Archives for June 2008

Osbert Parker animation

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Ellen West - web producer | 16:37 UK time, Thursday, 26 June 2008

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Tonight we enter the world of Osbert Parker, a British animator whose distinctive style involves combining cut-out techniques with live action footage. The short we are screening tonight, Film Noir, has won awards at festivals from Raindance to Athens and will be followed by a chat with the filmmaker. You can get a flavour of its dazzling strangeness from this still:

film_noir2.jpg

Let us know what you think about this and other things on tonight's show.

Modern art is rubbish

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Ellen West - web producer | 16:23 UK time, Thursday, 26 June 2008

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Would somebody care to enlighten me about the genius of Cy Twombly? At the weekend I visited the Tate Modern show on this 'master of modern painting' and I left none the wiser. My knowledge of Twombly was limited before the show. I knew that he is an American who has spent much of his life in Italy and also that he had something to do with period following Abstract Expressionism, but that was it. I'd never gone to a gallery and had my attention grabbed by one of his pictures. That is still the case.

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Roeg element

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Ellen West - web producer | 16:36 UK time, Tuesday, 24 June 2008

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Nic Roeg is a great British original. The films that he made in the 1970s, including Don't Look Now, Performance and Walkabout combined atmosphere and sensuality with intelligence. When people talk about the British character they tend to refer to a certain coldness and reserve, but Roeg's work seems to me to be very British in ways that aren't always recognised: eccentric, fantastical and savage. On tonight's show, Roeg talks to Mark Kermode about Don't Look Now, probably his most famous film. Adapted from a short story by Daphne du Maurier it stars Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as a couple who travel to Venice following the death of their young daughter. It's brilliant and terrifying. We've also got an exclusive piece on the website about The Man to Fell to Earth, Roeg's 1976 film about an alien, played by David Bowie, who visits our planet. We'd be interested to hear what you think of Roeg's work - what do you think of Don't Look Now and The Man Who Fell to Earth? Is there anyone who would flout critical opinion and stand up for the director's recent films?

Also on tonight's show, don't miss an interview with the writers behind Peep Show and The Thick of It, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, as well as Tim Samuels asking readers what is the Best of the Booker and Brazilian band CSS. If you have a look on our Flickr area you can see some scenes from the studio recording, including CSS's cuddly toys and Mark watching the band.

We are testing this polling application:

Love on the Edge

Ellen West - web producer | 10:05 UK time, Monday, 23 June 2008

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Everyone who reviews John Maybury's movie, The Edge of Love seems to mention his 1998 film about Francis Bacon, Love is the Devil. Maybury, who trained as a painter and moved into filmmaking under the wing of Derek Jarman, is also refreshingly opinionated - have a look at a hilarious interview conducted with him following the release of The Jacket (which also starred Keira Knightley) back in 2005. I'd never seen Love is the Devil and watched it for the first time last night. It actually made me quite excited about watching The Edge of Love, although I still had to laugh at the review that compared the furore around 'Keira Sings' to 'Garbo Talks!'.

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Folkestone Triennial, animation and Dirty Pretty Things

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Ellen West - web producer | 12:11 UK time, Friday, 20 June 2008

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Tonight is our last Friday night slot - we are moving to Thursday at 11.20pm from next week. Is that more or less convenient from your point of view? We'd be interested to know. On tonight's show we've got a brilliant and downright strange animation from Holbrook's Films, called T.O.M. as well as Dirty Pretty Things busking in Camden. Poor Carl Barat is in hospital with acute pancreatitis, so they've had to cancel some gigs. We've got some pictures of them in action - prior to Carl become ill - on our Flickr group. We're also showing items from Tuesday's show, including the piece on Dylan Thomas that seems to have encouraged at least some outbreaks of poetry reading around the UK. Could we be on the edge of a new trend? Don't miss all our extra Beth Rowley songs from the event at the Midland Hotel - they're great.

Down in the Hole

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Ellen West - web producer | 12:31 UK time, Thursday, 19 June 2008

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I spent some of last night in an interrogation room with David Simon, the creator of one of the most gripping and complex television series of recent years, The Wire. Simon was in the custody of Lauren Laverne, accused of breaking every convention in the television rulebook, and he had some tough charges to answer. While we were down in the hole, an audience upstairs were watching a preview of the first two episodes of season 5 of The Wire, little dreaming that the creator of this influential show was being grilled downstairs. Following his ordeal, David Simon took to the stage of NFT1 to be interviewed by Charlie Brooker, a longstanding champion of the series, and to face questions from the audience. Simon is held in such high regard, that not only was the event packed, but there was a long queue of fans waiting for returns.

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By the seaside

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Ellen West - web producer | 18:22 UK time, Tuesday, 17 June 2008

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We may be in the studio for tonight's programme, but we have metaphorical sand between our toes. Tonight we hold an event in the recently restored modernist splendour of the Midland Hotel in Morecambe (with music from blues singer Beth Rowley and the BBC Big Band) and Vic Reeves travels to Folkestone for a new art extravaganza. You can watch an exclusive track from Beth on the website now. Let us know what you did and didn't like about the show - you'll find details of all tonight's items here, and there are some great related pictures on the Culture Show Flickr group.

Culture is...

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Ellen West - web producer | 09:03 UK time, Tuesday, 17 June 2008

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If you're looking for the place to talk about culture, don't miss the Culture is... website. You can watch videos, check out artwork and add your own definition.

Psycho Buildings, Qu'est que c'est?

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Ellen West - web producer | 17:47 UK time, Monday, 16 June 2008

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It's been a while since I enjoyed an exhibition as much as Psycho Buildings, currently at the Hayward Gallery. I made the mistake of going on a Sunday afternoon, when the South Bank is thronged with people, and I still emerged with a smile on my face. That's not to say that the show is light on substance - exploring how we interact with our physical surroundings raises questions about how we relate to the world - and this show manages to explore this serious theme in a playful but satisfying way. While I was going through the exhibition I kept thinking about a big hardback book I'd had as a child called The House - filled with utopian visions of houses: houses underground, houses in the desert and (my favourite) houses in trees. This exhibition was like a version of this book for adults.

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How to Cope With Death

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Ellen West - web producer | 14:07 UK time, Friday, 13 June 2008

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How do you argue with the grim reaper? It's a question that has informed works from A Matter of Life and Death and The Seventh Seal to Final Destination and Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. In tonight's regular animation slot we showcase the technique used by one elderly lady in a great short by Ignacio Ferreras. You can watch a clip now. The film is produced by Tandem Films, the company behind the Simon's Cat animations (directed by Simon Tofield). We may be premiering an animation from Tandem on a future show - more details when we have everything confirmed.

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Royal Academy Special

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Ellen West - web producer | 12:41 UK time, Thursday, 12 June 2008

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Tonight's special from this year's Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is looking really good. It's on BBC Two tonight at 7pm (unless you live in Northern Ireland, in which case you are looking at a very late bedtime indeed) and features Gavin Turk, Sir Anthony Caro, Tracey Emin and an announcement of the Wollaston Prize. Full details here.

We're also very excited about the fact that Jarvis Cocker plays out the show with a brand new track entitled Angela. We're so excited, that we're racing against the clock to put the track up on the web ahead of the show! Watch this space.

Mark Pilkington

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Ellen West - web producer | 11:47 UK time, Wednesday, 11 June 2008

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The Pilkipedia guys spotted an amusing typo in the Radio Times

As they say, "I love that Mark Pilkington, better than his brother."

Dear oh dear...

Elbow, Dudamel, AGD and Pilkington

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Ellen West - web producer | 17:08 UK time, Tuesday, 10 June 2008

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Tonight is our second go at the 30-minute format, and we're keen to know how you think we're doing. You'll find full details of what's coming your way on the programme listing. Last week, Richard Vine's verdict in the Guardian TV & Radio blog was 'more taste, less speed', although he liked the fact that we'd put the Beryl Cook interview from the archive up on the website.

Let us know what you thought of the pace of this week's show and the mix of crafted video pieces, studio time and reviews from Mark. Is it a good idea to have a band in the studio and are we picking the right bands? Tell us your thoughts.

Mark Kermode: I've Been Shot At

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Ellen West - web producer | 12:46 UK time, Tuesday, 10 June 2008

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I can't see this quote ("I've been shot at") in this interview with the "be-quiffed chatterbox" in London free paper Metro, but I can see how they got there. The makers of Sex and the City might be fingering their air rifles even now... We've got the film in which Mark interviews Werner Herzog and observes him being shot, on the website for your viewing pleasure.

Tag Galaxy

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Ellen West - web producer | 12:23 UK time, Tuesday, 10 June 2008

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I've been enjoying Steven Wood's very cool Tag Galaxy - a tool that allows you to explore photos on Flickr. It is literally a galaxy of tags, where subjects take the form of planets. This is what I got when I searched for Klimt.

taggalaxy_blog_100608.jpg

You can then click on any of the 'planets' to see a display of the photos related to those tags.

When I searched for one of this week's guests, Richard Hawley, I had 651 pics to choose from. Whether you're looking for the Reichstag in Berlin or the work of the Chapman brothers, because the application runs off Flickr there's a huge database of pictures just waiting to yield up its treasures. I had no idea, for example that Mr Hawley did a gig in the virtual world of Second Life, but here were the pictures to prove it!

hawleytag_blog_100608.jpg

Music with meaning

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Ellen West - web producer | 14:17 UK time, Monday, 9 June 2008

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You might have spotted that in the first programme of the new series we played out with a track appropriate to the week's news. This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us by Sparks was a natural fit with the announcement that the battle between Clinton and Obama was finally at an end.

This week Elbow and Richard Hawley will be in the studio, performing The Fix, a song that includes the phrase "There's a nag gonna dance home at Epsom". Not, I should stress that we are suggesting anything dodgy went on at the Epsom Derby, but again it was a pleasing match.

Next week we will have Neon Neon in the studio and we're open to suggestions of songs that would hit a topical nerve - either penned by the band or another artist. Let us know if anything occurs to you.

Tonight and next week

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Ellen West - web producer | 18:22 UK time, Friday, 6 June 2008

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Tonight at 11.35pm we'll be screening the first episode of The Culture Show Uncut - a longer, juicier version of Tuesday's programme, with more music, more chat from Lauren and Mark, as well as an animated short followed by an interview with its creator.

This week's animation is Procrastination by Irish animator Johnny Kelly. He'll be on the show tonight talking about how the film took shape and about the film he subsequently made for the UN, Peace is Hard, which is narrated by no other than George Clooney.

If you'd like to know what's coming up on next week's show, we've got an interview with talented and charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel, the second part of the Ricky and Karl film, and music from Elbow and Richard Hawley. Of course there's also the special from the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition to look forward to on Thursday - we think it's the best one we've done so far. Let us know if you agree.

Kitchen Table Lingo

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Ellen West - web producer | 10:53 UK time, Friday, 6 June 2008

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The English Project have announced what sounds like an interesting idea - an attempt to gather up the new words that people invent and use with their family and friends. Called Kitchen Table Lingo, and rejoicing in the rather odd (and seemingly inaccurate) acronym KETTLE, the team are asking for people's new words via their website and will be publishing the collection online and in book form.

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Hurrah!

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Ellen West - web producer | 18:55 UK time, Thursday, 5 June 2008

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We've got the comment function sorted, so if you feel like responding to any of the blog posts please do.

Party Hard

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Ellen West - web producer | 18:01 UK time, Thursday, 5 June 2008

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We were at the preview party for the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition last night, filming for next Thursday's special on the RA Summer Exhibition. Not to mislead you, in this case 'we' means the Culture Show team not including me - I was at home trying to catch up on the sleep I'd missed when trying to launch the site on Tuesday. By all accounts it was a glamorous event, in fact if you were to glean your only impression of the event from the bloggers you would be forgiven for thinking that the party was exclusively attended by models, TV presenter Alexa Chung and a hung-over Lily Allen.

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Silence not golden

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Ellen West - web producer | 10:15 UK time, Wednesday, 4 June 2008

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First of all, an apology. For all I know there could be hoards of frustrated Sparks fans desperate to comment on last night's programme. We can't be sure, because at the moment there seems to be no way of commenting on the blog. This isn't a practical joke. All I can say is that we are aware of the problem and will sort it asap.

There is also some sort of fault in the pull from the iPlayer, so at the top of the page it says 'No episodes currently available'. The show is, of course, available, and you can

Watch it here

Sorry!

Music That You Can Dance To

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Ellen West - web producer | 18:30 UK time, Tuesday, 3 June 2008

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Last night we filmed the first episode of the new run of The Culture Show. Yes, we were leaving it late, I know... The show is put together using a patent method of crafting individual pieces for the show over weeks or months, deciding what works well for a particular night, but leaving the actual session in the studio until the day before. This allows us to be both topical and terrified. We have a topical item from the archive on the website, in the shape of an interview with Beryl Cook from 2006. It's a great piece and we were keen to celebrate the life and work of this distinctive artist.

Watch now

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Once more, with feeling

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Ellen West - web producer | 14:16 UK time, Monday, 2 June 2008

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As mentioned previously, Karl Pilkington has been out in Boston, supposedly to play a caveman in Ricky Gervais's new film, but actually so that Ricky can have somebody to lark about with. We have exclusive footage of a special tutorial Ricky gave Karl in the language and gait of cavemen.

Watch now

We've got the first part of Karl's prehistoric adventures in tonight's programme and another helping next week.

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