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Coffee House

Spectator Play: The highs and the lows of what’s going on in arts this week

13 July 2013

9:44 AM

13 July 2013

9:44 AM

Deborah Ross reviews two films for us this week. The first is Pacific Rim, a ‘giant monsters v. giant robots’ film, and to be perfectly honest, that’s about all she has to say on the matter. If you do want to find out more, here’s the trailer:

Her second film this week is ‘The Moo Man’, which is almost the opposite of Pacific Rim. ‘Instead of being a big, noisy film with nothing to say, it’s a small, quiet film with quite a lot to say’. A documentary following a dairy farmer around his East Sussex farm, it is ‘beautifully and lovingly and discreetly filmed’, it says everything it has to say about British agriculture, in its own quiet way.

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The inside of our British palaces used to be almost a state secret, . These days, most of them are open to the public – and even those that aren’t still have their interiors plastered across the nation’s papers whenever the opportunity arises. But in their day, the royal bedchamber was ‘the equivalent of the modern-day boardroom’, where Kings and Queens  made the important decisions of the day. The latest exhibition at Hampton Court Palace, Secrets of the Royal Bedchamber is, says James Yorke, ‘a delightful and highly informative exhibition’, but with one minor flaw. ‘One only regrets that a publication did not come with all the research that went into it’. So don’t forget to take your copy of the Spectator with you, if you go.

This week, Michael Tanner reviewed Simon Boccanegra at the Royal Opera House. One of Verdi’s most patriotic operas, this performance is adequately conducted and sung.  The main problem is the opera itself; unbelievable, lacking in ‘unforgettable tunes’, and with an uncharacterised hero. There are certainly good aspects to this production, but on the whole: could be better.

Did anyone else notice that Keith Richards appeared to be sporting a bit of a paunch when the Rolling Stones performed at Glastonbury this year, asks Marcus Berkmann in his pop column this week. It must be a sign that the 60s are finally over – but among male pop stars, being fat appears to be the last taboo. Could it be the overweight ghost of Elvis which makes them strive to keep up appearances, wonders Berkmann. But isn’t it odd how even the stars who used to be fat – such as Meatloaf and Elton – have shed the pounds in their old age?

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