Life and Style

Creators claim that  “the name ‘Coinye’ is intended solely as parody, not an indication or implication of endorsement or involvement"

Proust, Dostoevsky? No, simply the holiday diary of a duchess

Students of parody were last night wondering how they could possibly better the efforts of the Duchess of York, who this week publishes her holiday diary in the Spectator.

DANCE Reality in American Dreams SBC, London

David Rousseve is a choreographer, writer, director, dancer and actor. He lays claims to all these trades in the programme for his show American Dreams but the evening of unsatisfying extracts on offer last Tuesday provided little evidence of his mastery of any of them. No one questions the sincerity of his wish to raise our awareness of the oppression and exploitation of minority groups but the road to theatrical tedium is paved with such good intentions.

Letter: Too coy on constitutional reform

Sir: Timing, they say, is the essence of good comedy. Bad luck, then, for Hackney councillor Jeremy Killingray to write his hilarious parody of crassly callous MBA-speak about social work (letter, 11 April) on the very day that Polly Toynbee reports what it is like to live in one of Hackney's housing estates ("The run-down estate we're in").

Book review / Wet and windy: outlook great

A PAINTED FIELD by Robin Robertson Picador pounds 12

PETER YORK ON ADS; Burt Reynolds puts himself in every frame

No 169: DOLLOND & AITCHISON

On the Pyst

CD-Roms

The funny thing about a good parody...

I think that I shall never see

Vatican fumes over peasant tale parody

There are two books that all Italians are forced to read by the time they leave school. One is Dante's Divine Comedy, a work whose merits and importance are contested by nobody. The other is a sweeping 19th- century historical novel by Alessandro Manzoni called I Promessi Sposi, known in its scarcely read English translation as The Betrothed.

Letter: Yearning for a new MP

Sir: I am writing to thank David Aaronovitch ("The Diva from Hell", 3 May) for his pointed parody of our dreadful Conservative MP for Gravesham, Mr Jacques Arnold.

Theatre: Miss Julie; The Gate, London

Dangling from hooks over the front of the stage in the Actors Touring Company's new production of Miss Julie is a line-up of kitchen implements such as would come inhandy if you were to take up cooking a la Jeffrey Dahmer. Luridly lit through the polythene sheeting which makes the "offstage" areas macabrely visible to us, Kristin Hewson's glaring- eyed Kristin can be seen, at the start, raising a cleaver. You don't need to be a genius to predict that, sooner or later, something is for the chop. Nor does it take long to recognise that what is being knifed in the back here is Strindberg's play.

Gallery gunslingers on a shoot to thrill

Video art: Photographer tapes Wild West enthusiasts for South Bank showing

All you need to know about the books you meant to read; This week: Don Quixote by Cervantes (1605 & 1615)

Plot: Initially the novel is a parody of chivalric romances and reflects their episodic structure. The story is relayed by two narrators whose versions of events sometimes conflict.

television Pulp Video (BBC2)

reviews: Jasper Rees on the pros and cons of making jokes about burgers

classical music: double play; Matthews: Broken Symmetry; Suns Dance; Fourth Sonata London Sinfonietta / Oliver Knussen (DG 447 067-2)

If anyone can raise Deutsche Grammophon's contemporary profile, Oliver Knussen can. He must be thinking it's Christmas: a new contract - a free hand (?). How long before the commercial restraints go on? We must wait and see. And listen. Colin Matthews is a promising place to start: he isn't trendy, he certainly isn't "commercial" - not of the "new age" or "faith minimalist" persuasion. He's just a rather good composer.

Radioreview: THE DEATH OF ALEXANDER SCRIABIN Radio 3

It's hard to pinpoint when it was that Ken Russell drifted over the line into self-parody. There's always been an air of parody about his films, which I put down to two reasons. First, he refuses, more or less on principle, to adopt a serious tone - the seriousness, he thinks, is so deep in the core of everything he does that he can afford to chuck in a bit of arsing about on top. Second, his favourite theme is the way in which the earthy, sexy side of human natures collides with the civilised, intellectual (and, naturally, artificial) bits. This means that his films are full of lurid juxtapositions of high art and low comedy, the rarefied and the downright dirty; and this kind of juxtaposition is a common technique of parody.
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