Island music

Reggae is island music. It is music that came out of the island of Jamaica, and in its true form could only derive from that place, but its island nature lies deeper. Islands are worlds unto themselves that nevertheless can only be defined by their relation to the worlds that lie beyond. They are proudlyRead More

Masks and faces

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, newly released theatrically and on Netflix, opens with a film by Georges Méliès. Escamotage d’une dame chez Robert-Houdin (1896), known in English as The Vanishing Lady, features Méliès in his familiar role as a magician, placing a woman (Jehanne d’Alcy) under a cloth and, throughRead More

The horizontal view

To the Garden Museum, in Lambeth, a museum I’d not visited nor indeed knew existed before now. Of all the small, quaint museums devoted to minor subjects that can be found in London, few can be more quaint yet more rich in interest than the Garden Museum. It is constructed out of a medieval church,Read More

The catch

The 2019 cricket World Cup got underway with something extraordinary. Occasionally one is able to look beyond the noisy crowds, the pop music blaring out at every pause, the multi-coloured kits, the banalities of the TV commentary and the formulaic highlights programmes, to moments when the sport shines through. So it was that in theRead More

Hidden colours

The past did not take place in black-and-white, but many of the technologies for documenting that past when it was present operated in that way. But in our age of never-ending marvels we can right the egregious errors of such out-moded systems. So it is that the colourisation of black-and-white actuality films and photographs hasRead More

Time travel

Currently running at the Bruce Castle Museum in Haringey, north London, from April to July 2019, is a small exhibition on local film pioneer Robert Paul (1869-1943). Entitled Animatograph! How cinema was born in Haringey it traces the one small corner of the achievements of a man who, looking back on his life might haveRead More

Figures and forms

To the Royal Academy on a Friday evening, joining those neglectful souls rushing to see the Bill Viola / Michelangelo exhibition before it closes (on March 31st). It was very impressive – it could hardly have been otherwise. The exhibition bringings together the work of video artist (for want of a better term) Bill Viola,Read More