Errors and Omissions: Perhaps it’s time to review our First Night policy

Plus: Wheels of misfortune and a nasty spell in Sussex

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Not all arts reviews appear on our arts pages. With a live event – a concert, say, or the opening of a play – we put them in the news pages under the title “First Night”. It’s an established way of doing things, but it struck me this week that some First Nights are not quite what they seem.

On page 3 of Wednesday’s paper, we published a prominent First Night review of a radio programme – a Tom Stoppard creation called Darkside based on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album. I looked at the piece and thought, damn, I’d have liked to hear that. Except that what we were reviewing wasn’t quite a First Night – it was actually an advance broadcast of the programme at an invitation-only “happening”, as we described it, at the BBC. This was clearly an event worth covering, but should we have called it a “First Night”?

We mere mortals get the chance to hear Darkside when it is broadcast on Radio 2 over the August bank holiday weekend, and no doubt we’ll review it all over again in the Radio column. With so much advance activity around arts events, the whole First Night concept is becoming increasingly blurred.

Wheels of misfortune

We rode into a pothole with some of our cycling coverage this week, starting with our news report on Monday of the London-Surrey ride featuring 17,000 amateurs. A picture caption referred to some of them passing the Ritz hotel, but you did not have to look very closely to see that the cyclists were not amateurs at all but riders in the professsionals’ race that took place some hours later. Cycling caption-itis struck again the next day when we said that the 2014 Tour de France “will feature this year’s winner Chris Froome”. Really? So sure? A lot can happen between now and next July.

A spell in Sussex

We celebrated Sussex’s non-conformism in a feature last Saturday and broke with convention ourselves with our spelling of Lewes in a graphic accompanying the piece. Lewis? Try the Hebrides.

Guy Keleny is away

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