Cultural Life: Ben Bradshaw, culture secretary

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The Independent Culture


Sameem Ali's 'Belonging' – an autobiographical account of escape from a forced marriage and abusive family. Before that, the biography of the great Labour politician and first Arts minister Jennie Lee by Patricia Hollis.


'Nowhere Boy' – Sam Taylor Wood's wonderful evocation of the early life of John Lennon, which premiered on the closing night of the London Film Festival. Also saw and loved 'Fishtank' recently.


Whatever's on Radio 3. Saw Kurt Masur conducting Mendelssohn's 'Elijah' at the Festival Hall to mark the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which made up for not being able to get to Berlin.

Theatre & Opera

'Enron' and 'Jerusalem' at the Royal Court and Jude Law's 'Hamlet' – all great. 'Tristan and Isolde' at the Royal Opera House (Nina Stemme is the best Isolde since Nilsson) and 'The Turn of the Screw' at English National Opera – with Sir Charles Mackerras, who did the original production, conducting.

Visual Arts

Richard Long and the summer show at the Tate, Jeff Koons at the Serpentine, Gay Icons at the National Portrait Gallery and Exeter Arts Society annual show.