Without question, the book that has most influenced my life has been Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs. I was astonished by the outrageous pot-head humour: crazy ideas taken way beyond their normal limits. The book was a savage indictment of American racism and consumerism, it dealt with the corruption, graft and lies of politicians with Swiftian humour. I had never read anything like, then or since.
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Sunday 08 August 2010
Monday 24 May 2010
Saturday 15 May 2010
Sunday 11 April 2010
Monday 08 March 2010
Analysis of the handwriting of the leaders of the main political parties has found that Gordon Brown "won't be told what to do", David Cameron is "skilled at talking his way in and out of things" and Nick Clegg can "get what he wants without aggression".
Sunday 24 January 2010
Wednesday 30 December 2009
Braving the elements like some communal version of King Lear, the utterly idiosyncratic Footsbarn collective have mounted the first yuletide show at Shakespeare's Globe. Performed in cold, rainy but elatingly festive conditions on the night that I attended, Christmas Cracker ends in the same joyously eccentric, wondrously witty and indissolubly Shakespearean manner that has marked its progress over two unequal portions. Streamers suddenly fall through wintry air, spring suddenly puts in an inordinately early and floral appearance and the company joins in a bonkers but beautiful rendition of "Summer Is Icumen In".
Sunday 20 December 2009
Samuel Beckett wrote these stories in the 1940s – the first begun in English but completed in French, the others all written in French and later translated by Beckett. Edited here with a witty and erudite preface by Christopher Ricks, the first three form a mini-trilogy of the adventures, if that's the right word, of a solitary deadbeat; the fourth is a close relative in terms of themes and voice. In it, another homeless deadbeat falls in love with a woman who comes to sit on his park bench; he knows it's real love when he finds himself writing her name with his finger in a cow pat (and afterwards sucking the finger).
Monday 30 November 2009
Thursday 22 October 2009
It's an old adage, but it's worth repeating: a human being looks taller, and gets to see further, when he climbs up on another man's shoulders. What can this possibly mean when applied to the practice of artists? It's quite simple. When you make a work, you give it added gravitas by claiming that it refers to, or incorporates elements from, great works of the past. They needn't be works by visual artists alone. They could be by writers too. Samuel Beckett, for example, has been flogged to death in this respect. As a consequence you half-suggest – it is really super-subtle – that you are claiming some kind of parity of achievement, or perhaps that by this simple fact of incorporation of elements from the past, you are even surpassing what you have borrowed from or alluded to.
Tuesday 13 October 2009
Monday 12 October 2009
A huge "black hole" was unveiled today as the latest exhibition at the Tate Modern.
Friday 11 September 2009
A couple of tramps, an off-stage potentate with a made-up name who never materialises, a strange slave at the end of a rope spouting nonsense (or is it?). A slave master. A little boy. And that's it. What happens? Well, nothing of course. They wait. They say "let's go." They do not move.
Friday 28 August 2009
The venerable Staatskapelle Dresden arrived at the Proms proudly bearing the excess luggage of Strauss’ Alpine Symphony – a piece dedicated expressly to them.
Wednesday 15 July 2009
A celebrated French society photographer is to stand trial for defrauding the principal shareholder of L'Oréal out of almost a billion euros by taking advantage of her age and confused mental condition.
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'
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