Saturday 22 August 1998
by Christopher Hilton
Audiosport, c.2hrs, pounds 8.99
Sudden untimely death is the most powerful memento mori: the search for significance in the half-lived life can be agonisingly intense. is the tragic story of the racing-driver who thought, wrongly, he had a private deal with God. It could easily have degenerated into hagiography, laced as it is with Chris Rea's song "Saudade", but Christopher Hilton's account of how the spookily private Senna lived his life - the first sound he made was an imitation gear change, and he was given his first go-kart aged four - is impressively objective. The greatest irony of all was that he had already decided that the race in which he was killed was to have been his last Formula One outing.
Before I Say Goodbye
by Ruth Picardie
Penguin, c.3 hrs, pounds 8.99
The journalist Ruth Picardie was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 31, a year after the birth of her twins. This tribute is made up of intimate, often desperately ignoble e-mails, the seven more polished columns she wrote for The Observer on the subject, and reactions of family and friends to her death. Together they frame a thoroughly modern young woman who had to face a cruel truth - and did so in a thoroughly modern way. Saddest of all is the long list of quacks and desperate remedies that all failed to alter the "black river of loss" in which she was drowning; most splendid is the bravery with which she could say out loud that "the bottom line is, I'm dying".
Arts & Ents blogs
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show