Revealing secrets

In Museums on July 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Last year I wrote a blog post about a secret that had managed to come my way about a forthcoming exhibition. At the time I thought it was incredibly exciting and wondered whether I would spill the beans, or even if someone else would.

Now the wait is over – the secret is out. Indeed, it has been released in the proper way by a press release. I managed not to tell anyone, and am feeling rather smug about that. But I’m also enjoying the fact that other people are getting excited about this news too.

It’s the news that the British Library’s temporary exhibition next year about Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy will feature original copies of both the US Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Here’s the full press release. The New York Public Library and the US National Archives are both making historic loans of these items and I, for one, am really looking forward to seeing them displayed alongside Magna Carta.

For those who wonder why Magna Carta is an important document, these items coming on loan to be alongside it are surely proof enough. Magna Carta changed history and without it we wouldn’t have these landmark pieces of legislation. And of course they give rise to things like the UN and EU Declarations of Human Rights and countless others. Seeing them all together in one room next will be a real treat.

And I didn’t spill the beans once!

Comics at the British Library

In Museums, what i'm reading on May 2, 2014 at 10:52 am

Today the British Library opens a new exhibition about comics.

What I found really refreshing was that it takes us well beyond stereotypical comics such as Superman, Dan Dare and the Beano to new, dynamic and sometimes subversive places.

The comic art form is presented as a means of expressing the other, the underground, the non-conformist view, be it politics, anarchy, sex, gender, magic or identity. Comics have, for generations, been much more than teenage escapism and superheroes in tight outfits. From Andy Capp and the Fat Slags to heroes hanging out in gay saunas and even comics about generation rent.

I picked out a few of my favourite pieces and wrote them up into an article for Vada, an online magazine who have allowed me to grace their pages. Here’s the article …

Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK is at the British Library until 19 August

Shocking Shakespeare

In what i'm reading on April 30, 2014 at 4:26 pm

We’ve been treated to lots of Shakespeare of late, celebrating his 450th birthday last week. I marked the occasion with a trip to The Globe.

Titus Andronicus is surely Shakespeare’s most gruesome play. There’s blood, gore, the removal of tongues and hands and almost everyone dies. Some of the characters get cooked up in pies.

The Globe’s current production does justice to all of these, but also manages to tell a ripping good yarn. I didn’t think the blood and stumps – which were rather convincing – got in the way of the storytelling. There’s obviously comedy in the tragedy, but this is a production which seems to understand where to draw the line.

Or so I thought. But it seems 5 audience members last night perhaps took suspending disbelief a step far and passed out, right there in the theatre. I just thought the staff were carrying more dead characters off stage, through the standing crowd not paying punters who had fainted. The Globe say it’s not unheard of, especially in the summer months when people have to stand for a few hours in the heat. Or when there’s loads of fake blood.

The Telegraph ran a story about last night’s droppers today.

They picked up on a tweet I posted last night during the interval and included it in their piece, which was jolly nice of them.

And the Daily Mail too.

Titus Andronicus plays at The Globe until 13 July.


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