The new Library of Birmingham ticks all the boxes as far as so-called landmark architecture is concerned. Designed by Mecanoo, a star international practice. Slightly wild façade. Even more dramatic central atrium, spiralling up through the building. And at the pinnacle, a golden ark containing the city’s original 1882 Shakespeare archive room.
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Saturday 16 February 2013
The undulating ski slopes of Faraya, with their sweeping views over the Mediterranean, are one place in Lebanon you expect to be able to escape from sniping sectarian politics.
Friday 15 February 2013
Saturday 03 November 2012
When I was not quite 15, my dad, who was the kindest of fathers, decided that I should learn what 'real' work meant. He was a trade union leader, head of what is now the PCS – the Public and Commercial Services Union – having come to that brand of socialism via a youthful commitment to communism. His particular union served that branch of the public sector which included office cleaners. Indeed, it was his proud boast that he had been responsible for unionising the public sector cleaners.
Tuesday 05 June 2012
Porn actor wanted over murder of ex-lover is captured in police raid on internet café in Germany
Saturday 07 April 2012
Where once stood Marilyn, now stands Delia, in a Norwich City scarf. HG Wells has been ousted by JK Rowling, Marlene Dietrich bumped by Kate Moss. As for John, George and Ringo – they're nowhere to be seen.
Thursday 23 June 2011
When Ray Davies saunters on in a dapper silver-grey suit to welcome Madness to Meltdown, the band's fans cheer in delight. They understand The Kinks' influence on these subsequent specialists in North London working-class bittersweet vignettes. Saxophonist and non-singer Lee Thompson later jokingly checks if Davies has left the building, before a chucking-out-time pub version of "Where Have All the Good Times Gone". The real tribute comes as Madness stake their place in its tradition, with songs that are worldly-wise, sometimes weary and always for the underdog, played with rare confidence tonight.
Sunday 24 April 2011
It's a curiosity that so many memoirs by runners emphasise the pain rather than the pleasure of an activity that is, after all, wholly optional.
Friday 25 March 2011
Friday 04 February 2011
The most exciting day of young Stephen Newman's life is trying on Marilyn Monroe's mink stole. In the warehouse where his father works, caring for movie stars' fur coats, Stephen sees what transformation a draped pelt brings, while "exercising his birthright, the American capacity to be reborn."
Wednesday 11 August 2010
Friday 09 July 2010
Lucky Kunene, anti-hero of this tale of post-apartheid opportunism, announces at the outset that his two icons are Karl Marx and Al Capone.
Thursday 27 May 2010
I was recently told, by someone who ought to know, that The Archers is ruminating on its own greatest taboo. When, if ever, should the everyday story of country folk stage its first murder? There have, of course, been deaths aplenty in Ambridge.
Friday 02 April 2010
Armed with a map and a brown paper bag of broken savoury biscuits, I, along with a group of other intrepid Londoners, set off to bring the city's past to life through food and art this week. This was Broken Biscuits, a brilliantly devised cultural/gastronomic tour in and around the streets of East London, curated by Isabel de Vasconcellos and the artist and concept chef Caroline Hobkinson for the charity Art against Knives.
Sunday 28 February 2010
For several thousand years, the sword held sway as the pre-eminent weapon of choice. And almost from the start it seems to have been realised that practice in swordplay could be stylised as a sporting contest; an Egyptian relief from Luxor dated around 1190 BC clearly depicts two men fencing, complete with judges.
Friday 03 July 2009
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
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