Speeches in the House of Commons by the Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg are an erudite comedy turn. As MPs debated the European Union (Approvals) Bill (Lords), which writes into British law two draft regulations passed by the Council of the European Union, only he thought it necessary to read into the official record part of what one of the regulations actually said.
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Thursday 30 July 2009
The overture to 'Das Rheingold' is one of classical music's boldest strokes, as a single bass note slowly expands upwards into a vast major chord, whose eddying ramifications remain static and unchanged for 136 bars. Under Valery Gergiev's febrile beat, the Mariinsky orchestra beautifully realises this effect, and for the next 150 minutes faithfully reflects every colour-shift in this opera's majestic musical journey.
Sunday 28 June 2009
Tuesday 23 June 2009
Here's a first. As the sweetly atmospheric prelude fades away, the stillness is rudely shattered by the abrasive wail of an air-raid siren sounding the all-clear. Two gas-masked faces peep around a gigantic door. It sits at the centre of sinister, charcoal-drawn walls depicting the forbidding forest beyond. We are in wartime, for sure, a time of fear and austerity and rationing, but whether in Germany or dear old Blighty (there are resonances of both and the sung language is German, of course) is pretty much irrelevant to Stephen Barlow's wittily effective staging. What matters to Hänsel and Gretel is that it's a strange world to be growing up in.
Friday 17 April 2009
Friday 27 March 2009
In her latest novel Fay Weldon, a writer who never sounds less than contemporary, turns her brainy gaze on the muddle of modern family life. The diary of the title belongs to Sappho, a young playwright married to a widower 19 years her senior, and stepmother to his two children.
Sunday 01 March 2009
Sunday 25 January 2009
By returning to outmoded expressions such as "melancholia", and challenging the kind of five-step recovery programmes for dealing with loss favoured by popular psychologists such as Elizabeth Kubler Ross, Darian Leader hopes to re-route society's current vogue for chemically dominated responses to what is seen overall as "depression" into something more specific and more psychoanalytically based.
Thursday 06 November 2008
<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/10/gordon-on-the-c.html">Ed Howker: Gordon on the couch</a>
Friday 10 October 2008
According to psychologist Lucy Beresford, Gordon Brown is 'deeply insecure' and bringing Peter Mandelson back was "Freudian" bordering on "self-mutilating behaviour".
Thursday 18 September 2008
Among British holidaymakers looking for love, the Italians are considered the most desirable nationality. However, a fling with a fellow Briton comes a close second. Bringing up the rear for both men and females were Americans and people from the Caribbean.
Monday 15 September 2008
Over the past 150 years, it seems the study of sex has interacted with society at large to influence, and be influenced by, current morals, ideologies and social behaviours.
Monday 15 September 2008
Dostoevsky's obsession with physical and mental pain, coupled with his relentlessly emphatic style, means that The Brothers Karamazov is not the ideal book to curl up with. Nor is this 900-page emotional odyssey ideal fodder for opera: two operas have been drawn from it, but neither has stood the test of time.
Sunday 27 July 2008
Why does time seem to speed up as we get older, racing ahead of us towards an inevitable and final end point? Why do new experiences seem to stretch time, and why does it often fly when we're having fun and drag when we aren't? Roving through an eclectic range of ideas, some drawn from psychology and psychoanalysis, a few from his own imagination, Taylor doesn't really offer answers so much as ideas. Given that this book is a popular paperback rather than a peer-reviewed thesis, that's a very good thing indeed.
Monday 16 June 2008
Stephen King: Will our central banks make a Freudian slip over their illusory control of price stability?
Tuesday 27 May 2008
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia