Month: April 2014

Music as an adventure playground

Music: What is it good for? In the 1970s, at a time when we were less anxious about many things than we are today, there was a vogue for adventure playgrounds in which young people could scramble about, get dirty, build dens… Read More

Whose line is it, anyway?

One lovely evening this summer, I stood waiting in the lobby of the Market Theatre in the Herefordshire town of Ledbury. The sunshine spilling through the windows was starting to get uncomfortably warm, but no one seemed to mind. The space was… Read More

Remembering not to forget

Forgotten empire The almost complete absence of imperialism and particularly of colonialism from British public discourse has always struck me as problematic in itself and a sign of immaturity. Even a keen follower of British politics, media and the arts would only… Read More

Status anxiety

This is an anxious time for the 700-odd organisations who get regular funding from Arts Council England, and for those who don’t yet, but hope to. They had to submit applications in March and will learn in July whether they will be part… Read More

‘Looking for Melody’

Recreating Gainsbourg at Abbey Road My son has just completed his first independent film commission, for Coup Perdu records. Looking for Melody is a 50 minute documentary about the recording of Sine Qua Non, an album of Serge Gainsbourg songs recast in a jazz idiom. Filmed mainly at Abbey Road Studio… Read More

In search of gravitas

Gravitas, the heavy tread of moral earnestness, becomes a bore if it is not accompanied by the light step of intelligence.   (Kenneth Clark, Civilisation, Ch. 4) In 1969, the same year that a NASA programme named after a Classical Greek god put… Read More

The Budapest Observatory

  There’s has been a great increase in cultural policy data, research and commentary in recent years, reflecting culture’s greater importance in the postmodern world, and facilitated by the ease of modern communications. Twenty years ago, fact checking (to say nothing of library research) was slow… Read More