'Banter', 'Aspiration', 'Selfie'? Not this year, thank you very much
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BOOKS / Classic Thoughts: Brains thrill to the core: Lucasta Miller on Charlotte Bronte's Villette (1853)
Saturday 29 May 1993
UNLIKE Jane Eyre, which has become one of the iconic love stories of popular culture, Charlotte Bronte's Villette is an acquired taste. Matthew Arnold thought it 'hideous, undelightful, convulsive'. Harriet Martineau found it 'almost intolerably painful'. Indeed, far from reflecting the sentimental, purple-heathery image which the Bronte sisters have since acquired, Villette is irreducibly disturbing.
Wednesday 26 May 1993
THE Canadian brewery Labatt's has completed a pounds 2m sponsorship deal with Apollo Leisure, giving it exclusive rights to distribute its lagers at Apollo's rock venues in Manchester and London, plus a logo on the two buildings. Fair enough; but why can't it leave the names of these small pieces of cultural history alone? The Hammersmith Odeon - where most of the big names in music, including the Beatles, have played - had already been renamed the Hammersmith Apollo. Now it is to be called the Labatt's Apollo. When will companies putting money into popular culture realise that the names of these venues have a resonance that they have no right to destroy?
Thursday 28 January 1993
The Royal Academy's annual report showed that the Pop Art Show put on in association with the Independent attracted 263,740 visitors, the largest attendance for an exhibition at the academy in the past year.
Thursday 03 December 1992
Part sinister fairy-tale and part shaggy-dog story, Peta Lily's brilliant tour de force probes the dark recesses of the mind where sexual fantasies take root, fed on a rich diet of popular culture. We are in Angela Carter's Bloody Chamber, but there's also more than a touch of The Real Inspector Hound, as Dr Penelope Second (Lily), the surgical gynaecologist who has invented a unique form of stitching, is investigated by the lunatic detective Stiltskin for the macabre murder of her former lover, Dr John Lord. Aided and abetted by Philip Pellew, who gamely plays all the other roles from a dog to a corpse, Lily builds a compelling portrait of a multi-faceted woman whose cool exterior hides a throbbing subconscious where father fixations become entwined with childhood memories of Little Red Riding Hood. David Glass's good-looking production - half dream, half nightmare - makes inventive use of a musical soundtrack which is pure movie magic and builds to a shuddering and shocking climax.
Sunday 23 August 1992
LIVING in Cumbria, William Scammell faces the dilemma of the poet whose habitat has already become literature. In these post-modern times, ignoring the notables and quotables at your shoulder is scarcely an option, though. Bleeding Heart Yard (Peterloo pounds 6.95), his latest volume, provides a genial 'open house' for many, from William Wordsworth, famous for 'walking sideways, / going boom boom boom' to Ken Russell, 'brandishing his Panaflex / at Mother Nature's teeming sex . . . '
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