Cultural Life: Philippa Gregory, novelist
Friday 27 August 2010
Books: I am reading Adam Thorpe's 'Hodd' – a fictional account of Robin Hood, alongside David Baldwin's biography 'Robin Hood: The English Outlaw Unmasked'. It's fascinating to compare the two treatments. Baldwin finds his way through the medieval world, explaining the gaps in the manuscript, and Thorpe has written the manuscript we are missing. It's a wonderful historical jigsaw puzzle and perfect to be read side by side.
Television: I know this is trashy but I love 'The City' on MTV which is a sort-of fly on the wall view of interns in the New York fashion industry. The clothes! The shoes! The nasty girls!
Opera: I had the privilege of seeing Opera North in rehearsal for Donizetti's 'Maria Stuarda', and even with a piano and in rehearsal, I could feel the power of the music. It was tremendous. The production was an unabashed historical fiction with costumes used to enhance the story and to hell with historical accuracy. It was a great gothic battle between two queens and they played it to the hilt.
Ballet: I adore traditional ballet and 'La Fille Mal Gardée' is like 'Giselle' without anything going wrong. Instead of misplaced love and tragic madness and suicide, the beautiful girl in the cottage marries the handsome boy and looks set to live happily every after. It is all tremendously pretty and the humour prevents it from being too saccharine. The Royal Ballet did it earlier this year and I loved it (below).
Visual Arts: The richness of colour and the imagination of the design of the elephants in London and the wildly extravagant oversupply of them. This was modern urban art at its playful best.
'The Red Queen' by Philippa Gregory is published by Simon and Schuster, £18.99.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Arts & Ents blogs
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber 'retiring from music'
Coriolanus, theatre review: 'Tom Hiddleston has blazing stellar power'
Nymphomaniac, film review: 'Despite the surreal sex scenes this is a serious drama'
Call the Midwife Christmas special: Behind the scenes with Miranda Hart
Justin Bieber's mishaps and controversies
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Ian Watkins: Police probed over earlier allegations as paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
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