Auntie’s anti-conservatism

ALEX PUGH suggests some reasons why the BBC is so leftwing I first worked in the BBC in 1981 in its Birmingham Pebble Mill studio. I well recall its large bar, where I sometimes drank with a middle-aged producer. One day, a Cheltenham MP named Charles Irving was in the news. This producer said to…

Un-easy listening

DEREK TURNER tries translating Lingua Ignota Radio 6 is one of the rare good things about the BBC, championing alternative, independent or overlooked pop and rock from the 1950s up to the present. On any evening of any week, you can hear anything from film scores to 1960s psychedelia, prog rock to trip-hop, industrial to…

Why Milton matters

Gustave Dore illustration for Paradise Lost BARRY SPURR rides to the rescue of the blind visionary When the Oxford philosopher, Isaiah Berlin, was at St Paul’s School in London, in the 1920s, John Milton’s 200-line pastoral elegy, ‘Lycidas’, was set for learning by heart by the boys. Decades later, when Berlin visited the newly-established Wolfson…

Medusa’s hair

Head of Medusa, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1610 SYDNEY LORD finds a metaphor for cancel culture in mythology Medusa, with her famous hair of writhing snakes, has had many metamorphoses over the centuries – so many the Greeks and Romans stopped counting. After World War II, some feminist activists – which I call ‘femocrats’- used…

English impressions

The Wilton Diptych SELBY WHITTINGHAM looks back on a life in the arts, from the New Elizabethans to Generation Z The latest bout of iconoclasm has produced renewed demands for a statue of Cecil Rhodes to be removed from a building built with his money at his and my alma mater, Oriel College, Oxford. The…

Seen and unseen – horrors of the Holodomor

The Last Road, by Nina Marchenko Mr Jones, 2019, directed by Agnieszka Holland GUY WALKER admires an overdue film about a usually ignored atrocity This film deals with a real event – the ‘discovery’ and reporting by a Welsh journalist, Gareth Jones, of the Holodomor (man-made starvation) which took place in Soviet Ukraine in 1932-3.…