Category Archives: Culture

SXSW: The Strokes show how it’s done

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Julian Casablancas and The Strokes perform at SXSW (Photo: AP)

  The main strip in South by Southwest (SXSW), the musical festival held in Austin, Texas, teems with small, dingy dive bars hosting the most important musical acts of 2011. On any corner you could run into Bob Geldof – the festival’s keynote speaker this year – Simon Le Bon, Jack White or Odd Future, […]

2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe proves one good tune deserves another

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Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coup

When a new Mercedes-Benz model like the C-Class Coupe debuts, it’s usually just a matter of time until the AMG version comes along. Times’s up: say hello to the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe. Destined to be unveiled at the next month’s New York Auto Show, the C63 AMG Coupe is essentially a 2012 C63 […]

Hay Festival: A town set at a slight angle

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Hay Festival

In the Sixties, Hay-on-Wye was a remote town in the Welsh Marches where not much happened. Then, as now, the visitor approached it across a bridge over the River Wye, admiring the way its grey stone houses sprawl at the foot of the Black Mountains. Behind the town the green scarp of Hay Bluff soars […]

Peter Brook’s new Magic Flute: not bad for 86

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Peter Brook

The clue was in the title. Peter Brook’s new Mozart staging at the Barbican was advertised not as The Magic Flute but just A Magic Flute. There was no promise here to be definitive or “do the piece” as you’d expect – only the modest claim to be one possible approach. And modesty is very […]

Living in New York I: screams, a woman in pink, and hidden companions in my bedroom

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cockroach-infestation Living in New York

I’ve lived in the glorious city of New York now for nearly thirty years, arriving as a student in the Autumn of 1981 to begin a Master’s at the Juilliard School. I started off at the YMCA for a week until I could find my own place, a room in a small hotel on the […]

Iraq Comes to Venice – Mary Schroth

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AHMED ALSOUDANI | The Baghdad-born, New York-based painter ('Untitled,' 2007, pictured here) will be among six artists showing work at the Venice Biennale's Iraq pavilion opening in June.

Walking a provocative tightrope is what American contemporary-art curator Mary Angela Schroth does best. In 1993, with memories of apartheid still fresh, Schroth staged Italy’s first exhibition of South African art, and during the days of glasnost and a collapsing Soviet Union, she presented its first show of perestroika-era Russian artists. And in a move […]

Literary aunts: the good, the bad and the ugly

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In the latest edition of the London Review of Books (subscription required for most online pieces, I am afraid) there is a lovely piece by novelist Colm Tóibín on the importance of aunts in the 19th-century novel. He starts by investigating the aunts in Jane Austen, having quoted a passage in Ruth Perry’s book The […]