Life and Style
 

Drawings from the Codex Atlanticus were used by a Polish pianist to resurrect the 'mythical' instrument

CENTREFOLD / Elvis, wart and all: South Bank's shrine to the King

'The King' may be long dead but his legend lingers on, not least in the work of artist Joni Mabe, whose installation 'Everything Elvis' hits London tomorrow. What Mabe calls her 'travelling panoramic encyclopedia of Elvis' is an attempt by the artist to capture the essence of the shy country boy from Tupelo by juxtaposing a bizarre collection of objects. The walls of the Royal Festival Hall will be covered with Elvis trivia - photographs, posters, badges and clothing related to his life and the culture which it inspired. Here are the things which truly touched Elvis's powerful aesthetic awareness: personalised car number plates, medallions and paintings on velvet. Pride of place, though, is reserved for Mabe's prized personal possessions: water from Elvis's pool, mud from his garden, a vial of his sweat and one of his warts. Welcome to the shrine of St Elvis.

Silly Questions: A tongue-twister for Americans

WHY do Americans pronounce 'squirrel' as a monosyllable? According to R J Pickles: 'It is the result of a genetic speech defect where the tongue, when rolling a double 'r' in anticipation of the 'e', goes into a spasm which can only be relieved by the pronunciation of an 'l'. It has led to the grammatical rule in America that a double 'r' negates the following 'e' before an 'l'.'

BOOK REVIEW / A triumphant journey for madmen: 'Resurrection at Sorrow Hill' - Wilson Harris: Faber, 14.99

EVER SINCE the appearance of his first novel, Palace of the Peacock, in 1960, Wilson Harris, born in Guyana but long resident in London, has been acknowledged as a true original. Philosophy, criticism and fiction may seem unlikely occupations for a qualified land surveyor, but work expeditions into the awesome rainforest of the Guianas in the 1940s and '50s provided inspiration for many of his novels, including the latest, Resurrection at Sorrow Hill, and the newly reissued The Carnival Trilogy (Faber pounds 9.99).

Michelangelo sells for record pounds 4.18m

ALL EYES were on one man in Christie's London saleroom yesterday as a Michelangelo drawing sold for pounds 4.18m, the highest auction price for any Old Master drawing. That man was George Goldner, curator of the Getty Museum in California, United States, the world's richest museum, which was widely expected to buy it, writes Dalya Alberge.

Fertiliser island scents musical success: First Night: Leonardo

ART HISTORIANS in the audience may have felt queasy midway through Act One when Leonardo da Vinci slapped the Mona Lisa on the bum, and asked her to 'help me with my research'.

BOOK REVIEW / No meat, high moral fibre: The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism - Colin Spencer: 4th Estate, pounds 20

THE EARLIEST recorded jokes at the expense of vegetarians appear to date from the fourth and third centuries BC, according to Colin Spencer in this meticulously researched book. The followers of Pythagoras and his doctrine of asceticism inspired Antiphanes and Alexis and other Greek writers of comedy to much sarcastic banter about their strange dietary habits. Alexis, in Men of Tarentum, observed that the Pythagoreans 'are the only ones who drink no wine'. There are people today who believe that vegetarianism is synonymous with teetotalism. Some myths never seem to vanish.

Silly Question: The right leg wins yet again

SOME weeks ago, we questioned whether anti-clockwise races favoured athletes with longer right legs. Ian Selbourne has added significantly to the theory by pointing out that in one 400-metre lap, the right leg would travel nearly 63 centimetres more than the left.

Food and Drink: Pythagoras, Da Vinci, Hitler and Colin Spencer: The heretic's path to truth is lined with vegetables. Robert Tewdwr Moss went to lunch with the latest in a line of nonconformist eaters and thinkers

'I'M NOT strictly a vegetarian,' says Colin Spencer as we drive very slowly along a dirt track towards his house in Tunstall Forest, Suffolk. 'I do eat fish and game.' He is not quite a vegetarian who has written the first history of vegetarianism, just as he is not quite a homosexual who is now writing a history of homosexuality. Despite espousing various tenets about animal rights, Spencer is splendidly politically incorrect.

THEATRE / Love, Lennie da Vinci and me: Financed by a Pacific island, created by a maverick businessman, scored by the singer of 'Concrete & Clay', Leonardo is an unlikely addition to musical showbiz history. Sabine Durrant reports

LEONARDO - A Portrait of Love may be the first musical to be financed by seagull droppings. The show, about a love affair between Leonardo da Vinci and the Mona Lisa, previewed in Oxford last year before a small group of invited dignitaries - Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cameron Mackintosh's brother, Robert, a party of 10 from Debenhams, and a delegation from the Pacific island of Nauru. The President of Nauru, the Minister for Finance, the President's Special Adviser and their wives were particularly enthusiastic. Many were moved to tears. The Naurean President liked it, but then he'd already bought the company.

BOOK REVIEW / Last ripeness of the Renaissance: 'Leonardo da Vinci: The Artist and the Man' - Serge Bramly: Michael Joseph, 25 pounds

LEONARDO DA VINCI was cursed with abilities, but we need not envy him. Think of his restlessness as, twanging the strings of the intricate lyre he has designed, he worries whether to get on with his flying machine or his treatise on the behaviour of water, or those plans for a two-tier city; or, reluctantly, that painting over there, the one thing most likely to bring in the money.

MUSIC / Broadening the mind: Musica Transalpina - Almeida Theatre

'M usica Transalpina' ('Music from across the Alps'), originally the title of an English anthology of Italian madrigals, acquired new shades of meaning at the Almeida Opera Festival's two Thursday evening concerts. In the first, the intriguingly named I Fagiolini ('The Kidney Beans', apparently an undergraduate joke that stuck) gave an interestingly selected and well-balanced programme of mostly German and Italian secular vocal pieces, which showed how trans-Alpine influences worked in both directions during the 16th and 17th centuries.
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Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
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The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
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Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
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Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
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An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
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Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own