An Agincourt for our age

STUART MILLSON enjoys seeing Shakespeare’s Henry V brutally updated The year is 1415... Trumpets sound at the Globe Theatre; Olivier draws his sword and heroically sets forth to ‘the vasty fields of France’ where English arms and chivalry triumph, and a youthful English king wins the hand of France’s fair princess, Katherine... That is the…

Courtoom farces

Credit: Shutterstock A Matter of Obscenity Christopher Hilliard, Princeton University Press, 320pp, 2021, £30 KEN BELL follows the story of English law and ‘dirty books’ With its seventy-two pages of footnotes, Christopher Hilliard’s A Matter of Obscenity manages to combine the original archival research of the heavyweight historian with a lightness of touch that should…

John Pritchard – master of sonorities

STUART MILLSON recalls an unjustly overlooked conductor The early 1980s was a vintage time for British orchestral music. Gennady Rozhdestvensky was halfway into his term (1978-1982) as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, a position which brought great kudos to the ensemble – Rozhdestvensky recording and performing Tchaikovsky ballet music, and venturing into the…

Deptford dreaming

Credit: Shutterstock DEREK TURNER pays tribute to grittily resilient S.E.8 Aircraft always overhead, trains pulling in and out, traffic backed up along the New Cross Road, pulsating rap from open windows, plastic bottles in the gutter, pigeons with fungus-eaten toes, gang tags on gritty walls, smells of exhaust, fast food, sweat and the shower-gel of…

Dreaming of utopias past

Henry Wrong, first administrator of the Barbican Centre, overlooking the build. Credit: Barbican Archive Building Utopia: The Barbican Centre Nicholas Kenyon et al, Batsford, 2022, 288pp, fully illus., £40 ALEXANDER ADAMS acknowledges a modernist monument’s coming of age My first exposure to the Barbican Centre came obliquely. In the children’s science-fiction drama The Tripods, when…

Chapter Six. The Wedding

This is chapter Six of LIAM GUILAR’S almost completed epic of Britain. Chapter One was published in Long Poem Magazine #25 Spring 2021, and Chapters Two, Three, Four and Five in The Brazen Head. For more information about Hengist, Vortigern and the Legendary History, see www.liamguilar.com The story so far. Mid Fifth Century; Hengist and his brother Horsa have sailed to Britain where they have…

Canon, to the right of them

Colonialism and Modern Social Theory Gurminder K Bhambra & John Holmwood, Polity, 2021, 257 pp, £16 LESLIE JONES is unconvinced by a clever piece of 'decolonizing' advocacy The toxic legacy of European colonialism and imperialism underpins the 'populist ressentiment and rejection of multiculturalism' of the white working class in Europe and the USA [i], according to Bhambra…

Chapter Five – An age of wood

This is Part Five of LIAM GUILAR’S almost completed epic of Britain. Part One was published in Long Poem Magazine #25 Spring 2021, and Chapters Two, Three and Four in The Brazen Head. For more information about Hengist, Vortigern and the Legendary History, visit www.liamguilar.com The story so far. Mid Fifth Century; Hengist and his brother Horsa have sailed to Britain…

A VOYAGE to OBVERSIA

LEMUEL GULLIVER continues to indite his extraordinary adventures to GUY WALKER WARNING : THIS TEXT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY CONTAINS DISCRIMINATORY LANGUAGE Before Dawn we heaved Anchor and steered to the West in our Passage to the West-Indies but, for four Days, we were driven by a violent Storm eastwards towards the…

Turned off by the turned on decade

Growing Up: Sex in the Sixties Peter Doggett, The Bodley Head, 400 pages, £25.00 KEN BELL finds a survey of Sixties sex is really about 2020s attitudes In Annus Mirabilis, Philip Larkin reflects famously: ‘Sexual intercourse beganIn nineteen sixty-three(which was rather late for me) -Between the end of the Chatterley banAnd the Beatles' first LP.’…