Arts and Entertainment

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.

juste a mot

A fortnightly update on new words, compiled in association with Chambers Dictionaries

ARTS : pick of the day


Faust, furious and surprisingly funny

For many, Goethe's 'Faust' is about as 'high' as high art gets. But Howard Brenton, with a new translation for the RSC, celebrates its wicked sense of humour



A very angry young woman

Sick? Who are you calling sick? What's really sick is the reaction to my play, says Sarah Kane of Blasted.

Sad streets where life is a gas

the miracle shed Philip MacCann Faber £8.99

All lines of communication seem to have broken down

I have two television images stuck in my mind. I saw them at Christmas time and now, whenever my mind goes vacant, they float into view, like bath toys coming round from behind your back for the seventh time.

MUSIC / Old boys will be boys

London Sinfonietta - Barbican, London

BOOK REVIEW / Royalties for a naked lunch: 'The Good Ship Venus: The Erotic Voyage of the Olympia Press' - John de St Jorre: Hutchinson, 20 pounds

WHAT kind of man would publish titles like White Thighs, Bottoms Up, The Loins of Amon, The Whipping Club or Heaven, Hell and the Whore? Oddly enough, the kind of man who also published Samuel Beckett, Lawrence Durrell, Jean Genet, Henry Miller, Vladimir Nabokov and J P Donleavy.

BOOK REVIEW / Memory drowns the bureauprats: 'The Last Lesson of the Afternoon' - Christopher Rush: Canongate Press, 9.99 pounds: Jason Cowley on the long melancholy withdrawing roar of Christopher Rush's intimate and compelling new novel

READING the new novel by Christopher Rush is like stumbling on the open diary of a friend: each detail is compellingly personal, every event is irresistibly revealing. Written in a colloquial, garrulously splenetic first person, it has the charge and urgency of good autobiography, even though the story it tells amounts to little more than a stream of calamities and sorrows.

Glyndebourne stands by booed feminist opera

GLYNDEBOURNE yesterday defended the controversial production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, which received the loudest boos ever heard there.

BOOK REVIEW / Waiting for doodle: 'The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett, Volume I: Waiting for Godot' - Ed Donald McMillan & James Knowlson: Faber, 75 pounds

ONCE upon a time he could not get his plays performed or his novels published; today Samuel Beckett's every doodle is jealously preserved in archives and by those individuals fortunate enough to own them. Even his production notes for the plays he himself directed are being eagerly published. Faber is planning volumes on Endgame, Krapp and the shorter plays, but has kicked off with the play that made Beckett famous, Waiting for Godot. The volume consists of a reconstructed text, based on the changes Beckett made for his 1975 Schiller-Theatre production and his 1984 San Quentin Drama Workshop production, plus a facsimile and transcription / translation of notebooks he kept while working on the German production, beautifully produced and with copious notes by the editors.

BEST-SELLERS / Top 10 Postcard Portraits

----------------------------------------------------------------- TOP 10 POSTCARD PORTRAITS ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 . . Elizabeth I 2. . .Henry VIII 3. . .Bronte Sisters 4. . .Virginia Woolf 5. . .Shakespeare 6. . .Emily Bronte 7. . .Anne Boleyn 8. . .Ellen Terry 9. . .Richard III 10 . . Samuel Beckett ----------------------------------------------------------------- Chart supplied by the National Portrait Gallery (071-306 0055) -----------------------------------------------------------------

BOOK REVIEW / A raft of love goes sailing off: A second life - Dermot Bolger: Viking, pounds 15

LOST in a world of perpetual disintegration, Samuel Beckett's Unnameable aspired 'to start again from nowhere, from no one, and from nothing'. After lying clinically dead for a few seconds following a car crash, the narrator of A Second Life, a photographer called Sean Blake, wakes 'from nowhere,' to find himself in a position of comparable existential extremity.
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