tue 29/09/2020

21st century

Ian Williams: Reproduction review - a dazzling kaleidoscope of life's tragicomedy

Ian Williams’s writing is always in motion. For his 2012 poetry collection Personals, and since, he has composed little circular poems, similar (in style though not sentiment) to the posies you sometimes find inscribed on the inside of rings. He...

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Album: Sufjan Stevens - The Ascension

Sufjan Stevens is an artist of remarkable ambition. His 80-minute long new album, with 15 beautiful and poetic songs, belongs to a long line of pop experimentation that runs through from The Beatles and George Martin’s Stg Pepper’s Lonely Hearts...

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Wayne Holloway-Smith: Love Minus Love review – powerfully excavating the tormented poet's psyche

Roughly two years since “the posh mums are boxing in the square” scooped first place in the 2018 National Poetry Competition, Wayne Holloway-Smith returns with Love Minus Love, his second full-length collection. The follow-up to Alarum (2017)...

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She Dies Tomorrow review - intimations of mortality

Watching the semi-satirical psychological horror film She’ll Die Tomorrow conjures the last lines of TS Eliot’s "The Hollow Men": “This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper.” Writer-director Amy Seimetz’s second feature doesn’t...

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Mary South: You Will Never Be Forgotten review - canny tales of uncanny tech

“Never Let Me Go meets free, two-day shipping.” This is how Mary South describes “Keith Prime”, the first story in her debut collection. Undoubtedly, Kazuo Ishiguro springs to mind in the bizarrely personable world of the clinical organ farm, but...

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Album: Max Richter - Voices

Max Richter is the million-selling star of post-Minimalism, the composer of moody symphonies of a stillness that suggests otherworldly bliss and inner peace. The boundary between Richter and New Age isn’t always clear, not least in the work he makes...

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Blueprint Medea, Finborough Theatre online review – well-meaning but clunky update

Medea is the original crazy ex-girlfriend: the wronged woman who takes perfectly understandable revenge on the man who made her life hell. In Blueprint Medea, a new adaptation premiered at the Finborough Theatre in May 2019 and available on YouTube...

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The Old Guard review - serious silliness

It’s hard to take The Old Guard seriously — it’s an action film about thousand-year-old immortal warriors. Pulpy flashbacks and fake blood abounds. But The Old Guard doesn’t need to be serious or even memorable: it’s a fun, feel-good film, a rare...

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The Opera Story: Episodes review - whimsical takes on lockdown life

The Opera Story is an enterprising set-up based in London and founded with a mission to commission and stage new operas by early career composers. They have so far produced three full-scale pieces, the earliest from 2017, performed in a reclaimed...

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Album: Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

Girl-wonder Phoebe Bridgers is one of the brightest stars to come out of the ever-renewing pool of creative talent that bubbles away in Southern California. Her new album, following the release last year of the brillant Better Oblivion Community...

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Book extract: Holiday Heart by Margarita García Robayo translated by Charlotte Coombe

Holiday heart, instead of sentimental love discovered on vacation, describes a faltering organ, overloaded from excess consumption: a heart at risk. In Margarita Garcia Robayo’s brilliantly observant, often sardonically pitched novel, the heart...

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Stephen Hough/Lucy Crowe, Anna Tilbrook, Wigmore Hall online/BBC Radio 3 review - the end of the beginning

After a devastating drought, even a light shower can feel like something of a miracle. Under normal circumstances, a 60 minute lunchtime piano recital from the Wigmore Hall would represent wholly unremarkable business as usual for BBC Radio 3. As it...

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