Arts and Entertainment

Where are you now and what can you see?

I’m at the BBC recording Front Row and apparently I’m looking at a brass bust of Henry Wood. The statue is in the foyer.

A happy tale of book value

Alternative investments: buy that new novel now - you may find yourself with a lucrative rarity

Cut it out

As BBC2 this evening shows the second part of a documentary history of British film censorship, several former British Board of Film Classification examiners have broken their silence on years of acrimonious disagreement within the BBFC between the majority of the examiners and the senior management.

Amis calls in the money man

The country's coolest novelist has set book publishers quivering by his choice of agent to win him £500,000. John Walsh reports strap includes john walsh byline

BOOK REVIEW / Imaginary journeys of a daydreamer: 'The Daydreamer' - Ian McEwan: Cape, 8.99

THE GREAT dreamers of literature - from Don Quixote to Walter Mitty - win us over not with charm or brainpower but by the sheer force of their foolishness. In a world dominated by cynical and knowing realists they offer guilelessness as a virtue and remind us that innocence is superior to experience, that only bores see windmills where they could, if they wished, see giants.

BOOK REVIEW / Vanishing cream: 'The Daydreamer' - Ian McEwan: Cape, 8.99 pounds

IN THE dystopic, not-too-distant future that is the setting for Ian McEwan's 1987 novel, The Child in Time, a 49-year-old Tory junior minister regresses to short-trousered, catapult-brandishing boyhood, withdrawing from the world of telegrams and anger to a makeshift treehouse. His middle-aged infantilism is meant to represent what can happen when the virtues of immaturity are prevented by authoritarian codes of child- rearing from being carried over into adulthood.

In a world made by adults

HAVE children ever been more demonised than they are today? 'Little horrors', people call them, and hardly a day goes by without some story of brutality and lost innocence: six-year-olds wrecking a house; an eight-year-old holding up a sweet shop at gunpoint; a 12-year-old raping a pensioner. Above all, there was the Bulger case: abduction, murder, two 11-year-olds truanting from childhood straight to hell. 'Evil', said the tabloids. One policeman compared them to the Krays.

A CRITICAL GUIDE / Video

NEW RELEASES

The Hay Festival

The Independent and the Independent on Sunday are the new sponsors of the Hay Festival, which takes place in Hay-on-Wye from 20-30 May 1994. It is one of the largest literary festivals in the world, and this year there will be more than 200 writers and performers taking part in more than 100 events.

James Bulger: The death of innocence: There are no meanings to be found in James Bulger's murder, says Geraldine Bedell, except that it shows us hell

'THESE two monsters could have been your children,' screamed the headline in France Soir on Thursday. And this has been the fear that has gripped the imagination this past week: that those boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, with their smooth skins, their school uniforms, their soft mouths, could have been any children, given different circumstances. All children experiment, test out their power, wonder 'what if?'. Did James Bulger's murderers simply experiment too far? Did they find themselves caught up in an afternoon of destruction from which there seemed no escape but further, and more final, violence? Was the coming together of those three children at the Strand shopping centre in Bootle on 12 February simply an aberration? Or does it offer lessons that could prevent its ever happening again?

Book prize-winner loses out

PARIS (Reuter) - The cream of France's feminist literati yesterday awarded their annual Femina book prize to a male writer, Marc Lambron - but he may not be altogether pleased. Literary commentators said he stood to lose a lot of money by being a pawn in the 90-year battle for supremacy between France's two oldest literary prizes, the Femina and the Goncourt.

FILM / 'I thought nothing could possibly go wrong. Huh]': Ian McEwan was happy with his first Hollywood film. It was small, but classy. Then along came Macaulay Culkin's dad . . . Sabine Durrant reports

Macaulay Culkin, the million-dollar-bairn with the sticky-out ears, has a new film this autumn. It's called The Good Son and it's making everyone 'very excited'. The studio is backing a 'teaser' campaign, the Culkin clan is celebrating Mack's agility in a serious role and the audience at the try-outs started talking to the screen - which is a good sign, apparently. But the scriptwriter, the British novelist Ian McEwan, is not excited. He hasn't seen the film - from which he considers himself 'sacked' - and he will not be going to LA to celebrate the opening. 'When I read that I've sold out and am writing movies for Macaulay Culkin,' he says stiffly, 'that I'm 'prostrating' my talent, I bridle. For one thing, I wrote the script when Macaulay Culkin was five years old.'

TELEVISION / Author] Author]

JOHN UPDIKE looked very pleased with himself on The Late Show last night (BBC 2) but then how would you not, if you were him? A novelist of extraordinary, magisterial powers, he is capable of lifting weights that would leave lesser artists gasping, and yet the serene authority of his prose never wavers. Throughout his conversation with Ian McEwan he had a tight, secretive smile on his face - suggestive of a private amusement at the conceits of the world - whether he was talking about the absurdities of sex or the gravity of human guilt. To anyone who didn't know the novels, this Olympian affability might have been a little off-putting but it seemed unlikely that anyone but devotees would be watching.

BOOK REVIEW / New blood, not much bite: 'Suckers' - Anne Billson: Pan, 4.99 pounds

SAY WHAT you like about the Best of Young British Novelists malarky (and why not? everyone else has), as a promotional ploy it seems to be working. Here is a first novel whose racy title and foil encrustations might normally earn it little serious critical notice. But the name on the cover is Anne Billson, one of the 20 newly anointed; ergo sudden, if provisional, respect.

BOOK REVIEW / Brief encounters, strange meetings: Nicolette Jones tries the season's best shorts

PUBLISHERS have been known to declare that short stories are uncommercial and that people want only novels. But anthologies of short fiction are back in fashion, perhaps because stories are suited to our pressurised lives: you can read an entire tale on the bus or in bed or at the hairdressers.
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