Long Reads

Crimea: A Literary Perspective

Crimea: A Literary Perspective

The situation in Crimea continues to develop agallop. Following events in Kiev, unidentified Russian troops have taken control of Crimea’s airports, public buildings, military installations, and ports. Amid claim and counterclaim – the apparent defection of the chief of the Ukrainian Navy, the claimed defection of thousands of Ukrainian armed forces, and allegations that the human rights of UN envoys…

The Scythians and The Rite of Spring: Stravinsky and Roerich

Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (in French, Le Sacre du printemps) – the third ballet which Stravinsky composed for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, after The Firebird (1910) and Petrushka (1911) – was written for the 1913 Paris season, and premiered just over a hundred years ago, on 29 May, in the newly-opened Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. The centenary of this most notorious…

Margaret Thatcher’s Funereal Week, and Her Political Legacy

Margaret Thatcher’s Funereal Week, and Her Political Legacy

With her funeral passing easefully enough last Wednesday morning, the inclination to join those voices contending the legacy of Margaret Thatcher is strong. Severe criticism of Thatcher in the week and a day that passed between her death and her funeral was limited in the mainstream press, and significantly restrained amongst the political classes. David Cameron cut short his European…

Pierrot Through the Arts: Deburau, Laforgue, Schoenberg and On

Pierrot, the sad clown, with white face and loose white blouse, expressing slowly and subtly and in the absence of and beyond words, emerged in the nineteenth century from his roots in stock comedies and pantomimes to become the embodiment of a certain artistic type, a specific strain of artistic emotion: sensitive, melancholy and solitary, and at once playful and…

‘Madame George’ and Guerlain’s Shalimar: A Portal to Perfumery

Asked and obliged to be concise, I would name Astral Weeks by Van Morrison as my favourite album, and ‘Madame George’ from Astral Weeks as my favourite song. This article isn’t intended as an extensive exploration of the album’s music or themes; it doesn’t recount my listening experiences of the song as a form of personal history; and nor does…

Heteroglossia in the Music of Ariel Pink

I sometimes think that popular music criticism – taking popular music very broadly as a whole, and the criticism of popular music as something distinct from the criticism of classical music (a distinction which generally holds strong, in spite of a number of crossover artists or artists whose music draws from and fits alongside classical composers and compositions) – lacks…