’re from another planet, like rabbits are human and humans are water. Love can even make you feel like you’re Jimmy Stewart, beamed in from out of Mars, on a mission to decipher human emotion. That, at least, is the premise of Tassos Stevens’ show, which might have a bloody complicated title but is, in reality, a beautiful, simple, head scratching, heart bleeding exploration of the impact and meaning of love.

Alongside this exploration of love is, perhaps inevitably, an examination of the ambiguity of language. Tassos Stevens is a storyteller and, as he narrates the tale of Jimmy wandering across the earth and wondering about human feeling, he uses every opportunity he can to crack open the concept of love and examine its individual parts. In building up Jimmy’s Stewart’s anthropological adventure, Stevens cleverly (but always endearingly – never pretentiously) de-constructs the concept of love.

Stevens does this in many different ways. His script is peppered with hackneyed phrase from popular love songs, all of which interrupt his thoughtful and organic script with a strange thud. He might be elegantly exploring the idea of love and rhythm, when a familiar phrase – such as ‘the power of love’ – might muscle its way into the script. It’s odd to think of the effect these phrases have on us. They feel obvious. They feel crude. They feel false. They don’t really mean anything. With these tiny slips, the idea of the redundancy of language – its tired potential to express a constantly evolving emotion – subtly slips into the script.

But it isn’t just through subtle dramaturgical effects, that Stevens examines the limitation and the power of the word love. He also tackles the idea head on. Although this story is supposedly told in the third person, great swathes are addressed directly to the audience and it’s only with a final phrase – ‘Said Jimmy Stewart’ – that we realise, with a jolt, these words are supposedly not Stevens’ own. But Stevens with-holds this final phrase for a reason and, for much of the time, it feels he is talking directly to us, directly from his heart.

And so, Stevens talks to us of the strange vulnerability of that word love and its ability to change radically, if conjoined – or separated from – another word. He examines the awesome power of the preposition, ‘in’, and the idea that once this tiny word is cruelly detached from the word ‘love’, all that happiness and trust and hope turns to dust. It is such an incredible, baffling thought and does indeed, as Stevens’ outer planet context suggests, make us humans seem almost alien. How can we be swayed and destroyed by one tiny little preposition? How can our lives turn on such a pathetic little word?

Stevens thickens up his examination of love and language, with the use of a ‘synaesthetic sound system’. This is, in reality, an A3 pad on which sound effects are written. Again, this simple device cleverly un-picks language’s strange quirks. See the phrase ‘a startled dog’, written on its own, and an image of a surprised puppy might flash through your brain. But, see the phrase, ‘a breeze of wind, like a startled dog’, flashed up on a ‘synaesthetic sound system’ and these words congeal brilliantly, the image of the puppy dissolved but a wonderfully complex, credible sound filling your ears. It’s a clever tactic, this silent sound system, as it not only plays on the susceptibility of language, but also encourages the audience to help craft this story. It’s as if we’re all sketching a vivid, sprawling comic book together.

Sometimes, Stevens writes incredibly stark phrases on his A3 pad: ‘Too bright…Burning…In flames.’ These pared down phrases accompany pivotal moments in the script, such as when Jimmy Stewart gets a little glimpse at exactly what love is. They’re like Stevens’ lighting system, shining a spotlight on a particularly significant moment.

Stevens also uses his audience to great effect. At one point, paper and pen are passed around the crowd, and we’re all asked to scribble down what love means to us. Everyone does so eagerly. The funny things is, despite everything this show has told us – how slippery that word is and how transient – we all think we know what love means. The slips of paper are collected and Stevens is left with a hat-full of interpretations, which he reads out, with respect. Each offering rings true but there’s one that sticks out, and chimes with this honest and falteringly optimistic show: ‘I wish I knew.’


Forest Fringe is now finished.


Theatre

Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

Monday 9 April 2012

CW editorial note - 9 April 2012

Why books matter

Why books matter

This week on CW, Nicky Charlish reviews the Reading Agency’s Library Book, and argues that the case for libraries must rest on the importance of books and learning. Sam Burt reviews Niall Ferguson’s recent TV series China: Triumph and Turmoil and finds it lacking in imagination. And in London theatre, Miriam Gillinson reviews Vera, Vera, Vera at the Royal Court, The Duchess of Malfi at the Old Vic and Made Up at Soho Theatre.

9 April 2012


Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

A saggy miracle

Made Up, Soho Theatre, London

Improvised shows normally include and cater to people with short attention spans. While they’re often great fun (the theatrical equivalent of strapping yourself into a low-level electric chair), they rarely leave a lasting impression. But Cartoon de Salvo, who celebrate their 15th birthday this year, are playing the improvisational long game. They aren’t interested in quick-fire gags and instead create sustained, improvised plays, kick-started by just one cue from the audience. It is a brave and rewarding approach, but, as impressively substantial as this improv show might be, it sure does sag in places.

There’s only so long a purely improvised piece can sustain itself and, running at over an hour and half, this show is much too long. Such a lengthy running time would stretch even a talented playwright, who has the luxury of rewrites – and it certainly over-stretches this plucky trio of actors. Lapses inevitably occur. The gang return, too often, to dull sketches and dud characters and spend far too much time scrabbling about for a worthwhile or ‘tidy’ conclusion.

Still, I saw Made Up on its very first night, so hopefully the show will be ruthlessly cut and reined in. ’Made Up, made tighter, would be a fine show indeed. Cartoon de Salvo’s dedicated and thoughtful approach to improvisational comedy allows the actors to settle into their roles and flesh out the context. It means we aren’t just watching reactive acting but substantial, albeit parodied, performances, playing against a nicely textured backdrop. It also means that, by the end of the show, the stage is heaving with an extraordinary range of characters, as the actors hop about the stage, literally jumping from one role to the next.

The trio - Brian Logan, Alex Murdoch and Neil Haigh - also makes clever, comical use of their own limitations. Often, the most pathetic, ant-climatic lines are the funniest. It is the pause, as an actor attempts to summon up a sharp quip and finds himself wanting, that creates the biggest laughs. ‘I am … a war machine’ certainly wouldn’t be a classic line in a scripted play but the contrast between the pure effort etched on Haigh’s face, and the banality of his eventual effort, is comic gold.

The gang also trust each other implicitly, despite the fact they constantly – and consciously – trip each other up. Much of the joy comes from watching one actor throw the other to the wolves; ‘I can’t wait for you to tell me lots of details...’ All this witty camaraderie is enhanced by onstage band, the Adventurists, who seamlessly integrate themselves into the show. They pick up the slack when the drama gets saggy, playfully coax the actors into performing songs and amplify the atmosphere. That is the equivalent of six people wordlessly writing a play together, which is nothing short of a miracle. 


Till 21 April 2012


Theatre

Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

‘They’ll expect everyone to work as hard as they do.’

China: Triumph and Turmoil, Channel 4 television, March 2012

The most insightful documentaries about China’s journey through the 20th century were all made before the 2008 Olympic Games, before China was called upon to bail out tottering Western financial institutions, and even before China joined the World Trade Organisation - in short, before China mattered so much to the rest of us. A year on from the centenary of China’s 1911 revolution, the British viewing public is overdue a thoughtful and comprehensive reflection on how much China has been transformed since the dynastic era drew to a close. China: Triumph and Turmoil was, unfortunately, not it.

In the first two programmes – ‘Emperors’ and ‘Comrades’ – Professor Niall Ferguson provided a sketchy, selective overview of China’s history from the late Imperial era to the post-Mao ‘Reform Era’. As so often with accounts of the People’s Republic under Mao, the programme avoided the most interesting problems, such as understanding the reasons why so many people supported policies which seem demented and monstrous. For no apparent reason, the second programme also devoted a lot of time to contemporary displays of ‘Maostalgia’ without any serious examination of how it is being fuelled by factional manoeuvring within the upper echelons of the Communist Party (CPC). In taking this approach, Ferguson was able to frame these ‘revivalist’ activities as symbolising Chinese people’s habit of unquestioning loyalty to their rulers, rather than considering the possibility that participating in factional dynamics might represent a bold political statement and an implicit recognition that the CPC is not a monolith – just as these sorts of activities did during the Cultural Revolution.

The third programme – ‘Superpower’ – dealt with some of the most widely-discussed issues in China today: the huge ‘floating’ migrant population; nationalist youth groups such as ‘Anti-CNN’ and the Red China Alliance; China’s role in Africa; and China’s high-end technology industries. Ferguson neatly outlined the central dilemma facing Chinese policymakers – that all the talk is of China’s economic growth rate declining from the double-digit rates it has sustained for decades, at a time when there are already far too few jobs relative to the working-age population. As he sought to describe the scene from the vantage-point of China’s leaders, economic growth tends to create new problems even as it solves old ones. In other words, slower growth could give short-term hardships an air of permanence, and turn the rising tide of routine social disturbances in China into something resembling a large-scale organised opposition to CPC rule. These were acute observations,

The most problematic aspect of the series was Ferguson’s habit of simply inferring politics from culture, and culture from history. His central argument concerning the relevance of China’s past to China’s present and future, appears to run as follows: for almost all of human history, a nation as large and diverse (ethnically and linguistically) as China could only exist under a centralised and authoritarian state; a drawback of this political arrangement was that whenever effective authority weakened, social ‘chaos’ (donggluan) would erupt with devastating consequences, as people fought fiercely to re-establish an effective authority; up to modern times this has inculcated a fear for the breakdown of social order such that Chinese people will not respond to greater personal freedoms and material prosperity in the same way that other people would – they will continue to be far more cautious about directly challenging the Party’s monopoly on governing power.

Therefore, in Ferguson’s view, as long as the CPC can maintain a semblance of social stability, the factors that have given China its competitive edge in the global economy are not short-term phenomena. The average wages of Chinese workers may start rising as Chinese manufacturing gets upskilled, but the Chinese economy will always be a few steps ahead of its major rivals, simply because Chinese people are more willing than their major rivals to do the same work for lower pay, move house or change job for strategic development, and so on.

It is not hard to foresee the destination of Ferguson’s train of thought (though he does not lay it out in detail in this particular series). If the aforementioned cultural factors driving China’s unprecedented dynamism are expected to persist (even, perhaps, as China’s political system makes long overdue steps towards greater participation and accountability), then the developed nations will have to rise to the challenge. But lacking China’s supposedly deep-rooted and uniquely deferential political culture, Westerners may need some blunt guidance from the state to meet the China threat.

This kind of agenda doesn’t just cover cutting red tape and improving schools – it also means further encroachments on the rights of organised labour. Ferguson speculates that the exploitation of some workers in some of the African states where branches of Chinese multinational companies are operating is a harbinger of how China will treat the developed world in future decades – essentially, we can expect to be paid a Chinese wage for working Chinese hours.

Ferguson’s familiar political agenda of ‘free market, strong state’ thus dovetails nicely with his rather static view of political culture as the determinant of Chinese society-state relations. And yet a moment’s reflection on the arguments he presents over the course of this series reveals just how unnecessarily confined are the horizons of this historian’s gaze when he looks to the future. If we instead consider how people themselves make their culture, and how people can be made aware of this fact – of what Raymond Williams described as the ‘ordinariness’ of culture – through political action, then the open-ended trajectory of Chinese attitudes towards the state is more apparent. On this point, it is worth noting how briefly Ferguson deals with the ‘May Fourth’ Movement of 1918, an iconoclastic and modernist cultural renaissance that grew out of disillusionment with the young Republic.

Once the concept of culture is uprooted from its supposed seedbed of ethnicity, there is space for matters of class to breathe. If projecting ahead from present trends really does imply ‘turmoil’ alongside ‘triumph’, with China’s rise having levelling effects elsewhere in the world, in pay, continuing austerity, and working conditions, then why not change present trends? Why don’t exploited peoples work together across borders and cultures to ensure that all have fair chances to benefit from the proceeds of global growth? There has been an international working-class movement with the potential to bring about revolutionary change in the past – why assume that no such agency for social change could exist in the future?

In sum, ‘China: Triumph and Turmoil’ was an opportunity missed. Ferguson makes a misguided attempt to apply his usual techniques of broad-brush historical analogy to analyse a country unique for its cultural continuity. The result is that epochal shifts in Chinese thought are obscured by the standard trope that the men running China today are basically the same as the emperors of Imperial China – and, deep down, the Chinese people are basically the same as the fractious, centrifugal but deferential subjects of the emperors.


China: Triumph and Turmoil is available to watch online at 4OD.


Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

Libraries: the case for books

The Library Book, edited by Rebecca Gray (Profile Books 2012)

We’re warned to never judge a book by its cover. But when we see one that has a design showing rows of books with authors such as Alan Bennett, Caitlin Moran, Stephen Fry and Lionel Shriver on their spines, that’s exactly what we are going to do. Because we’ll expect it to be full of good stuff, especially when it’s accompanied by a quote from Bennett saying that a library is a haven. Will the content here live up to our expectations, or will we be disappointed?

In this book, published in support of the Reading Agency (an independent charity, funded by
the Arts Council, which specialises in helping libraries make more social impact) 23 writers tell us why public libraries matter. They do so against a background of library cuts (and dumbed-down education - more of this later). And they not only make out a good case for libraries but also for reading itself — a wise move, given the dislike expressed in some quarters about ‘privileging’ the book over other sources of information.

Stephen Fry explains how his appetite for knowledge and reading enabled him to discover that great writers were to be ‘embraced and befriended’, and that reading also helped him to acknowledge the ‘dark blessing’ of his own sexuality. But he adds a warning — which he applies to gay youths but which is relevant across the board — that the internet age may result in people not seeking knowledge from the ‘magical municipal labyrinths’ of public libraries. Karin Slaughter writes of childhood reading that it gives children knowledge that there is a world outside themselves, and that reading helps people to develops cognitive skills: ‘lt [reading] trains your mind to question what you are told… lt’s why girls in developing countries have acid thrown in their faces going to school.’

For many poor children, libraries are havens where they can study or do their homework: libraries are a necessity. Val McDermid, coming from a working-class background, explains that she wouldn’t be a writer if it were not for libraries, and charts her own exploration of children’s books and crime fiction. Bali Rai reminds us that technology wouldn’t exist without books and libraries, whilst Lucy Mangan gives light-hearted expression to rules —such as surrendering mobile phones — for her imaginary library.

Despite all these good things springing from this book’s contributors, however, they have addressed only scantily — if at all — three critical issues concerning library usage. Julian Barnes writes of a dystopian future England, where all forms of information are available digitally, libraries suffer mass closures and it’s proposed that the word ‘book’ be withdrawn from public discourse. But — unintentionally or otherwise - governments may have found a more effective means of stifling reading: the introduction of modern educational standards which have led — arguably — to the possible death of the reading habit.

Until, say, twenty years ago, many children from book-deprived backgrounds — and who were lucky enough to end up in either state grammars schools or the better comprehensives — had to read extensively in order to pass exacting exams before they could either to go university or get a job which needed a rigorous standard of education. In turn, they passed the reading habit on to their children. But in today’s ‘all must have prizes’ educational climate, no-one must be allowed to fail, so exams are passed with the click of a mouse or the tick of a box. Academic rigour is no longer required, and rigorous reading becomes a casualty.

‘Click-and-tick’ students are shocked when, arriving at ‘uni’, they find that they are expected to read complete books from cover to cover. And why shouldn’t they be? As far as they’re concerned, tertiary education is just another stepping-stone to getting a well-paid job, and nothing more. If they buckle-down to hard studying they might become devoted readers and go on to enthuse their children about the written word, but there’s no certainty of this. (Michael Gove’s educational reforms may, if implemented, encourage a higher standard of literacy, but he has decades of entrenched educational policies — with dogged defenders —to combat.)

The second issue is image. Reading is a solitary affair. So is surfing the Internet, but that has a cool, geeky glamour about it. But reading, on the other hand, summons-up that modern bogeyman, the loner. In the public imagination, loners loiter near playgrounds or yearn to shoot up the local shopping mall. Who — especially in their schooldays - wants to be branded thus? It can be said that the British — across all class barriers — have a problem with reading: terms such as ‘bookish’ and ‘bookworm’ are hardly terms of endearment. So it’s unsurprising that library usage is seen as a snobbish, middle-class minority activity — and an easy target for cuts. Alan Bennett, and Zadie Smith rant against Conservative or Coalition library closures but New Labour, under the leadership of a certain public school-educated prime minister, implemented its fair share of library cuts too.

The third issue is ideological. As Bennett reminds us, public libraries were seen as an expression of civic confidence and a belief in the value of education and reading. (His comment is also a useful reminder that, in Victorian times, trade helped pay for culture, and that snobbishness about it has no place among current advocates of the book.) Today, such an outlook is démodé in local government circles. Arguably, this is because many senior local government officials and library management team leaders attended university in the decades between, roughly, the 1960s and 1990s, and imbibed the politically-correct and relativist nostrums of that period. (Indeed, such views now inform the hierarchies —via the academy — of the churches, mainstream charities and cultural institutions, and the civil and public services: and they are also easier on the middle-class ‘progressive’ pocket than traditional tax-and-spend socialism.)

So it’s unsurprising that such people happily spout the mantra that libraries ‘aren’t just about books’, regarding them instead as primarily vehicles of ‘social inclusion’. The library-as-village-hall concept is the result (although there is a case for libraries hosting events which may tangentially encourage reading). Meanwhile, library staffers who are less than enthusiastic about these developments learn to keep quiet: in the current climate of cuts, nobody wants to be the Katharine Birbalsingh of the public library service.

In conclusion, Miranda McKearney, Director of the Reading Agency, argues that libraries must evolve to survive. So must any organisation — but what form should this evolution take for libraries? She gives, as an example of good change, a visit to Rotherham library and its attractive decor but, whilst good furnishings have their place in library strategy, books are the unique selling point for libraries: the printed word must predominate, as Nicky Wire reminds us. Bella Bathurst quotes an enthusiastic school librarian about the excitement he felt whenever he gave a child a book he knew might change his or her life. And Caitlin Moran writes that a ‘library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination’.

These should be the visions which motivate library staff – and policy-makers at local and national level. Library staff must be given the time and training to fulfil them and, to do so, be freed from the burdens of target culture, team plans, over-complex corporate strategies, ever-changing initiatives, pointless surveys and measurable outcomes (Bathurst gives a darkly amusing example of the latter — a library book on suicide which was not returned).

Moran writes of closed libraries: ‘Kids - poor kids — will never know the fabulous, benign quirk of self-esteem of walking into “their” library and thinking: “l have read 60 per cent of the books in here. l am awesome.” ’ But the same can also be said of the current downgrading of the proper purpose of libraries — by educated people who should know better — which shows a stunning combination of arrogance and ignorance. The descendants of the poor— who were meant to be the main beneficiaries of the public library service when it was first established - are the biggest losers. Meanwhile, the contributors to this book give valuable ammunition in the fight to help libraries maintain the power of the written word.


Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

Monday 2 April 2012

An air of premeditation

The Duchess of Malfi, Old Vic, London

How to deal with a play that contains more deaths than a Shakespeare festival and a slew of barmy plot twists, including an apricot pregnancy test, a poisoned Bible and a deadly horoscope? Many directors have dealt with these stumbling blocks, presented by John Webster’s gory tragedy, by setting their production on ‘frenzied fast forward mode’, allowing them to skip over the tricky stuff and sweep the audience along, in a chaotic blur of blood. Jamie Lloyd has pressed pause with his considered production, which allows some of Webster’s dangerously glittering lines to sparkle but dims the dark excitement and twisted sexual energy, so deeply embedded in this play.

It is a brave man, who attempts to make sense of a piece that revels in senseless deaths and hopeless fates. One has to respect Jamie Lloyd for tackling the piece in this manner, but he has given himself a very tough task. I couldn’t shake the feeling of a wild beast, being tamed in this production – and, damn, did I miss the fangs. Even Soutra Gilmour’s set feels too formal and restrained. There’s no doubt its a splendid aesthetic achievement, with its massive gilded staircase, leaning inwards and on the point of implosion. But despite its precariousness, it actually dictates overly formal staging. The characters frequently process up the staircase, in order to offer their speeches from the balcony centre. While this might look pretty, it lends the production – and even the characters – an air of pre-meditation, that seems to go against this play’s unruly spirit.

The only way such a stately set could complement this whirlwind tragedy, is if it were to start working against itself; if the set’s order was, in time with the tragedy, gradually subsumed by anarchy. The first scene is promising, as a hooded chorus, bearing candles, performs a tense dance. The dancers are reminiscent of monks and suggest religion’s dangerous and overbearing presence in Webster’s play. If they had only been set free and allowed frightening expression, then they might have created a fizzing, meaningful backdrop. But the dancers, along with the set, remain a symmetric vision rather than a suggestive stage presence.

Eve Best is the one free spirit in this over-marshalled production. She enters in a celestial glow of light but, once released from this formal introduction, is utterly her own creation. Spirited and strikingly ‘normal’, her Duchess of Malfi would make sense in any production. She is an earthy but rootless creation and her refusal to be sucked into the careful structure, system and rules that surround her, mark her out as a tragic heroine. She moves, thinks and dances to her own beat. 

The Duchess’ wilful incongruity plays out in intriguing ways. When her brother, Ferdinard (an almost vampiric Harry Lloyd) attempts to kiss her in bed, she reacts with stony silence. When she is later imprisoned, she refuses to be afraid. And, when she is forced to confront her own death, she denies her executioners an easy way out. In fact, she even forgives them.

This independent spirit lends a fluidity to Best’s Malfi, that is missing elsewhere. Harry Lloyd is an incredibly focused performer but his Ferdinand is too stiff, too white, too much. Finbar Lynch is imposing as the red-soaked Cardinal but it is hard to see him as a dangerous power when, for most of the time, he is surrounded by few. Mark Bonnar, as Bosola, attempts to play it straight but only ends up highlighting his character’s inconsistencies.

When the final blood bath arrives, against a Kill Bill-esque backdrop of snow, it’s hard to make sense of this senseless ending, in the midst of such a sobre world. And when Bosola claims, ‘We are merely the star’s tennis balls,’ one looks in vain for this fateful court, with its warped rules, blurred lines and corrupt officials. 


Till 30 June 2012


Theatre

Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

Friday 30 March 2012

Less anger, more power

Vera Vera Vera, Royal Court, London

It’s interesting to think about why Luke Norris and Hayley Squires made the final cut in the Royal Court Young Writers’ Festival. Both plays deal with seriously ‘in vogue’ topics. Norris’ fierce but romantic play, Goodbye To All That, explores a range of older characters and the medical system that supposedly cares for them. Hayley Squires’ one-hour play, Vera Vera Vera, examines the aftermath of the death of a young soldier in the war in Afghanistan.

But topicality is rarely extracted from play’s context, alone. Instead, a play’s relevance and power really depends on the nature of the playwright’s voice. Norris’ dialogue has a spiky intensity, which lent his play a pounding urgency. Sure, the piece feels stretched in places, but it is also bold and passionate; shot through with the sort of righteous anger that says more about the injustice of the healthcare system, and the plucky spirit of pensioners, than any carefully managed monologue might manage. But Squires’ play, for all its nods at the mushroom-clouding impact of one soldier’s death, tells us little about the close, emotional impact of a distant war. Instead, the topic of war is really just a brittle framework for a much softer play about young love, and the bravery and strength it can instil in lost and lonely teenagers.

One of the last lines in Squires’ play is a word of consolation from soft-hearted (but hard fisted) Sammy, who tries to comfort his freshly-minted girlfriend, Charlie: ‘I think cuddles are the way forward mate.’ These are not the words of an angry playwright. And, yet, much of Squires’ play is jet-black with rage and despair. Unsurprisingly, these misery-soaked scenes never quite come off. One gets the impression of a writer trying to be something she is not.

The angry scenes resemble an amped up, late night episode of EastEnders. Brother and sister, Emily (Danielle Flett) and Danny (Tommy McDonnel), are preparing for the funeral of their brother, a soldier killed in war. One is a hard as nails drug dealer and another is a hollowed out druggy. Flett and Donnel act with all the intensity they can muster but the scenes, whilst high-pitched, are also flat. Squires’ writing postures at rage but never really hums with it. Perhaps, if the whole play had been filled with such destitute characters, then some variety and subtly might have been found - but the sharp contrast between these screeching, sorrowful scenes and the innocent love story that plays out alongside them, makes them sharper still and even harder to believe.

It is in the much gentler scenes that Squires finds her voice. Charlie (Abby Rakic-Platt) and Sammy (Ted Riley) might be preparing for a punch up with a local, loud-mouth but their scenes are infused with innocent pleasures. Squires captures the tone of teenage flirtations very well; the whirlwind way in which the young rattle through their rollercoaster thoughts, the wonderful mix of bravado and vulnerability and the jolting shift between boyish banter and romantic yearnings. This might sound horrifically cheesy, but Charlie’s decision to save Sammy a Penguin bar says much more about the sacrifices that lovers make for each other, than any of those drug-fuelled face-offs. This is the world that Squires understands and translates with skill – let’s hope her next play is a little less angry and far more powerful for it.


Till 14 April 2012


Theatre

Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

Friday 23 March 2012

CW editorial note 23 March 2012

Spring is sprung

Spring is sprung

This week on CW, a selection of London’s spring theatre offerings. Miriam Gillinson reviews Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, at the Adelphi Theatre, as well as Philip Ridley’s Shivered at the Southwark Playhouse. Matt Trueman reviews a double bill of Martin Crimp plays, Play House / Definitely the Bahamas at the Orange Tree Theatre, and David Bowden reviews DV8’s Can We Talk About This? at the National Theatre.

23 March 2012


Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

Thursday 22 March 2012

London town in all its technicolour gore and glory

Sweeney Todd, Adelphi Theatre, London

Confession time. I have never seen Sweeney Todd – until now. Hell, I haven’t even seen much Sondheim. So I’m not going to be able to tell you about past productions and how Jonathan Kent’s reinvention blows them all out the water. But I have seen shedloads of theatre and I can tell you, with eyes glinting and heart racing, that this is one hell of a joyride. I can also tell you that Sondheim, along with Bernstein, is the best musical composer out there. For Sondheim, a musical is not a collection of songs. It is a symphony.

The complexity and stretch of Sondheim’s score is breathtaking. Not a second, or a voice or a single utterance is left to float free from the music. Instead, every ‘yum’, as Mrs Lovett’s customers dig into their fleshy pies, is thread into the music. Every swoon is a note. Every scream becomes a chord. And every chorus member is used with incredible commitment and imagination. Throw away scenes, in this gloriously committed and textured production, become magical moments. When Sweeney Todd pens a poisonous letter, a bedraggled chorus – who have been watching his every move from the metal mesh that encases the stage – bark out his words. The usual lulls that often occur in musicals, as we wait for the next barnstorming number, have been banished here.

This blanket of music smothers the cast and the audience. There is no room to breathe and it is thrilling and frightening. It is a blanket that has been stitched together with the greatest skill. Each song contains a musical’s worth of emotional swings and tonal shifts. Even in the opening number – a time when most composers are still warming up – Sondheim shows us London town in all its technicolour gore and glory. We begin with a romantic homage to our capital city, as young sailor Anthony warmly invokes its magic and promise. Yet, as soon as Michael Ball’s Sweeney Todd enters the shadowy streets of 20th century London, the chords turn sour. Just as London can turn on you in an instant – both now and then – so too does the music. But this is just the beginning. A tramp crawls out from beneath the stage. At first, her hooting calls clang with a horrible emptiness, as she begs for money. But in the space of a few bars, the music turns hard and aggressive, as the desperate tramp pushes her body, her trade, against the naive and frightened sailor. 

Just one scene in, and the London streets throb with a menace, that risks engulfing each and every citizen. This claustrophobia builds to an almost unbearable degree, as Sweeney Todd seeks his revenge and slowly absorbs, and expunges, all the evil and injustice of the London streets. This relentless flood of music (silence barely ever settles) takes on a force of its own. The stalking, staccato chords begin to feel like Sweeney’s fate, racing to catch up with him. No matter how deftly Ball navigates those nefarious melodies, the music – and destiny – will defeat him in the end.

Sondheim’s score is such an extraordinary force that it risks sweeping the actors off the stage. Lucky, then, that Ball is one of the few performers capable of meeting Sondheim’s challenge. Initially, it seems like unusual casting. Ball is the epitome of the musical showman; all beaming smiles, curly hair and sparkling eyes. It is hard to even spot Ball on stage, so completely has he transformed. The bouncy hair has been replaced with long, greasy locks. The smile has flattened out. The eyes have died. In fact, there’s something rather robotic about Ball’s performance, which suits the role perfectly: he is a man on revenge auto-pilot. He is also one of the best singers we have and, despite Sondheim chucking in countless chord changes and dazzling riffs, Ball is in consummate control throughout. This is what lends him his power. This is what makes him a hero, despite the countless number of necks he slices through, with his gleaming razors.

Imelda Staunton is only half the singer Ball is but she is ten times the actor. She makes her character, Mrs Lovett, a sympathetic and believable beast. She keeps the musical tethered. Whenever things risk spiralling off into the realm of camp fantasy, Staunton brings us back to reality with a gloriously offbeat line. Just before the interval, Sweeney Todd resolves to reap his revenge on the whole damn town. Once just batty, he turns downright bonkers, as he glides into a magnificently memorable stupor. His eyes glaze over, his song soars to unbelievable heights and the platform, on which he stands, creeps quietly into the stage. It feels as if his madness is infecting us all.

But the joy of Kent’s production is it never lets us ride this wave of lunacy for too long. That would be too easy. Instead, Ball’s brilliant number is brought crashing down to earth with a quick quip from Staunton: ‘First, we have to worry about ‘im’. That is the real beauty of this production: it soars to incredible musical and emotional heights but it is always grounded, and all the more gruesome for this.


Till 22 September 2012


TheatreMusic

Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Bitterness, regret and, possibly, psychosis

Play House / Definitely the Bahamas, Orange Tree Theatre, London

At 21, Martin Crimp wrote Definitely the Bahamas about a couple in their fifties. Now, in his mid-fifties himself, he has reversed the procedure with Play House, which centres on a couple in their twenties. The two shorts inform one another beautifully: one is the photographic negative of the other.

Initially, Definitely the Bahamas must have read as a clinical examination of a specifically middle-class species of middle-age. The play is sharp and sniping, unforgiving of the sort of suburban superciliousness that peers down its nose at others while ensuring its own looks perfectly powdered and blemish-free at all times.

Milly and Frank, a retired couple, natter judgementally about an acquaintance whose home was burgled while she was away in the Bahamas. (Or was it the Canaries?) More importantly, they keep careful tabs on the comings and goings of their young Dutch lodger Marika (Lily James) and speak gushingly about their thirtysomething son Mike, who seems rather more unpleasant and manipulative than they would ever be willing to concede.

Yet, next to Play House – which is the feistier of the two – its emphasis changes from class to age. The needling criticisms of this pricky attack seem tempered by some level of understanding. It’s as if Crimp is, to a certain extent, empathising with those he once admonished.

Together the plays show the almost inevitable slant into conservatism. Next to Play House’s gregarious young couple, Milly’s and Frank’s civil bitchiness comes across as a sad reflection of their own empty lives. They seem to sit on sofas, cups and saucers in hand, and live vicariously through the younger generation or replay their own pasts, bickering over the details of their memories. If, as George Bernard Shaw once quipped, youth is wasted on the young, old age offers nothing to waste but dead time.

In Play House, Simon and Katrina have moved into their first house together. In short scenes, almost flashbulb snapshots, we see fragments of their daily lives. Everything is an adventure. Even scraping the congealed gunge off the fridge is exciting. There are promotions and pills, arguments and sex. Both relish their newfound adult status, even though they don’t really feel it. They dive into the game of life, viewing even Katrina’s occasional psychotic episodes (which she seems to have inherited from her father) as challenges of their maturity and independence.

Their scorn for others is different to that of Milly and Frank. It is more brazen and condescending, almost a matter of lauding their energy, activity and, most of all, their freedoms over others. In short, they believe they’re living life as it is meant to be lived: drinking and shagging and enjoying everything without needing anything more.

Nonetheless, insecurities lurk; they’d love a bigger, less shitty flat, higher salaries, to be taken seriously. ‘Why can’t we say or do or think anything of importance?’ asks Simon. Here one sees the beginnings of the inevitable slide towards all that they despise: middle-aged conservativism, bitterness, regret and, possibly, psychosis.

Crimp directs both pieces with the same clinical crispness of his writing. Definitely the Bahamas is staged as the radio play it initially was, emphasising the fakery on show and bringing tell-tale vocal tics to the fore, while Play House lays out its props like scientific apparatus to emphasis the irresistible lure of material success. Kate Fahy is all quivering niceties and barbed compliments as Milly, opposite Ian Gelder’s lethargic, let-me-be Frank. Lily James, who also plays Marika, and Obi Abili invest Play House’s younger couple with just the right edge of vitality that’s simultaneously enviable and erosible.


Till 21 April 2012.


Theatre

Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

Put the Lipstick on the Avon Lady

Avon Calling, Camden People’s Theatre, London

Any character who spills their guts without good cause comes across as completely unhinged. Louise Platt’s Avon representative Deborah, a maelstrom in magenta, arrives at your front door laden with both emotional and physical baggage. She volunteers personal information and emotional scars so freely in front of strangers – clients, no less – that she must be the first cosmetics saleswoman without any foundation.

That’s a real shame, because Avon Calling has the potential to be sharply political, as well as a hoot. Instead, it unravels too easily and too melodramatically to hit its target.

The form is a classic case of twist a non-theatrical form of performance into interactive theatre. Platt guides us through the party games designed to sell Avon products, so we’re up on our feet being pampered and playing Put the Lipstick on the Avon Lady and Sniff You Out from the off. Reece Witherspoon, the face of Avon, presides over it, peering glossily out of a vivid pink frame on the mantelpiece.

To make £38, an Avon representative needs to sell £150 worth of product. Given the wholesale discounts she’s forced to offer by the corporation, that’s nine bottles of So So Soft hand-cream per person per party. Debs is nothing but a corporate foot-soldier; a worker bee grafting away to line the coffers of boardroom execs.

Rather than gradually fray in the situation, doing her best to plough one but collapsing, Platt’s character is a nervous wreck whose breakdown is immediately inevitable. In short, it’s her first time hosting solo, seemingly after the death of her mother, whose politely clipped vowels emanate from various moisturisers and mascaras. Of course, over 80 minutes, Debs realises her own exploited status and throws off the shackles for a new career.

But it needn’t go so far. The points about disempowered women, about the beauty industry and paradigms of appearance and, most of all, about corporate injustice read without being so thoroughly exposed and Avon Calling would be far better served by really committing to the Avon party form, rather than overturning it with drama-with-a-capital-D.

It’s still lightly charming and there’s plenty of awkward character comedy to go alongside the party games. Avon Calling works best as an Avon party for those too cynical to be seen dead at such a gathering. Essentially, it’s a parlour game first, and theatre second.


Run over.


Theatre

Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

Thursday 15 March 2012

A thundering noise and a jolt of light

Shivered, Southwark Playhouse, London

Deep into the mesmerising maze that is Philip Ridley’s, Shivered, Ryan tries to appease his seriously rattled older brother, Alec. Soldier, Alec, has returned home to Essex, on leave, and is prone to violent outbursts. Ryan reassures him: ‘You’ve seen stuff…it’s made you…’ But Ryan cannot complete this sentence and it is this enigma – how we are affected by the things we choose to see – that burns at the centre of Ridley’s fiery new play.

Although Ridley’s play spans twelve years and the chronology is as jumpy as a rabbit on heat, it is an exceptionally coherent piece. Shivered is ram-packed with characters who spend their lives searching for, or living within, alternative realities. There is Ryan’s mother, Lyn, who has been so twisted by tragedy, that she must use role play in order to be herself. Her son, Ryan, is equally absorbed in another world and spends most of his time, with mate Jack, searching for monsters. Ryan’s dad, Mikey, is obsessed with UFOs although, in a typical Ridleyesque (if that isn’t a word, it should be) double twist, this extraterrestrial pursuit is really a cover for a reality Mikey - or, at least everyone else – cannot accept: his homosexuality.

There’s more. Ryan’s pal, Jack (an equally repellent and endearing Josh Williams), is so transfixed by YouTube that his life has become a horrifically dark episode of You’ve Been Framed; his everyday experiences, a disappointingly blood-free version of the internet atrocities he greedily seeks out. Jack’s mum, ‘guru for the google age’ Evie, is so enthralled by the dead that she’s all but a corpse herself and fairground worker, Gordy, has made a living out of people’s desire to believe in his shoddy, optical illusions.

Finally, there’s Alex, who on returning from the war, claims: ‘My eyes have been sandblasted clean’. Ours is a world and time, Ridley seems to say, where only unthinkable horror forces us to seek out, or recognise, the truth. Ours is a world, which makes us want to be someone else and live somewhere else. Ours is a world where danger is the only light we seek. Director Russell Bolam emphasises this lurking danger, by abruptly closing most scenes with a thundering noise and a jolt of light. This bold motif clarifies the idea that the only themes which connect these scenes – and which make sense of today’s world – are danger and fear. 

The acting is superb and all the performers wriggle restlessly within the endless confines of their complex roles. Olivia Poulet, as royally messed up mother Lyn, is incredibly hostile but occasionally tender. She might snap her son’s pencils but she also ruffles his hair, affectionately, when he carries on regardless. Simon Lenagan digs even deeper with his role, even if does initially appear a solid and straightforward father. His cheery facade drops only a few times but, when it does, there’s maggots and madness crawling underneath: ‘We will wake up every day for the rest of our lives and we will breathe razor blades and we will swim through bleach’.’

No matter where these characters look – or how much they invest in otherworldly pursuits - reality eventually catches up with them. It’s as if life has become a terrible death force, stalking its prey. This sensation is heightened by Ridley’s skewed chronology, which enforces the idea of a hunt – as if the plot is crawling around for its victims. It’s not a question of if the darkness will reach Ridley’s characters – only when.


Till 14 April 2012


Theatre

Enjoyed this article? Share it with others.

Page 12 of 136 pages « First  <  10 11 12 13 14 >  Last »

Resources

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

London and online galleries

National Gallery
Royal Academy of Arts
TATE ONLINE
Serpentine Gallery
V&A Museum
Saatchi Gallery
The world’s interactive art gallery
Eyestorm
The leading online retailer of limited edition contemporary art
Ascot Studios Art Gallery
One of the leading independent art galleries in the UK

Other resources

critical network
Forthcoming Events and Exhibitions
WRITING FROM LIVE ART
A Live Art UK initiative

Art Monthly, taking art apart since 1976

Artangel
pioneering a new way of collaborating with artists and engaging audiences


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Marxists Online
Marx, Engels, Lenin and beyond

New Left Review, international Leftist journal

Mute Magazine, culture and politics after the net

Red Pepper, influenced by socialism, feminisim and environmental politics

Dissent Magazine, US Leftist journal for the clashing of strong opinions

And its counterpart, Commentary, general, yet Jewish

Granta, magazine for new writing

Wikipedia, ze internet encyclopedia

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, all things philosophical

London and online galleries

National Gallery
Royal Academy of Arts
TATE ONLINE
Serpentine Gallery
V&A Museum
Saatchi Gallery
The world’s interactive art gallery
Eyestorm
The leading online retailer of limited edition contemporary art
Ascot Studios Art Gallery
One of the leading independent art galleries in the UK

Other resources

critical network
Forthcoming Events and Exhibitions
WRITING FROM LIVE ART
A Live Art UK initiative

Art Monthly, taking art apart since 1976

Artangel
pioneering a new way of collaborating with artists and engaging audiences


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

London and online galleries

National Gallery
Royal Academy of Arts
TATE ONLINE
Serpentine Gallery
V&A Museum
Saatchi Gallery
The world’s interactive art gallery
Eyestorm
The leading online retailer of limited edition contemporary art
Ascot Studios Art Gallery
One of the leading independent art galleries in the UK

Other resources

critical network
Forthcoming Events and Exhibitions
WRITING FROM LIVE ART
A Live Art UK initiative

Art Monthly, taking art apart since 1976

Artangel
pioneering a new way of collaborating with artists and engaging audiences


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

BBC News
Economist.com
CNN
Guardian ‘comment is free’
Telegraph blogs
Times Online blogs
bookforum.com
Arts & Letters Daily



Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

London and online galleries

National Gallery
Royal Academy of Arts
TATE ONLINE
Serpentine Gallery
V&A Museum
Saatchi Gallery
The world’s interactive art gallery
Eyestorm
The leading online retailer of limited edition contemporary art
Ascot Studios Art Gallery
One of the leading independent art galleries in the UK

Other resources

critical network
Forthcoming Events and Exhibitions
WRITING FROM LIVE ART
A Live Art UK initiative

Art Monthly, taking art apart since 1976

Artangel
pioneering a new way of collaborating with artists and engaging audiences


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Marxists Online
Marx, Engels, Lenin and beyond

New Left Review, international Leftist journal

Mute Magazine, culture and politics after the net

Red Pepper, influenced by socialism, feminisim and environmental politics

Dissent Magazine, US Leftist journal for the clashing of strong opinions

And its counterpart, Commentary, general, yet Jewish

Granta, magazine for new writing

Wikipedia, ze internet encyclopedia

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, all things philosophical

Contemporary Writers
New writers, new works, databased by the British Council

Pen Pusher
London-based free literary magazine

Story
Celebrate the short story!

Orange Prize
Only the fairer sex need apply

Man Booker Prize
Literary Prize of the Finest Quality

Granta
The up and coming speak

The Bookseller
Infused with news from the world of books

International Pen
Writers around the world campaign for freedom of expression

Serpent’s Tail
Independent publisher for experimental voices

Random House
Fiction from the biggest publisher around

Edinburgh Book Festival
Books books and discussing books galore

Jewish Book Week
Celebrating, discussing and critiquing Jewish Lit


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Marxists Online
Marx, Engels, Lenin and beyond

New Left Review, international Leftist journal

Mute Magazine, culture and politics after the net

Red Pepper, influenced by socialism, feminisim and environmental politics

Dissent Magazine, US Leftist journal for the clashing of strong opinions

And its counterpart, Commentary, general, yet Jewish

Granta, magazine for new writing

Wikipedia, ze internet encyclopedia

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, all things philosophical


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Contemporary Writers
New writers, new works, databased by the British Council

Pen Pusher
London-based free literary magazine

Story
Celebrate the short story!

Orange Prize
Only the fairer sex need apply

Man Booker Prize
Literary Prize of the Finest Quality

Granta
The up and coming speak

The Bookseller
Infused with news from the world of books

International Pen
Writers around the world campaign for freedom of expression

Serpent’s Tail
Independent publisher for experimental voices

Random House
Fiction from the biggest publisher around

Edinburgh Book Festival
Books books and discussing books galore

Jewish Book Week
Celebrating, discussing and critiquing Jewish Lit


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Marxists Online
Marx, Engels, Lenin and beyond

New Left Review, international Leftist journal

Mute Magazine, culture and politics after the net

Red Pepper, influenced by socialism, feminisim and environmental politics

Dissent Magazine, US Leftist journal for the clashing of strong opinions

And its counterpart, Commentary, general, yet Jewish

Granta, magazine for new writing

Wikipedia, ze internet encyclopedia

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, all things philosophical

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Music scholar Cara Bleiman takes a look at the political potential of music past and present in an essay, striking chords

Sarah Boyes asks What Does Music Mean? in a Battle in Print

Frank Furedi looks at the role of truth in music over recent years

Gramaphone Magazine
Established, incisive classical music magazine

BBC Music
Listen by genre and read all about it!

British Music Information Centre
All about 20th and 21st century music

Classic,net
Heady internet resource for exploring all things classical

Royal College of Music
Events, research, hire a musician

tradmusic.com
Scottish, Irish and World music resource

Music Manifesto
New Labour dumbing down music education

Busk Action
Small group with BIG aims to deregulate busking

Royal Albert Hall
Classical music and shows

English National Opera
Britain’s only full time repertory opera company!

Royal Opera House
Music, ballet, theatre and a very big building

No Music Day
Imagine a day with no music…


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

London and online galleries

National Gallery
Royal Academy of Arts
TATE ONLINE
Serpentine Gallery
V&A Museum
Saatchi Gallery
The world’s interactive art gallery
Eyestorm
The leading online retailer of limited edition contemporary art
Ascot Studios Art Gallery
One of the leading independent art galleries in the UK

Other resources

critical network
Forthcoming Events and Exhibitions
WRITING FROM LIVE ART
A Live Art UK initiative

Art Monthly, taking art apart since 1976

Artangel
pioneering a new way of collaborating with artists and engaging audiences


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

London and online galleries

National Gallery
Royal Academy of Arts
TATE ONLINE
Serpentine Gallery
V&A Museum
Saatchi Gallery
The world’s interactive art gallery
Eyestorm
The leading online retailer of limited edition contemporary art
Ascot Studios Art Gallery
One of the leading independent art galleries in the UK

Other resources

critical network
Forthcoming Events and Exhibitions
WRITING FROM LIVE ART
A Live Art UK initiative

Art Monthly, taking art apart since 1976

Artangel
pioneering a new way of collaborating with artists and engaging audiences


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

London and online galleries

National Gallery
Royal Academy of Arts
TATE ONLINE
Serpentine Gallery
V&A Museum
Saatchi Gallery
The world’s interactive art gallery
Eyestorm
The leading online retailer of limited edition contemporary art
Ascot Studios Art Gallery
One of the leading independent art galleries in the UK

Other resources

critical network
Forthcoming Events and Exhibitions
WRITING FROM LIVE ART
A Live Art UK initiative

Art Monthly, taking art apart since 1976

Artangel
pioneering a new way of collaborating with artists and engaging audiences


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Music scholar Cara Bleiman takes a look at the political potential of music past and present in an essay, striking chords

Sarah Boyes asks What Does Music Mean? in a Battle in Print

Frank Furedi looks at the role of truth in music over recent years

Gramaphone Magazine
Established, incisive classical music magazine

BBC Music
Listen by genre and read all about it!

British Music Information Centre
All about 20th and 21st century music

Classic,net
Heady internet resource for exploring all things classical

Royal College of Music
Events, research, hire a musician

tradmusic.com
Scottish, Irish and World music resource

Music Manifesto
New Labour dumbing down music education

Busk Action
Small group with BIG aims to deregulate busking

Royal Albert Hall
Classical music and shows

English National Opera
Britain’s only full time repertory opera company!

Royal Opera House
Music, ballet, theatre and a very big building

No Music Day
Imagine a day with no music…


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

BBC News
Economist.com
CNN
Guardian ‘comment is free’
Telegraph blogs
Times Online blogs
bookforum.com
Arts & Letters Daily



Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

London and online galleries

National Gallery
Royal Academy of Arts
TATE ONLINE
Serpentine Gallery
V&A Museum
Saatchi Gallery
The world’s interactive art gallery
Eyestorm
The leading online retailer of limited edition contemporary art
Ascot Studios Art Gallery
One of the leading independent art galleries in the UK

Other resources

critical network
Forthcoming Events and Exhibitions
WRITING FROM LIVE ART
A Live Art UK initiative

Art Monthly, taking art apart since 1976

Artangel
pioneering a new way of collaborating with artists and engaging audiences


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Music scholar Cara Bleiman takes a look at the political potential of music past and present in an essay, striking chords

Sarah Boyes asks What Does Music Mean? in a Battle in Print

Frank Furedi looks at the role of truth in music over recent years

Gramaphone Magazine
Established, incisive classical music magazine

BBC Music
Listen by genre and read all about it!

British Music Information Centre
All about 20th and 21st century music

Classic,net
Heady internet resource for exploring all things classical

Royal College of Music
Events, research, hire a musician

tradmusic.com
Scottish, Irish and World music resource

Music Manifesto
New Labour dumbing down music education

Busk Action
Small group with BIG aims to deregulate busking

Royal Albert Hall
Classical music and shows

English National Opera
Britain’s only full time repertory opera company!

Royal Opera House
Music, ballet, theatre and a very big building

No Music Day
Imagine a day with no music…


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

London and online galleries

National Gallery
Royal Academy of Arts
TATE ONLINE
Serpentine Gallery
V&A Museum
Saatchi Gallery
The world’s interactive art gallery
Eyestorm
The leading online retailer of limited edition contemporary art
Ascot Studios Art Gallery
One of the leading independent art galleries in the UK

Other resources

critical network
Forthcoming Events and Exhibitions
WRITING FROM LIVE ART
A Live Art UK initiative

Art Monthly, taking art apart since 1976

Artangel
pioneering a new way of collaborating with artists and engaging audiences


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Contemporary Writers
New writers, new works, databased by the British Council

Pen Pusher
London-based free literary magazine

Story
Celebrate the short story!

Orange Prize
Only the fairer sex need apply

Man Booker Prize
Literary Prize of the Finest Quality

Granta
The up and coming speak

The Bookseller
Infused with news from the world of books

International Pen
Writers around the world campaign for freedom of expression

Serpent’s Tail
Independent publisher for experimental voices

Random House
Fiction from the biggest publisher around

Edinburgh Book Festival
Books books and discussing books galore

Jewish Book Week
Celebrating, discussing and critiquing Jewish Lit


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

BBC News
Economist.com
CNN
Guardian ‘comment is free’
Telegraph blogs
Times Online blogs
bookforum.com
Arts & Letters Daily



Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Battle of Ideas

Institute of Contemporary Arts

Intelligence Squared

Gresham College

LSE Public Lectures

Fabian Society Events

Exhibitions and Talks at the British Library



Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for this year’s Battle of Ideas festival.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival

Internet Movie Database
IMDB - does exactly what it says on the tin

BFI
British Film Institute’s Finest

BFI’s Sight and Sound
World cinema eating its heart out

They shoot pictures, don’t they?
Dedicated to the art of directing

Barbican Film
Some of the most innovative films in town

ICA Film
Independent, political and art-house gorge-fest

National Media Museum
Not nearly as bad as it sounds

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Music scholar Cara Bleiman takes a look at the political potential of music past and present in an essay, striking chords

Sarah Boyes asks What Does Music Mean? in a Battle in Print

Frank Furedi looks at the role of truth in music over recent years

Gramaphone Magazine
Established, incisive classical music magazine

BBC Music
Listen by genre and read all about it!

British Music Information Centre
All about 20th and 21st century music

Classic,net
Heady internet resource for exploring all things classical

Royal College of Music
Events, research, hire a musician

tradmusic.com
Scottish, Irish and World music resource

Music Manifesto
New Labour dumbing down music education

Busk Action
Small group with BIG aims to deregulate busking

Royal Albert Hall
Classical music and shows

English National Opera
Britain’s only full time repertory opera company!

Royal Opera House
Music, ballet, theatre and a very big building

No Music Day
Imagine a day with no music…


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Music scholar Cara Bleiman takes a look at the political potential of music past and present in an essay, striking chords

Sarah Boyes asks What Does Music Mean? in a Battle in Print

Frank Furedi looks at the role of truth in music over recent years

Gramaphone Magazine
Established, incisive classical music magazine

BBC Music
Listen by genre and read all about it!

British Music Information Centre
All about 20th and 21st century music

Classic,net
Heady internet resource for exploring all things classical

Royal College of Music
Events, research, hire a musician

tradmusic.com
Scottish, Irish and World music resource

Music Manifesto
New Labour dumbing down music education

Busk Action
Small group with BIG aims to deregulate busking

Royal Albert Hall
Classical music and shows

English National Opera
Britain’s only full time repertory opera company!

Royal Opera House
Music, ballet, theatre and a very big building

No Music Day
Imagine a day with no music…


Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Marxists Online
Marx, Engels, Lenin and beyond

New Left Review, international Leftist journal

Mute Magazine, culture and politics after the net

Red Pepper, influenced by socialism, feminisim and environmental politics

Dissent Magazine, US Leftist journal for the clashing of strong opinions

And its counterpart, Commentary, general, yet Jewish

Granta, magazine for new writing

Wikipedia, ze internet encyclopedia

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, all things philosophical

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

Culture Wars in association with the Battles in Print, specially commissioned essays for the Battle of Ideas festival, with 2010’s essays now online.

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival

Internet Movie Database
IMDB - does exactly what it says on the tin

BFI
British Film Institute’s Finest

BFI’s Sight and Sound
World cinema eating its heart out

They shoot pictures, don’t they?
Dedicated to the art of directing

Barbican Film
Some of the most innovative films in town

ICA Film
Independent, political and art-house gorge-fest

National Media Museum
Not nearly as bad as it sounds

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.

BBC News
Economist.com
CNN
Guardian ‘comment is free’
Telegraph blogs
Times Online blogs
bookforum.com
Arts & Letters Daily



Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.


The Stage
Theatreland’s newspaper

Theatre Monkey
What theatregoers tell you that box-office staff do not

National Theatre
What’s on: plays, exhibitions, music

Royal Shakespeare Company
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Like what you see? - keep it that way, support Culture Wars online review.