The editors' blog
~ Posted by Charlie McCann, October 21st 2013
The editors at Penguin must have a keen sense of the ridiculous. Last week they published Morrissey's "Autobiography" under their sober black "classic" imprint. This is a list that also boasts titles by Homer, Virgil, Montaigne, Melville and Dostoevsky.
Morrissey is not without a sense of hyperbole either. After dozens of pages chronicling his unhappy youth—much of it spent in his bedroom spinning records and wondering how he might become an artist—he writes,
In what could be termed sheer panic I buy a drum kit, and suddenly I am in mortal danger of doing something productive.
This engaging account of Morrissey’s boyhood in "knife-plunging Manchester" gradually turns, as he becomes more productive, into a litany of complaints and tour-dates.read more »
- Nicholas Barber, October 18th 2013 There are 235 feature films being shown over 12 days at the London Film Festival, so even if you catch only a fraction of them, it can still sometimes be hard to remember which was which. For me, the most confusing afternoon came when I saw "The Zero Theorem" followed by "The Double", and ended up feeling almost as disorientated as the characters I’d just been watching. Both films are quirky, melancholic comedies. They’re both set in unspecified, vaguely Eastern European cities which mix modern technology with Bakelite antiques. They’re both about alienated computer programmers with remote, all-powerful bosses. In general, they’re both very Terry Gilliam-ish. read more »
~ Posted by Tim de Lisle, October 17th 2013
On our cover is a sight seldom found there: a smile. Jamal Edwards, as fans of his YouTube channel know, has a big grin. A millionaire mogul at 23, he is smiling all the way to the bank. Our cover story looks at YouTube as a cultural phenomenon. For many people, it’s part of their daily diet; for many others, a total mystery. As Bob Dylan sang: "Something’s happening, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr Jones?"read more »
~ Posted by Isabel Lloyd, October 17th 2013
Forty-eight hours after the announcement that the British director Rufus Norris is to take over from Nicholas Hytner at the National Theatre, and already one word is beginning to define his tenure: collaboration. John Makison, the NT's chairman, told the press it was Norris’s "hugely collaborative approach to theatre" that clinched the deal. When Norris himself was asked what his main strengths were, he replied "I'm very collegiate, very collaborative". And among current British playwrights, the word is that this is a man who will work with them. "He listens to all the voices in the room," one told me, "not just the one that shouts the loudest."read more »
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~ Posted by Robert Butler, October 15th 2013
The stage was set for a revelation: the arts press had been invited to the National Theatre for 10.45am when the board's chairman, John Makinson, would introduce the person taking over the biggest job in British theatre, possibly even world theatre. There have only been five directors in the National's history: Laurence Olivier, Peter Hall, Richard Eyre, Trevor Nunn and—for 18 months more—Nicholas Hytner. All male; four out of five Oxbridge; was anything about to change?read more »
~ Posted by Maggie Fergusson, October 10th 2013
Crossing Fifth Avenue on my way to hear Paul Simon in conversation with Paul Muldoon, I became ensnared in the Polish Day parade (floats, cheer leaders et al). So when I finally arrived, the only seats were in the back row. For the first time all weekend, I felt a flash of irritation with the Festival organisers. If you’re going to bring giants to town, then for God’s sake put them in venues with raked seating, so everyone can see.
But if my view was limited (I got the occasional glimpse of Simon’s close-cropped silver hair), the sound was faultless, and I was mesmerised to hear, for the first time in person, a voice I’ve known nearly all my life. And not just a voice.read more »
Kojak-cum-Tom Hanks is how you might describe Clay Shirky (pictured below), expert on the effects of the Internet on society, and author of "Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age". Bald and smiley, he'd been brought in to discuss with Jonathan Franzen (jowlier and thicker-girthed than his publicity photos suggest, pictured right) the effects of technology on culture. "Shirky invented the Internet, and Franzen wants to shut it down," joked Harry Finder, the New Yorker’s editorial director, preparing the audience for a gloves-off, luddite v cybertopian bloodbath.read more »
~ Posted by Sarah Woodberry, October 8th 2013
The world premiere of "The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations" was quite unlike other New Yorker Festival events. Nearly a third of the audience were children; teens and twentysomethings sat next to their parents and grandparents; and the middle-aged woman next to me had brought her father. This is a book, the New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik said, introducing the film, that had touched three generations.
It’s also rather a cultish book. "You either speak of it as a biblical text or you’ve never heard of it," says actor David Hyde Pierce in the film. (He also narrates the audiobook.) This audience clearly fell into the former category. They even clapped and cheered during the introductory video when the "Phantom Tollbooth" event listing flashed on the screen. It felt like the midnight screening of a new Harry Potter.read more »
~ Posted by Sarah Woodberry, October 7th 2013
"Spy vs Spy: the Art of Espionage" opened with Judi Dench as M giving 007 his orders. There were other clips from spy movies, including "Argo", which won the Oscar for Best Picture this year. The moderator, David Grann, a New Yorker writer, turned to the panel, "How much of this is real?"read more »