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Arts & Culture


On Myth by Marina Warner

Writers don’t make up myths; they take them over and recast them. Even Homer was telling stories that his audience already knew. If some individuals present weren’t acquainted with Odysseus’s wanderings or the Trojan War, and were listening in for the first time (as I was when a child, enthralled by the gods and goddesses in H.A. Guerber’s classic retelling), they were still aware that this was a common inheritance that belonged to everyone. [more]

Poetry and the English imagination by Bryan Appleyard

No nation has produced better essayists than France, none has produced better composers than the Germans, better painters than the Italians, nor better novelists than the Russians. America invented jazz and still masters the form and, though some may dissent, her record in film is unsurpassed. And the English? The English do poetry. [more]


Ripening Time by Olivia McCannon

The silence shuffled down again. The darkness pressed its face against the windows of his car. Outside were dense black forms that span round as they passed, and a vast indigo sky pricked with stars. She was in the passenger seat, he was the pilot, and they were going wherever he was taking her. [subscribe]

The Girl in the Refrigerator by Etgar Keret

He told her that he once had a girlfriend who liked to be alone. And that was very sad, because they were a couple, and couple, by definition, means together. But mostly she preferred to be alone. So once he asked her, “Why? Is it something in me?”. And she said, “No, it has nothing to do with you, it's something in me, from my childhood.” [subscribe]


Reservoirs of Blood by John Lennard

As You Must Set Forth at Dawn makes abundantly clear, Soyinka has operated politically both within Nigeria and in exile at a far higher level than most artists can hope to attain, but the consequence is a visceral understanding of himself – and all living things – as “reservoirs of blood”. [more]


Zero Degrees for Collaboration by Sarah Frater

In truth, real collaboration is a rare breed. More likely is the classy commission, where a savvy choreographer hires a trendy artist, and there’s a feel-good buzz for all concerned – theatregoers are only too pleased to clock the name, artists enjoy the kudos of the stage, and the choreographer snags the sort of publicity she or he would otherwise struggle to gain alone. [subscribe]


Art Against the Inevitable in Sudan by Niccoló Milanese

There is a demand and a prayer made in each of Ibrahim El Salahi’s designs. This pioneer of Sudanese modernism has fused the diverse traditions of Sudan to make an art that is universal in its importance. His monumental painting The Inevitable (1984) is an uncompromising condemnation of civil war and injustice. The comparison with Picasso’s Guernica is not misplaced: indeed, the painting can be seen as an African counterpoint to it. [more]


Out of Africa by Catherine Bray

The Beloved Ones deals with the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, but there are no poe-faced presenters doing to-camera pieces against a backgrop of devastated villages; instead, this unusual film is that rare things: an animated documentary. [subscribe]


Bacchus by Peter Richards

As a society, we are not the diluting type. The result is a quandary. Do we drink less? Or carry on as normal and risk the inevitable hangover and health issues that are the dogged pursuers of Bacchanalian excess? [more]


Ceres by Mark Daniel

And no, - organic though a helpful option, runs a distant and today faintly disreputable second to local. I was recently sent a consignment of smoked yellowfin tuna for appraisal. It bore the Soil Association sticker to indicate that it was organic. And it had come from St Helena. [subscribe]