Guests on Desert Island Discs have been choosing their favourite records since Roy Plomley first came up with the format for the radio show in 1942. Not much has changed since then, although one major introduction was allowing the castaway to also pick a book – the first one was actor Henry Kendall in 1951 (he chose Who’s Who in the Theatre, which was also picked by Roy Plomley himself when Eamonn Andrews cast him away in 1958).
Among ITV2’s late night viewing audience, as among the contemporaries of Aristotle, there must presumably be some who prefer their narratives with certain dramatic unities forced upon them. Some must feel the dramatic purpose of the characters to be heightened by formulae that must be followed, and tantalised by the prospect of their being broken. On Love Island, two unshakeable rules have been established thus far, the Mallorcan Unities, if you will, and they are a) that new female arrivals must first take pity on fully automated crimson sympathy generator Alex before b) ultimately fancying Adam.
Last year, the artist Roger Hiorns received an email from a preacher at an evangelical Christian church in Abuja, Nigeria, curious about why Hiorns had buried an aeroplane. Hiorns could not have been more pleased: “It might seem insane but that makes it interesting. “There’s a certain amount of beauty in the ceremony of burying aircraft,” says Hiorns.
Why is the trade in cat and dog hair banned in the European Union on the grounds that they are pets, while the trade in human hair remains entirely unregulated? What sort of intimate hairy entanglements occur when we brush human hair with pig bristles, use badger hair shaving brushes, or weave a judge’s wig from horse hair?
English loan words in the Iraqi dialect are found in almost all the aspects of daily life. Back to 1999, in a poetry lecture at al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, I still remember how thirsty I felt when I heard Professor al-Wasiṭṭi, while reading Eliot’s poem “Journey of the Magi”, pronouncing the word “sherbet”. “It is our sherbet.” The poem was published in 1927 when the British were in Iraq, but the word came to English via the Ottomans in the 17th century.
If you begun your year with the intention of swapping your electronic devices for a paperback on a more frequent basis, then signing up to a book subscription box can take you one step closer to achieving your goal. It’s ‘themed’ boxes extend far beyond the choice of reading material.
When, on Wednesday night, Eyal was stretched out under the stars, outlining his “beliefs” to Adam and Charlie, moments after the former had asked whether the north star was the “one that shines over Newcastle” and the latter wanted to know which one was “Ryan’s belt”, precious little of Eyal’s actual worldview made the final cut.
It is arguably unfortunate that the chief reason to continue watching Love Island is to witness the transformation of an otherwise well-appointed villa in Mallorca into Alex’s own personal version of the prison from which Bane spends a lifetime failing to escape in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. Can she yet know, in this World Cup week, that she has joined that ignoble canon of Waddle, Pearce, Southgate, Ince, Batty, Beckham, Carragher, Cole, Vassell and, well frankly it’s a big canon but the point is that Megan briefly held the hopes and dreams of a nation in her grasp and ballsed it right up.
Paula McLain takes the turbulent relationship between Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway as the subject of her new novel. One afternoon, searching out icy cold daiquiris during a family holiday to Key West, she meets her “idol,” Ernest Hemingway. Drawing on Gellhorn’s own memoirs and letters, McLain is fleshing out a story that’s already familiar, but it’s fascinating to be taken back to the beginning of both this relationship and Gellhorn’s own illustrious career.
There is no real answer to the greyness. Anyone who has been to Dublin will know this. Dublin looks well in the grey. Dublin suits the grey. If Dublin was going on a night out, it would wear a little grey dress.
Last night I watched pus being flushed out of an infected wound on a dog. Not when you’ve got to get through The Dog Rescuers with Alan Davies. The poor old black labrador, Josie, had been living on the streets with her human keeper, and had been in a bit of a dog fight.
Eugénie Brazier, the first woman to be awarded three Michelin stars, is widely regarded the "mother of modern French cooking". Born on 12 June 1895, Brazier opened her first restaurant in a former grocery store in Lyon at the age of 26 and soon built a reputation for simple, elegant food. Brazier's most famous dishes include "beautiful dawn lobster", featuring brandy and cream, and "poultry in half mourning', in which truffle slices are inserted between the meat and the skin before the bird is poached.
“Women in business” is hardly a new term. In fact, many would argue it’s a slightly redundant one. After all, it’s 2018 – shouldn’t books written by women integrate seamlessly into the business sections? Is an author’s gender even relevant to the books we read?
The presentation of the self has been prioritised to the near obliteration of all else. The impact of the idea of Frida Kahlo, the disabled Mexican painter who died in 1954 (her leg was amputated the year before), has been a profound one. Italian Vogue devoted an entire issue to her in December 2014.
The descent of utopian paradise into dystopian nightmare is a theme that accounts for around a sixth of all mankind’s artistic endeavour and to that bold canon can now be added Love Island Series Four. Adam, Sculptor of Guns, Destroyer of Worlds, and a man who seems to think that Fanny by Gaslight is less a Victorian melodrama and more a life motto, has now arrived at his true vocation - Love Island contestant - and everybody else must bear the cost.
John Lasseter is to leave Disney after “missteps” in his behaviour with staff members, the studio has confirmed. The co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and Disney’s current animation chief has been demoted to consultant but will step down fully at the end of the year. “The last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career and personal priorities,” Mr Lasseter said in a statement.
There are a plethora of shows featuring acrobatics, circus theatrics, comedy and visual effects, but there will only be one Cirque du Soleil. Take for instance one of its highest selling tours TOTEM, which is a show described as “a fascinating journey into the evolution of mankind” and operates like a little town on wheels. Once you enter its site, with 118 employees (46 of which are artists) from 28 different countries, TOTEM is already a world of its own.
This exhibition of work by the landscape painter Thomas Cole, though described as a collaboration between two institutions, feels like a tariff-free American import. Cole (1805-1848) was in fact an Englander, from Bolton in Lancashire, whose family emigrated to the USA. Various trips back to Europe – first to the National Gallery, and then to Italy – saw him sucking up influences like a greedy sponge: Claude, Turner, Constable, for example.
Never mind Russia's state of the art World Cup stadiums, Reuters photographers have been capturing the eclectic settings of communities' spartan goalposts and pitches. The sometimes ramshackle goalposts were photographed in Russia and the Crimean peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014, giving a glimpse of life away from the fervour of a tournament that will be watched by fans from around the world.
In 1998, Turkmenistan’s dictatorial ruler Saparmurat Niyazov installed a revolving statue of himself outside his own Presidential Palace, which turned on its axis throughout the day so as to always face the sun. Two decades later, it cannot be explicitly ruled out that it has been reinstalled in the Love Island car park and dressed in a salmon pink shirt, to rotate in soft focus directly behind the dinner table where Niall and newbie Georgia were doing their level best to discuss the relative merits of chicken dippers. For some mystifying reason, there had been high hopes for what must surely be Love Island’s first date entirely from the professional classes, particularly after they had moved beyond the early obstacles, where Alex managed to make it to the end of his short monologue on how “our parents must be proud of us” despite Niall and Georgia taking one look at their preprandial glasses of cava and deciding to “just f*cking neck” them.
The elegant Folio Society only produces a handful of limited editions a year; all artistic but never pornographic. So you might wonder why such a society would pick now to republish a 2000-year-old Sanskrit guide to sex positions – literary legacy notwithstanding.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy,” wrote St Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, and if anyone has a carbon copy of it lying about then do fax it without delay to a roof balcony somewhere in Mallorca where, at time of writing, five inexplicably glammed up women may still be incarcerated in the name of public safety.
“What the hell is going on, people?” yells US president Jonathan Lincoln Duncan for the 512th time (on almost every page) as he urgently tries to stop an annihilating cyberattack on America. The commander-in-chief dreamed up by former US president Bill Clinton and James Patterson, the world’s bestselling author, is “fifty years old and rusty”, “a war hero with rugged good looks and a sharp sense of humour”. The nefarious plot to “reboot the world” has been cooked up by Suliman Cindoruk, “the most dangerous and prolific cyberterrorist in the world”.
Another night, another classic psychological phenomenon pared back to its undergarments and heavily doused in Hawaiian Tropic. In 1973, in the vaults underneath a branch of Kreditbanken, three Swedish bank workers had to be tortured for six full days before the acclaimed psychiatrist Frank Ochberg had the required base psychiatric ingredients to define the condition now widely known as Stockholm Syndrome. Not 24 hours before, it appeared the delicate flower of love was unfolding between Niall and Kendall, but resolving last night’s cliffhanger, Adam steamed in there with his garden shears and that one’s in the compost now, rotting down to mulch, fertilised with Kendall’s tears which we will come on to shortly.
1. Fifty Shades Freed by EL James 2. Bared To You by Sylvia Day 3. The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst 4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 5. The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling 6. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James 7. Reflected In You by Sylvia Day 8. My Time by Bradley Wiggins 9. Entwined With You by Sylvia Day 10. Fifty Shades Darker by EL James 11. My Story by Cheryl Cole 12. The Marriage Trap by Jennifer Probst 13. Camp David by David Walliams 14. Call The Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s by Jennifer Worth 15. Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson 16. ...