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.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 10 ways we damage our teeth – without realising
- 2 Facebook Messenger sends 'creepily' precise location data, as revealed by Marauders Map Chrome extension
- 3 Fifa corruption arrests: Nike reported to be 'multinational sportswear company' at centre of bribery claims over Brazil shirt deal
- 4 Bahar Mustafa: Goldsmiths Students' Union diversity officer to keep her job after vote of no confidence petition fails
- 5 Photo of wedding guest proposing to girlfriend in front of bride and groom goes viral
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
Big Brother contestant Aaron Frew removed from house for 'inappropriate behaviour' after flashing fellow contestants
ASAP Rocky gives nauseating response to explicit Rita Ora rap: 'I'm not saying she's a terrible person'
San Andreas 3D, film review: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's disaster movie has clear fault lines
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote