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Culture October 13, 2018

The key concepts of Ryuichi Sakamoto

Ryuichi Sakamoto is perhaps best known for his many film scores, including The Revenant, but the composer and keyboardist’s long career spans the synth pop of Yellow Magic Orchestra, pioneering electro-funk and subtly complex ambient music. “Making music for me is a chain reaction, always going towards something. Some ideas, a glimpse of something, a fragment of a memory that triggers more images. Your mother’s smell, a person from TV news. That kind of imaginative fantasy, that journey, is already very musical. So, I hope my music can trigger some kind of image series for the listener.”

Culture October 6, 2018

The stocking truth of Polly Borland

Living in different places around the world has left artist Polly Borland feeling like an outsider with unwanted opinions, but she’s happy to let the subversion of her work speak for itself. “She grew up alone in this apartment with this doll,” Borland said of Dare Wright, creator of the Lonely Doll books. “Her mother would go out, leave her alone. Eventually she became a model and started taking photos. It’s no wonder I’m into dress-up. I get a lot from childhood. What might look childlike is not. There’s a sinister undertow to a lot of my imagery.”

Culture September 29, 2018

Choreographer Liam Scarlett

Choreographer Liam Scarlett, a former dancer with the Royal Ballet whose Midsummer Night’s Dream will soon tour China, seems destined to join the ranks of the all-time greats. “With every premiere you sit back and watch it for what it is. You think I could tweak this or I could tweak that. But I was happy with it, it was such a relief when it was over but it’s probably the thing I’ve done which I felt most proud of.”

Culture September 22, 2018

‘Dark Tourist’ documentary-maker David Farrier

Where once he was Tickled, New Zealand documentary-maker David Farrier has most recently devoted himself to visiting ghoulish sites of so-called ‘dark tourism’. Here, he talks about murky ethics, Kiwi sensibilities and the pressure to react the ‘right’ way. “There’s one point where I’ve got a gun to my head and I laugh, because I’m sort of nervous. “Some people will say to me that it was really inappropriate to laugh at that point … [But] that’s what happened. It’s uncomfortable laughter. We wanted to leave all that in.”

Culture September 15, 2018

Zoë Coombs Marr and her stand-in stand-up Dave

Comedian Zoë Coombs Marr created her male alter-ego Dave in order to critique the sexist culture of the stand-up scene, and it has taken years for her to feel ready to take the stage as herself again. “I never made Dave with the intention of being cruel or laughing at people, or going, ‘That guy sucks.’ ”

review

Culture October 13, 2018

Barry McGovern’s Watt

Barry McGovern’s one-man adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s novel Watt is a masterpiece of poignant, pratfalling absurdity

Culture October 13, 2018

A Star Is Born OST

The soundtrack to A Star Is Born – featuring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – unwittingly rebuts the film’s storyline, with the female star’s serious music less compelling than the pure pop she’s meant to have outgrown.

Culture October 6, 2018

Guthrie, Milne and ABC programming

The current chaotic state of the ABC cannot be blamed on a single high-ranking person. And nor can its woefully mundane programming. Instead, it’s the fault of the c-word – compromise.

portrait

Culture October 13, 2018

Author Deb Kandelaars

The writer of Memoirs of a Suburban Girl on her long road out of a violent relationship. “There I am, right in the middle of my teenage years and suddenly in a serious relationship. A relationship that pushes away my other life. Being hit was beyond my world experience. I didn’t want it to happen again. I started treading a little bit more carefully, and that set up a power dynamic.”

Culture October 6, 2018

Theatre designer Tracy Grant Lord

A chat with theatre designer Tracy Grant Lord, side stage at a rehearsal for Twelfth Night.

Culture July 29, 2017

Actor Steve Coogan

Unravelling Steve Coogan and The Trip to Spain.

books

Culture October 13, 2018

Trigger Warnings

“My administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” said United States president Donald Trump in his recent address to the United Nations General Assembly. Laughter began rippling across …

Culture October 13, 2018

Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead

Many high-profile authors, from J. M. Coetzee to Yann Martel, have turned their attention to human–animal relations. This is often framed in terms of the “ecological turn”, apparent perhaps most obviously in cli-fi, or climate-change …

Culture October 13, 2018

When I Saw the Animal

Bernard Cohen’s When I Saw the Animal is a bit of a pig’s breakfast: a thin potage of leftovers, scraps, mystery offcuts and, yes, occasional meaty nuggets. Here you’ll find more than two decades of literary leavings all mixed …