The editors' blog
~ Posted by Tim de Lisle, August 27th 2014
Our pick of six new songs that you should have on your iPod. Hear a selection on our player below, or find the playlist on Spotify by searching for IntLifeMag. All songs available on iTunes, unless otherwise stated.
Conor Oberst: Desert Island Questionnaire (pictured)
Piercing observations from the most prolific man in Portland, Oregon.
John Fullbright: High Road
Young country singer who packs a lethal punch. "Songs" is out now; European tour Aug 29th.
David Gray: Last Summer
A folk tune that speaks louder than words—so it gradually discards them, to powerful effect.
Robyn Hitchcock: To Turn You On
The Soft Boys meet Roxy Music on a deliciously woozy cover.
Cold Specks: Let Loose the Dogs
Al Spx's haunting voice at its desolate best.
Out of the Blue: Hips Don't Lie (on Bandcamp)read more »
Shakira with added wit from an all-male acapella group of Oxford students.
~ Posted by Lucy Farmer, August 21st 2014
Circus has come a long way from red-coated ringmasters and performing animals. Contemporary acts have to work hard on their USP to draw in the crowds. “A Simple Space”, by the Australian group Gravity & Other Myths, now showing at Udderbelly at the Edinburgh Fringe, takes a bare, black stage with stark white lights in each corner, and brings it alive with energetic choreography and skilful acrobatics set to percussive music.read more »
~ Posted by Simon Willis, August 20th 2014Of the talks I've been to at this year's Edinburgh International Books Festival, those dedicated to non-fiction have tended to be fuller than those about fiction.read more »
~ Posted by Simon Willis, August 19th 2014"Beyond Zero: 1914-1918", a collaboration between the composer Aleksandra Vrebalov and the film-maker Bill Morrison, had its European premiere last night at the Edinburgh International Festival. It consists of music for strings, performed at the Festival Theatre by the Kronos Quartet, and fragments of original footage from the first world war, played on a screen behind them. The footage, much of which has never been seen before, was shot on 35mm nitrate film, and since it was made 100 years ago that film has become cracked and blistered and blurred by time. Morrison made digital scans of that original damaged film, and has edited together a sequence which takes us from the recruitment drives and troop training to battles on land and in the air, as well as the aftermath of injury. Vrebalov has written a score both mournful and martial, always intense, which integrates original recorded speeches and sounds. The result is a beautifully woven piece of reclamation and remembrance.read more »
~ Posted by Lucy Farmer, August 19th 2014The Edinburgh Fringe always offers one-man shows and two-handers in pop-up spaces so intimate that you can see a tear fall down an actor's face or the white knuckles of a clenched fist. “Lungs”, a play about a thirty-something couple deciding whether to have a baby, is one such show: the production may be small, but its theme is big.
In a world of overpopulation, climate change and political unrest, should we have as many kids as we want—or even any at all? For our recent Big Question, we asked six writers: how many children should we have? Duncan Macmillan's play asks, does anyone really think about these things—seriously?read more »
~ Posted by Simon Willis, August 19th 2014"Minetti", by the Austrian novelist and dramatist Thomas Bernhard—staged at Edinburgh's Lyceum Theatre—is a play on a play. The eponymous Minetti is an old actor who hasn't worked for 30 years. He walks into a hotel lobby in Ostend. It's New Year's Eve and there's a snowstorm blowing outside. He's there for a meeting, he says, with the artistic director of a small-town theatre where he's due to play King Lear. But the director isn't there, and while he waits he talks, endlessly, to anyone hanging around—the concierge, a girl waiting for her boyfriend, a mysterious woman getting drunk on her own—about art, provincialism and how he lost his job as a theatre director in Lübeck and spent the rest of his life in a tiny town called Dinkelsbühle, where he grew vegetables, bottled sauerkraut and rehearsed Lear every day in front of the mirror. The parallels between Lear and Minetti are obvious: both have lost their power, their influence, and their minds, and if Minetti doesn't knock about the lobby naked as Lear does on the heath, at least his underpants are showing.read more »
- Simon Willis, August 18th 2014 If the Irish poet Paul Muldoon was a sofa, he would be one of those battered brown-leather sofas—sagging, effortless, cool and comfortable—as much at home in the pub as in a stylish apartment. He published his first collection while he was still a student, and now occupies many of poetry's highest perches: poetry editor of the New Yorker, a professor at Princeton and a Pulitzer Prize-winner. But with his shock of unruly grey hair and his black-framed glasses there's something of the ageing rock star about him, and some of his author photographs show him holding a guitar. From countless frontmen he's borrowed the trick of delivering an important line to a particular member of the audience, and holding their gaze unflappably. Yesterday at the Edinburgh International Book Festival he read from "Maggot" (2010), a collection largely about "sex and the dead", and "The Word on the Street" (2012), a volume of song lyrics written under the influence, he explained, of the songwriters Cole Porter and Warren Zevon. read more »
~ Posted by Charlie McCann, August 13th 2014When Belle & Sebastian, the Glaswegian indie group, formed in 1996, they were quick to attract a devoted fan base. Part of the allure was their impenetrable mystique. The band didn’t give interviews and they didn’t do publicity shots.read more »
~ Posted by Tim de Lisle, August 12th 2014
It is now 55 years since C.P. Snow reached for his clarion to raise the alarm about “The Two Cultures”—the dangers of the arts and the sciences not speaking each other’s language. Progress since has been fitful: the odd bestseller by Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins, programmes by Brian Cox, novels by Ian McEwan. The ability to mix the arts and science seems to be like swimming—somehow, we un-learn it. At 15, when life is tricky in many ways, we have no trouble going straight from history to chemistry. By 17, we have been pushed down one road or the other; by 19, in Britain at least, many bright young things are accidental specialists, locked in the library or the lab.read more »
~Posted by Nicholas Shakespeare, August 8th 2014A “dripping roast” is how some in Cambodia describe the hugely expensive UN-backed trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders.read more »