Cultural Life: A. L. Kennedy, novelist
Friday 16 March 2012
Books: I've just finished Russell Banks's Lost Memory Of Skin, which has its flaws, but the man can really write and he's passionate about social justice in America. He chose his country's most marginalised group [sex offenders] as his focus and continued with courage, for which he has my thanks. I've also been reading Daniel Simpson's A Rough Guide to the Dark Side – it's all about why he left The New York Times and the jaw-dropping realities of modern journalism. Great, funny, passionate stuff.
Film: The last film I saw was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which caused borderline rioting in Stratford-upon-Avon while I was there. Quite right, too. A lovely cast allowed to perform – no overblown CG effects, just actors who can really act, lifting something relatively slight into somewhere joyful and delivering stealth decency.
Music: As far as music goes, I am currently bouncing between Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan, with dashes of The Decembrists – always a sign that I'm on the road. They all keep me cheery on trains. I came to Dylan via Costello, which I know is back to front, but there's something about their crazed storytelling, idiosyncratic delivery and gift with words that really delights, even when I'm tired.
Visual arts: The last exhibition I saw was the Zoffany retrospective at the Royal Academy – thoroughly enjoyable. He was an exceptionally skilled, insightful and playful painter. His self-portraits are fascinating, witty and honest, and the sense of movement and life in all his portraits and groups is really wonderful. His ability to puzzle, please, amuse and shock is based on a real training in all the skills I feel an artist should have. He should be better known – not that it'll do him any good now...
A L Kennedy's 'The Blue Book' is on the long list for the Orange Prize
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 Engineer pictured fixing plane's engine with 'duct tape' by concerned EasyJet passenger
- 2 Two-year-old says goodbye to bin man best friend
- 3 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 4 There is something wrong but very right about this Bible illustration
- 5 Remove smartphones from the hands of under-18s and maybe they will grow up to be less dumb
Jay Z's Tidal could be about to lose Beyonce's music in ultimate humiliation
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
Thrill of the chaste: The truth about Gandhi's sex life
Bob Dylan: How the Isle of Wight festival managed to steal the voice of a generation from Woodstock
Big Brother 2015 new housemates: Simon Gross returns as stripper Marc O'Neill, model Harry Amelia Martin and X Factor reject Sam Kay join
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
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
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'