The editors' blog

  • SIX SONGS FOR YOUR PLAYLIST

    ~ Posted by Tim de Lisle, June 11th 2015

    Here's our pick of the best new tunes. You can listen to them on the player below, or find the playlist on Spotify by searching for IntLifeMag. All songs are available on iTunes, unless otherwise stated.

    Dusty Springfield: Someone Who Cares
    Typically elegant ballad, recently rediscovered.

    Blur: Lonesome Street
    Liam Gallagher is right: this is Blur (above) at their best.

    Dawes: All Your Favorite Bands
    Touching title track from another lucid album.

    Father John Misty: I Love You Honeybear
    Subtle earworm from a man who should go down well at Glastonbury.

    Tove Lo: Like Em Young
    Tired of waiting for Madonna to return to form? Try a Swedish livewire instead.

    David Sinclair Four: Sick of Being Good
    Veteran critic, IL contributor and writer of sardonic rock songs. 

    read more » MusicplaylistRockTim de Lisle
  • GLOBAL, CULTURAL, ESSENTIAL

    ~ Posted by Tim de Lisle, June 10th 2015

    The cool gaze on our cover belongs to an architect, David Adjaye. A more global figure it would be hard to find. Born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents, brought up in England, Adjaye has now made it in America. He is working on the African-American museum that will complete the Smithsonian set in Washington, and is tipped to build the Obama presidential library in Chicago (which may have more books in it than some). His style is consciously international. He met his match in our writer, Ariel Ramchandani, an Indian/Israeli New Yorker. She e-mailed last July, saying she was “fascinated by Adjaye, and the global modernity he represents”. After quizzing him in SoHo, New York, and watching him at work in Harlem and London, she has delivered on that promise.

    read more » fictionFilmFrom the editorLiteratureTim de Lisle
  • WOMEN DO PAINT VERY WELL

    ~ Posted by George Pendle, June 9th 2015

    At the cutting-edge Maccarone gallery in New York last week, a packed, largely female audience gathered to hear a powerhouse of women artists discuss feminism and painting. Moderated by Alison Gingeras, a former curator at the Centre Pompidou and the Guggenheim Museum, the panel featured the much-lauded British painter, Cecily Brown, who is famous for her abstracted erotic imagery (above); the emerging American artist Rosy Keyser, whose decimated lace-draped paintings billow with an unsettling power (below); and Joan Semmel, who has been demanding gender equality in the art world since the 1970s, and who, at 82 years old, is still painting naked self-portraits with remarkable candour. “It’s great to have such a large turnout,” remarked Semmel, “considering I was told long ago that feminism was over and painting was dead.”

    read more » Artart marketgeorge pendletalksvisual arts
  • PACO PENA'S ADVENTUROUS FLAMENCO

    ~ Posted by Michael Watts, June 3rd 2015

    Declaring a liking for flamenco used to be problematic for the Anglo-Saxon temperament. We were rightly scornful of cod-Latin acts like Dorita y Pepe (who were Dorothy and Pete from south London) or the histrionics of the guitarist Manitas de Plata, who was born French and adopted a Spanish monicker meaning “Little Silver Hands”. But modern audiences are more discerning, performers more worldly and experimental, and flamenco more popular globally than ever before. Large numbers of Japanese women view it as a safety valve in a highly formalised society, while Spain’s huge influx of foreigners has invigorated flamenco’s native economy. There are annual flamenco festivals in the Netherlands, Chicago and London. And this year, Sadler’s Wells, an important innovator under its artistic director Alistair Spalding, has staged dance mash-ups of flamenco with hip-hop and Indian kathak.

    read more » cultureDanceFlamencoMICHAEL WATTSMusic
  • JAWS: A TRIUMPH OF COWARDICE

    ~ Posted by Tom Shone, June 2nd 2015

    This year you can’t move for movie birthdays. “The Sound of Music” is 50, “Toy Story” 20, “Goodfellas” 25 and “Back to the Future” 30. “Jaws” turns 40 this month, and celebrates with a talk by its star, Richard Dreyfuss, at Connecticut’s Maritime Museum, and a Writers Guild event in Los Angeles with its co-screenwriter, Carl Gottlieb. But delivering the biggest Proustian kick is a limited-edition design of the old, 1975-era Narragansett beer cans crushed in the film by the shark-hunter Quint (Robert Shaw), so that you too can #CrushItLikeQuint.

    read more » cultureFilmTom Shone
  • ST PAUL'S AND ITS OCCUPY PROBLEM

    ~ Posted by Robert Butler, June 1st 2015

    A remarkable aspect of "The Winslow Boy" is the way Terence Rattigan tells the story of a celebrated court case through the single setting of an Edwardian drawing room. In "Temple", which opened at London’s Donmar Warehouse last week, Steve Waters pulls off a similar feat. The off-stage event here is the Occupy movement in London in October 2011, which followed on swiftly from the one in New York. Demonstrators had headed to the Stock Exchange, but the police diverted them towards St Paul’s Cathedral; thousands gathered on the cathedral steps, and hundreds set up tents. In a decision that was fiercely contested by his colleagues and congregation, the dean closed the cathedral for a week for health and safety reasons.


    read more » LondonPOLITICSRobert ButlerTheatre
  • COMETH THE HOUR, COMETH THE WIGGO

    ~ Posted by Simon Barnes, June 1st 2015

    Entertainment is overrated. The best of sport is much better than that. Now we have an event that pushes this principle to an extreme, creating a spectacle that is almost wilfully—almost insultingly—unentertaining. If you go to the Lee Valley VeloPark in London on June 7th, you will be able to watch a man going round and round. He’ll be on a push-bike, and he’ll be pedalling away for an hour. All by himself. For exactly 60 minutes: not a nanosecond more or less. In that time he will see just how far he can go. And that’s it. End of excitement.

    The man in question is Bradley Wiggins—Wiggo himself, who in 2012 won an Olympic gold medal and became the first British male rider to win the Tour de France. He doesn’t know how far he’s going to travel in that single shining hour, but it will all be the most terrible flop if he doesn’t travel more than 52 kilometres and 937 metres—the world record he’s trying to break.

    read more » CyclingSimon BarnesSPORT
  • LONNIE HOLLEY'S SONG OF HIMSELF

    ~ Posted by George Pendle, May 28th 2015

    Lonnie Holley’s left hand is bedecked in so many rings that his little finger has been rendered completely immobile. Nevertheless, last week at a concert at the American Folk Art Museum in New York, it pinned down a note on his red keyboard while a drummer flickered a beat beside him. Meanwhile his unadorned right hand was palming the keys, his fingertips pointing upwards like he was patting a dog that bites, and his voice was shifting from a soul singer’s smooth recitation to a preacher’s thundering roar. But soon his hands softened and collapsed, his fierce howl dissolved into a surprisingly melodic whistle, and Holley was back to the fragile groove of his improvised song-poems, a sui generis amalgam of jazz, blues and ambient music.

    read more » culturegeorge pendlejazzMusicRock
  • AL PACINO, THE SERIOUS FUNNYMAN

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, May 26th 2015

    What would it be like to be in “An Audience with Robert De Niro”, or Dustin Hoffman, or Martin Sheen, or Robert Duvall, or Gene Hackman? Enlightening and entertaining, I’m sure. But would it be as fun as “An Audience with Al Pacino”? Definitely not.

    Last Friday at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, the party started even before Pacino took to the stage. Appropriately for a venue that specialises in rock and comedy gigs, the audience wasn’t sitting quietly as show time approached, but was swigging from plastic pint glasses and trading “Scent of a Woman” quotes at high volume. Then a montage of Pacino’s greatest hits was projected onto the backdrop, and cheers and whistles greeted every clip—none louder, of course, than the whoops for the inevitable “Scarface” catchphrase: “Say hello to my li’l frien’!” When the man himself strolled onstage, in a black suit and piratical jewellery, the audience leapt to its feet. In response, Pacino flashed a wolfish grin and delivered his opening line in that unmistakable yawp: “I think I’m home.”

    read more » FilmLondonNicholas Barbertalks
  • JUDE LAW GETS HORNY AT HAY

    ~ Posted by Simon Willis, May 25th 2015

    Jude Law swaggered onto the stage last night at Hay Festival. He was there to take part in a reading of Simon Garfield’s “My Dear Bessie”, an epistolary play constructed from letters exchanged during the second world war by two young lovers, Chris Barker and Bessie Moore. The correspondence is incomplete. As we learn early in the play, Chris, who was stationed first in north Africa and then in Greece, had to destroy a cache of Bessie’s letters, read opposite Law by Louise Brealey, to save space at an army encampment. The missing links are subtly sketched in by their granddaughter, Irena (Mariah Gale). In spite of the gaps in the written record, Garfield has shaped a love story that’s both cheeky and poignant. In front of 1,000 people—mainly female—in the Tata Tent, it got a standing ovation.

    read more » BookscultureHay FestivalSimon WillisTheatre

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