For an artist whose career is based on confronting the spaces we either ignore or deliberately avoid, the now-demolished BBC office that reputedly inspired Room 101 in George Orwell’s 1984 is perfect subject-matter.
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To most Britons, P.G. Wodehouse is known as the creator of quaint, comic novels starring the blundering upper class twit Bertie Wooster and his astute valet Jeeves. He also contributed lyrics and stories to a wealth of musicals and his step great grandson, the opera singer Hal Cazalet, who as a child slept in a room beneath the Wodehouse archive, tells us he only got to know P.G. Wodehouse’s prose through the song lyrics.
Art is Comic, billed as a light-hearted response to terror, is the latest exhibition to embrace rough, industrial brickwork as the perfect backdrop for popular artists with hundreds of thousands of followers and an outwardly casual attitude towards failing politics and social injustice.
In the shocker “can-it-possibly-be-true?” atmosphere of tabloid journalism, this theatrical account of Murdoch’s acquisition of a moribund Sun newspaper and his appointment of the angry Albert “Larry” Lamb to bring it back to life tells us the notorious press baron’s grandfather was a minister in the Scottish church.
“Matisse in the Studio” does not deliver the sensational overdoses of colour and the full-on confrontation with genius of the Tate blockbusters, but there is a place for this more digestible insight into the transformative way Matisse saw based on examining his use of “objets d’art” as inspiration.
Four women and five men from Aberdeen University’s A Cappella Society Aberpella tell us they thought they were being terribly witty in choosing the title “50 Tones of Grey” as a reference to the shades of the sky and stone of their university city.
After studying literature and painting, Robert B. Sherman, the elder half of one of the world’s most prolific song-writing duos, set about writing the great American novel, while his younger brother Richard, who had studied music, was working on the great American symphony.
In a capitalist society, we’re nearly all hired hands, but the extent of the exploitation is more or less pernicious. Melvyn Bragg’s gritty, Northern, sweeping tale ultimately finds the best option for the ordinary man is to accept a pittance to work above ground rather than to toil in a futile World War I trench or in a narrow coal seam beneath the sea.
Art is at its most powerfully dramatic when it gives voice to the oppressed. By using the device of a play within a play to utmost effect, The Island communicates the oppression of a recent generation by drawing on tragic defiance from classical times.
Richard III manages to be at once resounding royal propaganda and an unsettling reminder of the fragility of the status quo given Elizabeth I’s lack of an heir: the Tudors had rescued the kingdom from the murderous House of York, but they hadn’t secured the future for long.