Saturday 01 April 1995
Did the members of the London Philharmonic know what they were doing when they confided to that sympathetic journalist in the bar? The second viola thinks he's a better player than his desk-mate, the sub-principal of the violins wants her husband back, the harpist confesses to being "fascinated by the egg-slicer in the kitchen", and the double bass prays that "the orchestra is not going to be for the rest of my life". A cautionary tale of unhappy childhoods, broken marriages, crippling stage fright and underpaid drudgery - oh, and Franz . . . they all hate you.
COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE by Neil Steinberg, Pavilion £9.99
The author's childhood in suburban Ohio was so bland that he had to pep it up with superhuman challenges, like trying to slip down the gap between his bed and the wall, or staging magic shows for the entire neighbourhood without bothering to master the tricks beforehand. It was these experiences that inspired his lifelong empathy with those who strive, only to fail spectacularly. In the comfortable tones of a Yiddish Garrison Keiller, Steinberg interweaves tales of homespun bravado with those of more heroic proportions. How does it feel, for example, to fall off the stage in the finals of a National Spelling Bee?
KONFIDENZ by Ariel Dorfman, Sceptre £4.99
In this elliptical novel about the Second World War, a woman arrives in a Paris hotel room. The phone rings. It is someone claiming to have news of her lover who (he reveals) works for the French Resistance. But this stranger also claims that the woman is the incarnation of his recurring dream. He is in love with her. So far, so European, and the first half of this novella is beautifully poised and teasing. The trouble comes when Dorfman starts getting too self-conscious about the narrative manipulations he is engaged in. Clever, but vaguely disappointing.
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
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 2 Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
- 3 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
- 4 Fifa corruption: Qatar says investigations are racist, anti-Arab and show 'ugly face' of countries who lost 2022 World Cup bid
- 5 We have six months to save the world, says leading economist
Game of Thrones season 5's 20-minute Battle of Hardhome took a 'solid month' to film
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 9: 'The Dance of Dragons' sees Jon Snow return to The Wall after epic Battle of Hardhome
Britain's Got Talent final 2015: 90 viewers complain to Ofcom about Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden's 'revealing' dresses
Ed Sheeran debuts new song 'Sweet Mary Jane' about his love affair with weed
Black Angel: Lost Star Wars precursor to be made into crowdfunded feature film
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers