Arts: This was the week that was

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Today On this day in 1879 issue No 1 of Boy's Own Paper carried Britain's earliest known ad for a "phonograph". Hi-fi it wasn't; the owner recited, for example, "Hey, diddle, diddle", and the words were repeated by a tinny-sounding tin-foil cylinder.

Tomorrow In 1973, long before the Sensation exhibition was creeping up the walls of the Royal Academy, Carl Andre's American Decay in a Washington gallery included 10 gallons of tomato ketchup and 500lb of cottage cheese. Thanks to the smell, the show closed the following day.

Wednesday Alan Freed, the American DJ who coined the term "rock'n' roll", died in 1965, just as rock was getting into its stride.

Thursday In 1959 Cecil B De Mille went to the Great Studio in the Sky. He had made the first US feature film in Hollywood, The Squaw Man, and directed The Ten Commandments twice. (The 20 Commandments?) Telly Savalas, the lollipop-loving star of Kojak and supporting-Oscar-winner for The Birdman of Alcatraz, was born in 1925. So was Benny Hill, famed for the women who appeared in underwear in his TV series.

Friday In 1967 Joe Orton met Paul McCartney to talk about a new Beatles movie. Up Against It was never made but the meeting featured in Prick Up Your Ears, the film scripted by Alan Bennett.

Saturday Edouard Manet was born in 1832; the ladies who lunch in the nude in his Dejeuner sur l'Herbe caused much hostility and he later exhibited in the tellingly named Salon des Refuses.

Sunday The playwright Pierre Beaumarchais was born in 1732. "If something is not worth saying, people sing it," he wrote, according to his The Barber of Seville - which people have been singing to Rossini's score ever since. In 1920 the sculptor and painter Amedeo Modigliani died like a real artist, ie a victim of poverty, drink and drugs. Two days later his pregnant mistress threw herself from a window.

Jonathan Sale