The Saturday Miscellany: Eimear McBride's bookshelf; immersive theatre; how to survive Domesday; inaugural Emmy nominees


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

How to: Survive Domesday

By Katherine Landergan

A nuclear bomb has exploded in Britain – now what? In the event of a nuclear attack, the BBC will play a pre-recorded set of instructions over its airwaves. Here's some of its apocalyptic advice:

"Radioactive fallout is many times more dangerous if you are directly exposed to it in the open. Roofs and walls offer substantial protection. Make sure gas and other fuel supplies are turned off."

"Refill all your containers for drinking water after any fires have been put out, because the mains supply may not be available for long."

"Ration your food supply, because it may have to last for 14 days or more. If you live in an area where a fallout warning has been given, stay in your fallout room... Stay tuned to this wavelength, but switch your radios off now to save your batteries until we come on the air again."

Rotating column: Dark matters

By Alice Jones

Immersive theatre has been hot stuff for the past few years but it can be a bit of hassle. Finding the venue, walking around, interacting. There is a simpler way. Turn off the lights. All of them, mind. Take the Samuel Beckett trilogy now showing at London's Royal Court. The only light for an hour is a spotlight on the actress. No footlights, no green EXIT signs.

In between plays, the theatre is plunged into pitch darkness. The real deal, where you can't see your hands, the sort of suffocating blackness that makes you wonder if you might just possibly be dead. It's rare to find that in the modern city and audiences are poleaxed by it. Nobody coughs, nobody fiddles with a phone, everyone has something to talk about when the lights come up. Ta-da: total theatrical immersion at the flick of a switch.

This article was written in broad daylight

Micro extract: Swiss rolling

"Catch the train today and it's like travelling in a mobile United Nations, with barely a Swiss voice to be heard. No wonder the announcements come in multiple languages."

From 'Slow Train to Switzerland' by Diccon Bewes (£18.99, Nicholas Brealey Publishing)

Four play: Inaugural Emmy nominees*

1. Don Lee Music Hall

2. Armchair detective

3. Mabel's Fables

4. Tuesday varieties

*first ceremony, today 1949

Instant ethics

Dear Ellen

Q. A job has come up at my office which would suit my unemployed pal, but I really don't want to work with her.

A. Be selfish. Don't tell her. Then spend weeks combing the internet in search of better job opportunities you can send her way. This is known as 'karmic off-setting' and it's just as effective as the carbon variety.