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.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton - really?
The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove