Books: Pick Of The Week
Saturday 03 April 1999
biographer: from bio-graphy, the reading of a life by means of lines. A fortune-teller or palmist.
fibre optic: a coarse material woven out of eyes, worn by the high priests of the mechanical age in order to instil terror among the populace.
Just a few entries from the glossary that Plato - leading light of Peter Ackroyd's new novel, The Plato Papers - creates. His aim? To help the people of The Present (c. AD 3700) comprehend the last-but-one era. Ours. The Age of Mouldwarp (c. AD 1500 - c. AD 2300). A dark era, lit only by Charles Dickens's great novel The Origin of Species and the slapstick comedy of Sigmund Freud (pronounced Fraud) and his straight-man sidekick, Oedipus.
Spiked with Ackroyd's trademark concerns: the many-layeredness of London; a caballistic mysticism; the mutable nature of time and place; this novel is simultaneously laugh-out-loud-on-the-Underground hilarious and deeply, provocatively serious. It raises the kind of Big Philosophical Questions the title leads you to expect. How much of what we call history is misinformed conjecture? Biography: fact or fiction? How do we know what we think we know? Fact (in fact): fact or fiction? Pop along to Waterstone's in Chelsea for Peter Ackroyd's Q & A session and find out from the man himself. The book's out on 1 April.
If you're reading this (as you should be) first thing Saturday morning, you've still got time to hotfoot it to the Institute of Contemporary Arts to catch the inimitable Ivor Cutler doing his chat and verse thing, at 2.30pm this afternoon as part of the all-day Apocalypse Culture event. Inspired by EMI Records `Songbook' series of CDs, compiled by writers and artists, this extravaganza also features Ralph Steadman making his own wall-sized art, and off-centre graphic geniuses Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and Savage Pencil Rock & Roll Zoo doing almost unmentionable things with a variety of musical instruments.
Peter Ackroyd; Waterstone's 150 - 152 Kings Road, London SW3 (0171-251 2053), Thursday, 7pm.
Apocalypse Culture; Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1Y (0171-930 3647), today, noon to midnight.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 4 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 5 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
First Look at Bryan Cranston transformed into LBJ for HBO’s ‘All the Way’ film
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
This little boy loves books so much that he cries when his mother stops reading to him
Prog rock finally comes of age with launch of the first Official Progressive Chart
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up