Cultural Life: Tim Lott, writer

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The Independent Culture


Practically everything I see is good, much of it is brilliant. A special mention to Tilda Swinton's remarkable performance in Michael Clayton, and also to Junebug, a paragon of indie film-making. Otherwise, The Darjeeling Limited, Charlie Wilson's War and Away from Her are all pretty special. I love American imports and am religious about Dexter and Curb Your Enthusiasm.


I was hoping to use A Perfect Mess – The Hidden Benefits of Disorder to destroy my wife's complaints about my slovenliness, but it turns out to be mainly business-oriented and a tad dull. I've been listening to short stories from the New Yorker podcast and bought The Siege of Krishnapur by J G Farrell. They don't write 'em like that any more. Other than that it's all been the longlist for Le Prince Maurice Prize, of which I'm president.


I got an iPod for my birthday, so I've been downloading my CDs and re-listening to a few erstwhile dust-gatherers. I've discovered to my surprise that Joni Mitchell's Travelogue is actually her best album, that Jefferson Airplane haven't really stood the test of time, and have been wondering what the lyrics to Toots and the Maytals' "Monkey Man" mean. Nothing, probably.


McKellen's King Lear. My God, I was stunned. I've seen a lot of Lears, but this production had me in helpless tears, and I was struck that should another great genius come along and write a play this soul-shredding no one would ever produce it.

Visual arts

Louise Bourgeois at Tate: incredible, her depictions of the interior of the mind as a furnished room or space were visionary. At the Serpentine Gallery I went to see Anthony McCall's light installations twice, something I never do. The evanescent became solid, it magicked the ordinary world into mystery.

Tim Lott is the president of Le Prince Maurice Prize for literary love stories; the shortlist is announced on 6 March. His latest book, 'Fearless', is published by Walker Books