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The Ideal Husband Exhibition

  The thing is, we’ve been friends since our first day at primary and you sat down at my elbow at the sticking table and said, What shape are you?, then dug around in the wafer-thin glue- backed paper shapes scattered like autumn leaves across the table-top before us, plucked a small pink star from somewhere and offered it to...

Heathcote Williams: A Tribute

  Along with Tom Stoppard, Heathcote Williams is for me the great English writer of my generation. He is first and last a poet. His first book, The Speakers, about the soapbox orators in Hyde Park, was indeed in prose. But prose so musical, so cadence-aware that there had been nothing like it since Murphy or Malone Dies. Indeed Samuel...

Interview | Karen Ashton, founder of the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Sale

  This Sunday, the Art Car Boot Fair Pulls Back In To Vauxhall Back to its roots in the heart of South London, this year’s Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair will pull up in Vauxhall on Sunday the 9th of July for an afternoon of art, bargains, fun and frivolity but this year with a brand new theme, ‘The Original.’ From...

Review | ArtCircle’s Focusing Space at 48 Albermarle Street

On entering the doorway of 48 Albemarle Street and walking up its makeshift staircase of simple wooden boards you are taken into a world that couldn’t be more apart from the fleshpots of Mayfair. A neon sign bearing the letters ‘AC’ guides a visitor upward, with dusty exposed brick walls on either side making them question if they are...

The Root of it All by Charlotte Newman

  Pavements slick from rain and a market at night, risen dripping from the oily roads like a brand new continent. Brunch alongside nails alongside jerk fish alongside brooms, alongside bright, bright Iro skirts and sweet and sour £2 and Dark & Stormys £8 and hair removal calls to Russia kale juiced with yogurt is better rubber soles plastic spoons...

I Have Called You By Your Name

  I. Hvalfjörður I’d promised Sam whales, a substitute for his Mum who was off on holiday with her new boyfriend. Sam knows all about whales. He’s most fascinated with the larger ones; the blue and the humpback, the narwhal too, with its unicorn tusk. So, I did the research and chose Iceland. A few days in, we take our first whale...

Cultural Readings of the Refugee Crisis

  In jeans and a t-shirt, demurely slouching at the end of a table of prominent and impassioned speakers, Hassan Akkad cuts an inconspicuous figure. The panel debate has an impressive range of speakers, but, as always seems to be the case at such events, it’s a little unclear just who’s who. A room at the LSE usually used for...

Rain When it Falls on Bracken

  Rain when it falls on bracken silkily is like a sea of sounds and you are deep among them so deep you cannot fathom how you came to be here far out and given wholly up to these sensations no meaning offers itself like a rule for reading what is everywhere and here you are in rain cloaked in rain and breathing it as in your first home Fiona Sampson MBE is a poet...

Pigeon Feathers

  At the time the boy had no idea that this was the last thing they were doing as a family. He was the one who had discovered the pigeon. It was plump and seemed canny, and sat immobile for hours in the pot behind the tall plant on the ledge of the kitchen window. Intermittently it snapped its head from...

My London

  Navtej Sarna is an Indian writer and diplomat. He is presently India’s ambassador to the United States. This is the twenty-second article in our regular series of “My London”. Professional diplomats are usually prepared to go and live in different parts of the world, coming to terms as best as they can with widely varying political and cultural landscapes, foreign...

Castles in the Air | Stephen Chambers : The Court of Redonda

Princes, prefects, urchins and poets; these are just a few in a court of luminaries setting sail to Venice. But all is not as it seems, for this royal court is not to be found on the passenger list - all are actually cargo, nestled safely below deck. From May to November, The Court of Redonda, a solo exhibition...

Essay | Marion Coutts: ‘Aiming or Hitting’ by Annie Carpenter

These are busy times for the writer and artist Marion Coutts. Her first novel, The Iceberg, which was published in 2014, has proved a runaway success. It was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award and won the Wellcome Book Prize. And this month Coutts is exhibiting at Tintype gallery in Islington, her...

Review | Louder Than Hearts by Zeina Hashem Beck

‘Louder than Hearts has it all’, writes Betsy Sholl, judge of the 2016 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize, ‘compelling language and a sense of moral gravitas the ability to address a larger world with passion and artfulness’. High praise, though not at all mistaken in describing Lebanese poet Zeina Hashem Beck’s second collection, which brings together new...

Statues Missing Chunks

In the Roman Art wing of who-knows-which museum ancient torsos are on exhibit some of which are missing chunks. Time was meticulous in choosing what to carry off (the rst parts to fall varied according to gender: there are Three Graces without heads a penisless Phoebus) surely there must be some place anatomy abounds for here it’s left wanting— marble-carved heads charming (albeit anemia bleached) sundry torsoless phalli (forlorn and without use) shall...

The Hurt

These days are sadness at its most vivid. You have, at dawn, at dusk, the prayer call, the Ezan , the Takbir and the Shahada sung like smoke caught in the heat of the throat, a prayer-wisp, a delicate meandering. Then the bells from St. Sophia will start. Their self regard rattling the valley with sudden gusts, a pressure change of sounds hanging at their temperatures, the clatter...

The Match Factory

  Are you troubled by SPIRITS? Call FRANÇOIS, GIFTED MEDIUM, on 07812 678321. The advert was in the back of a folded-up newspaper someone had left on the bus, between the personals and furniture for sale. There was a little sketch underneath of praying hands with waves of rainbow light coming off them. I stared at it for a long time. Then,...

Ha Ha Ha

I didn’t like their album cover This was long before we met He teetered to his digs after the gig Tiptoe boots and a bottom I’d’ve Traversed Leeds for. Ha Ha Ha A jeer on the back of his jacket In red sticky tape. Is that what Attracted them? He must have been a fan. They stopped their van Promised they’d see him home But swept him over the moors To...

Wife by Tiphanie Yanique

Intimacy and infidelity, warmth and vacuousness, possessed and free. These are all the paradoxes that are found, lost, and found again in Tiphanie Yanique’s debut collection Wife. It is to no surprise that such an effortlessly honest portrayal of the female, as both confined and fierce, has won The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection. The collection is organised...

The Red and Yellow Nothing by Jay Bernard

It is difficult to put a finger on the immediate aftermath of reading The Red and Yellow Nothing: there is puzzlement, rage, and wonder, but ultimately the sense that Jay Bernard has created a rare and beautiful thing. Part contemporary verse drama, part mythic retelling, the pamphlet – containing one long poem, broken into sections with stage directions –...

Yerma at the Young Vic

Australian theatre’s “enfant terrible,” Simon Stone, rewrites and directs Lorca’s Yerma through a glass darkly. Opening night of Yerma at The Young Vic provided some of the most curious pre-show moments of the year. A luminous glass cage encloses the stage, dissecting the Main House into two sections. Once seated, for a split second, you are shocked to stare straight...