Mini Reviews

Exhbition review: Gainsborough's Family Album

Eighteenth century artist Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) is renowned for his portraits of the English Aristocracy dressed in fine silks, ribbons and ruffles. His modern-day equivalent would be someone like photographer Mario Testino. Gainsborough is often reviled by art critics for pandering to the elite. But throughout his career he also painted portraits of his relatives and these engaging…

Open House 2018: Blue House Yard (N22)

Wood Green’s regeneration continues in surprising bursts. While the High Road remains unchanged with its mix of charity shops and pound stores, there are signs of innovative redevelopment near Wood Green Station, namely Blue House Yard (N22 7TB). I visited when it was open for viewing on Sunday 23 September as part of Open House 2018. 

The site was a disused car park behind the Council Offices until Haringey…

Film review: American Animals

American Animals is a heist film with a difference. Set in Kentucky, the story involves the theft of rare books from Transylvania University Library by four college students. The bold introduction states that the film isn’t based on a true story. It is a true story.

In 2004, college buddies Spencer Reinhard, Warren Lipka, Chas Allen and Eric Borsuk attempt to steal extremely rare books:…

Exhibition review: Michael Jackson: On the Wall at The National Portrait Gallery

The Michael Jackson: On the Wall exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery is the first exhibition of its kind to focus on the erstwhile ‘King of Pop’ and commemorates his sixtieth birthday on 29 August 2018 - if he’d been alive. The introduction states: ‘This exhibition is not about Jackson’s biography or memorabilia related to the singer. It explores the impact of Jackson on contemporary art.’

The…

Exhibition review: 'Votes for Women' at the National Portrait Gallery

Amongst the paintings, black and white photographs and postcards at the ‘Votes for Women’ exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery is an unusual picture. It’s a photograph of a damaged portrait by Milais of Thomas Carlyle, one of the Gallery’s founders. The portrait was vandalised by Suffragette Anne Hunt who gashed it three times.

Now the National Portrait Gallery is paying homage to…

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Janet Murray. An obituary for my friend and tutor

An obituary of the journalist and lecturer Janet (Jan) Murray who dies at the Marie Curie Hospice in London on the 1st of July 2016

Review: The Trouble with Scott Capurro at The Bill Murray @CamdenFringe

“They’re just jokes – I’m not even gay!”

Scott Capurro greets “all my imaginary friends in the front row” as he skips onstage at The Bill Murray. The front row is conspicuously empty – who after all would be so foolish as to sit there? But there’s no escape later in the set when he begins to interact with members of the audience. Before long a man who came out at the age of 30 is describing…

Committee a Musical at the Donmar Theatre

Committee A Musical is the Donmar’s new play based on a Parliamentary Inquiry into the high profile childrens charity Kids Company. 

Exhibition review: Njideka Akunyili Crosby 'The Beautyful Ones'

There is a new mini-exhibition of works by Visual Artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby (1983) at the National Portrait Gallery. It's a series of portraits called 'The Beautyful Ones’ of Nigerian children. She is an established artist and one of these works recently sold for £3.5 million.

According to the exhibition’s introductory blurb ‘the series takes it title from the novel by the Ghanaian…

Book review: Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

Pacey and fizzily plotted, Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill is a breathless romp of a novel. The year is 1746, and Mr Smith, a glib tongued and amiable English charmer, is newly pitched up in Manhattan with an order for one thousand pounds in his pocket.

Trump’s First Year and the Foreign Media

Has the foreign press done enough in terms of holding Donald Trump to account in his first year as US president? Trump’s approval ratings have remained static despite the FBI investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election, sleaze allegations and his generally unpresidential conduct. Even the publication of Michael Wolff’s book ‘Fire and Fury’ hasn’t fazed him. This topic was central to…