For most clubs in the NPower Championship, the football division below the Premier League, the season is now over. Cardiff City will be promoted as champions, along with Hull City, who came second. The next four teams are competing for the third promotion place. Leicester City beat Watford 1-0 in their first leg last night; Crystal Palace are playing Brighton and Hove Albion this evening; after the second legs on Sunday and Monday the winners will meet at Wembley. More »
Egor could clearly see the heights of Creation,where in a blinding abyss frolic non-corporeal, un-piloted, pathless words, free beings, joining and dividing and merging to create beautiful patterns.
Vladislav Surkov, Almost Zero
Vladislav Surkov, the grand vizier of the Putin era, the creator of ‘managed democracy’ and ‘post-modern dictatorship’, today resigned (was sacked) from the Russian government. I saw him on 1 May when he gave the speech at the LSE that may have been his undoing. There was a small protest at the entrance to the lecture hall calling for him to be included on the list of Russian officials denied visas to the US for their part in the killing of the anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. In a gesture of patriotism Surkov had recently said he would be ‘honoured to be on the Magnitsky list’. Surkov avoided the protest and strode in through the back door. He was wearing a white shirt and a tightly cut leather jacket that was part Joy Division and part 1930s Chekist. He was smiling a Cheshire cat smile. He said that we were too clever an audience to be lectured at and that it would be much freer and more fun if we just threw questions at him. After one vague inquiry he talked for 45 minutes: it was his system of ‘managed democracy’ in miniature – democratic rhetoric and authoritarian practice. More »
For the next period, debate over the UK’s relations with Europe, and UK politics generally, will be dominated by Ukip. Because of but also despite Nigel Farage’s persona – about one part Jeremy Clarkson to two parts Mr Toad – the purple people won big in last week’s local elections, and can now enjoy watching the Tories rip out each other’s gizzards in a political version of the Eton wall game. As the general election’s witching hour draws near, the Tory undead have started to rise, stakes uprooted from their hollow chests. Jacob Rees-Mogg has called for an electoral pact with Ukip. From his Telegraph column Lord Tebbit tacks as close to endorsing Ukip as any Tory can who wants not to be blown out of the party. Now Nigel Lawson, dad of the more famous Nigella, has become the first major Conservative to announce that if David Cameron manages to hold his promised referendum on EU membership around 2017, he’ll vote for the trapdoor. More »
I’m not sure that Hull City are good enough to play in the Premiership – they’ve been rubbish in recent games, and the very last stages of their campaign were pretty nail-biting – but their promotion is terrific for the city. With so much worldwide interest in the English Premier League, playing there puts this poor, isolated and much denigrated town on the map. Quite literally: I remember, the last time they were (briefly) in the Premiership, checking into a hotel in Copenhagen, giving my Hull address, and saying (based on my experience abroad): ‘I don’t suppose you know where that is.’ ‘Oh yes I do,’ the man replied. ‘It’s in the Premier League.’ Those of us who live there, especially if we came from the South (as I did, in 1968), greatly resent the way it’s generally presented by our softer neighbours. Being placed top of a list of ‘Crap Towns’ a few years ago hurt. My son, who lives and works in London, gets it all the time – though he’s better than I am at laughing it off. More »
Labrouste’s reading room at the Bibliothèque nationale, 1854-75. © Georges Fessy
In 1857 Prosper Mérimée went to London to see Anthony Panizzi’s new Reading Room at the British Museum. As the head of the commission charged with transforming the Parisian national library, Mérimée was hugely impressed by what he saw: the top lighting, the drum-form and the integrated, orderly systems, all designed for a general reading public, not just a few clerics, rulers and their acolytes, the previous users of the great libraries of Europe. More »
The virus in eastern China that since late February has killed 26 out of 128 confirmed cases has been officially named ‘avian influenza A (H7N9)’. Analysis of its genes shows a mixture derived from several bird flu viruses, and that the virus has been evolving for some time. More »
‘While China is starting to lose its attractiveness in this realm the sourcing caravan is moving on to the next hot spot,’ McKinsey’s Apparel, Fashion and Luxury Practice division reported in 2011. The ‘realm’ is the readymade garments industry and the ‘next hot spot’ is Bangladesh.
The Duke of Cornwall, heir to the throne, Prince of Wales, wealthy in his own right (£18 million a year from the Duchy of Cornwall) and in receipt of state benefits (£2 million a year), also gets the money of the dead. Die intestate in Cornwall, without heirs, and whatever you’ve accumulated in your life (aside from your joys and sorrows) goes into the bank account of Prince Charles. It isn’t quite like the wealthy pensioners who were urged by Ian Duncan Smith to return their winter heating allowance to the cash-strapped government. Charles isn’t spending last year’s windfall of £450,000 on dancing girls and kedgeree; he’s using it – well, some of it – to fund his own special charities. More »
Ja-was? Bild (1920).
Kurt Schwitters was 53 when he arrived in Britain in 1940. The Nazis had labeled him an ‘Entarteter Künstler’ (degenerate artist); in Britain he was an enemy alien, locked up in Hutchinson Internment Camp on the Isle of Man: brown walls, grey tiles, grey Irish Sea. The first room of Schwitters in Britain (at Tate Britain until 12 May) gives a glimpse of his life before exile. Schwitters hovered butterfly-like on the fringes of the major European isms of the 1920s: a bit of Dada here, a bit of De Stijl there. The geometry of Ja-was? Bild, with its strips of corrugated cardboard like sign posts in a blast of blue-green abstraction, makes dramatic use of a Suprematist grammar. More »