Page 2 of 3

60 year since the death of Thomas Mann

The writer Thomas Mann died sixty years ago in Zurich. Since that time his reputation as a major figure in modern European literature has remained, more or less,…

The Portmanteau Press

If the latest portmanteau is to be taken seriously – Grexit, a combination of the words Greece and exit referring to the possibility of Greece leaving the Eurozone…

Review of ‘Oppenheimer’ by Tom Morton-Smith, RSC, Swan Theatre

How do we depict the past? One way is to travel along the byways of hindsight, to remember with knowing sobriety the magnitude of some event and then…

What are stories worth: a quick note

I recently read an article by Lincoln Allison titled Are Novels a Waste of Life?. The question of the title explains all. For Allison, it is the sense…

Review of ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ by William Maxwell

In Virginia Woolf’s experimental novel The Waves, the wistful Bernard reflects “I have lost friends, some by death […] others through sheer inability to cross the street.” The…

The Wedded Rocks of Japan

If one abides by mythology, the islands of Japan were born of the spirits Izanagi and Izanami in a moment of mystical blending before time itself began. It…

What is Abstration in Art?

One story that left an impression on me who was the tale of the mapmakers as told by Jorge Luis Borges in his On Exactitude in Science. A…

The Curious Intonation of Adam Curtis

In his recent film Bitter Lake about the recent history of Afghanistan, Adam Curtis tells us we all need stories “to help us make sense of the complexity…

Serif: Lettering With Style?

To serif or not to serif? The small projecting barbs on the ends of letters that indicate more than mere ornament. The semi-structural detailing, vestiges of the classical…

Max Slevogt’s “Visions” at Leicester’s New Walk Gallery

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery in Leicester. Enjoying this very fine museum, and paying particular attention to the German…

A few words on writing short stories

Recently I’ve been thinking about what impels me to write the type of short stories I write….. so here are a few more words on the topic: I…

Point of View: Why I’d rather be a writer than a politician

What do we hear when a politician speaks? What do we expect to hear? Whatever we think about the political classes, I think one observation that can be…

Review of “BBC Four Goes Abstract: When Art Broke Free”

Does it matter if an abstract painting is hung the wrong way up? This question is not as facetious as it sounds. In one of the programmes under…

One Film I Wish I Could See (but probably never will)

Before the internet, you had to go much greater lengths to hunt things down. Libraries were held in higher regard then. And specialist libraries were even more fervently…

A strange case of Durdle Dor

We spent the weekend in on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, there with some friends on what appears to be becoming an annual event, where we all…

Review of ‘Candide’ Adapted by Mark Ravehill, RSC, Swan Theatre

Anyone who is familiar with Voltaire’s satirical classic Candide will recall the calamitous, if not frankly pernicious, series of trials and tribulations the eponymous hero undergoes as his…

Review of Marat/Sade at the RSC

In his 1938 book The Theatre and Its Double (Le Théâtre et son Double) , French dramatist and actor Antonin Artaurd proposed a theory known as “Theatre of…

Review of “False Warnings” by Rita Gabrowska, at Gallery 150

There was a time when abstract painting was all the rage. Perhaps never quite de rigueur, but in a more compelling way, it was the language of avant-garde…

Mischievous Folk: “What the folk say” at Compton Verney

Compton Verney has raided its own collection of folk art in an attempt to open up its collection to new and multiple interpretations. Artists and curators have been…

Review of public artwork: “Spring” by Oliver Barratt

Oliver Barratt’s sculpture, Spring, is a bright and fulsome tribute to the influence of water. Its signature is the uninterrupted line, which swirls and undulates in heavy blue…