Episode 10 The Culture Show

Episode 10

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Tonight The Culture Show is from Colchester which claims to be


Britain's oldest recorded town and thaus because it was the Roman who


is built this gate that we are doing the recording. Now, all the


way back in AD43 the emperr came here with an invasion force armed


with the very latest shock and awe weapon, namely, elephants. We can't


promise you militaryised in tonight's show, later on I will be


looking at an extremely striking new building that's just gone up in


the heart of town. Also on the show: Mark Kermode


travels to Denmark to meet controversial director Lars von


Trier. Alastair Sooke talks to Frank


Stella. And violinist Nigel Kennedy takes


us through his rules of play. We chat to Diana Athill. Did you meet


somebody and jump into bed that same evening? I have done that in


my time, yes. Tim Samuels does time at Wandsworth


Prison. And Michael Smith unpicks post


modernism at the V&A. First, my journey this week to the


new Firstsite building as it was Colchester, Britain's old e e --


oldest recorded town, there you have it in black and white but for


all its multilayered fascinating past it's the future of Colchester


that's taking shape. In the form of a a brand new �25 million Arts


Centre. All I really know about it is that


it's very large and very gold. I think I can just see a bit of it


over there. Colchester today is sa bit rough


and ready. Still a garrison town. And spiritual home of the boy racer.


But once it was Camulodunum, expect of Roman Britain under Claudius.


There are signs of a khraesical past everywhere, fragments of


temples, columns on everything from banks to book shops.


Looking down from high on the town hall, local heroine Boudica, the


warrior Queen of the Britons who led a bloody rebellion against the


Romans and now after a dramatic architectural competition and


endless funding wrangles, the temple of the Arts they're already


calling the golden banana is ready for action. There we go.


So, first impressions? There's certainly nothing else like it in


Colchester. It's got the wow factor. It's got the Gordon Bennett factor.


To me, it's like a sort of giant spaceship that's suddenly got


beamed down. I also think there is an element of homage to Frank


Gearey, it looks like a chunk that mysteriously fell off the


Guggenheim and ended up here sprayed in gold. It's impressive. I


There's a story behind this unusual structure. This land is a scheduled


ancient monument. Architect raffle has defiesed a worm, which unlike


the elephants, has had to watch where it puts its feet. The most


conspicious feature of the building is how loit it is and I don't mean


light filled alone, I mean physically light. It carries itself


lightly, almost gingerly on the site, virtually hovering over it.


The foundations are extremely shallow and there's a reason for


that. It's this. This is a Roman mosaic, probably the floor of a


dining room, it's got these lovely creatures. It was excavated here.


When it was unearthed they found the skeleton of a human being, a


few fragments of pottery, and The annual Colchester oyster feast


is still celebrated in the town hall. Somewhere beneath all that


Jolity there is a link back to celebrations of the cult of the God


of wine, fertility, drunkenness, The opening exhibition in the new


building is called Camulodunum. And it makes use of Colchester's past


to find a way into contemporary art. And the connections are sometimes


ingenious. Vietnamese artist Vose exhibition, fragments of a copy of


the statue of liberty, shown in pieces all over the world.


The theme of the exhibition is past and present. How we interpret


fragments of a sometimes imaginary archaeology. What survives when


civilisations crumble. Where does junk end and art begin?


And what makes a monument monumental?


This piece is by a great American land artist Robert Smithson. It


occurred to me he was working at it, at the height of the Vietnam war.


And this was created from car doors in the year of the Falklands


conflict. I think of it as a joke on the future. I imagine the artist


wondering to himself what would the people of the earth 3,000 make of


us if they could dig this up? I don't normally like themed


exhibition but I like this one, I like its playfulness and the way


it's unearthed a rich vein of art from the last 60, 70 years that


seems to have worried away at the theme of archaeology, the


relationship between the past and The exhibition also shows us how


our attitudes to the past have changed. These are photographs of


the Colchester pageant staged back in 1909. It had an audience of


60,000, with nearly 3,000 participants. I like this, it's a


real slice of Colchester's past. A more innocent and more more


authoritarian past. There is a letter from the organisers: My dear


pageanters, you covered yourself in glory and McIntoshes... As if a


little rain never hurt anybody! It is signed by Louis N Parker.


The N stood, appropriately enough, The unique Firstsite building isn't


just an art gallery. I am glad to see it's reaching out to local


children, making the experience of coming here fun as well as


educational. It was once commented that architecture is the only


medium you can't turn off. Well, the council are going to turn off


the bus station next door. This whole view will be landscaped down


towards the Roman wall. I must admit, I grew rather fond of its


constant movement. Like an installation attended by men in


high vis vests working away beyond You know what, I think they'll miss


it when it's gone. And the exhibition continues here


until the end of January. Now, it's on to Frank Stella, one of the most


influential American artists of the last half century who once said


that a painting is a flat surface with paint on it, nothing more. His


new retrospective in London, his first in this country since 85,


shows how far he's travelled since then. Alastair Sooke went to meet


In the late 1950s an unknown artist took the New York art scene by


storm. With his black paintings, Frank


Stella demonstrated the raw power of simplicity and he shot to fame


as the father of minimalism. This is Delta, it's the first of


Stella's famous black paintings, a sequence of 24 variations on this


theme, thick, black enamaled paint in stripes. The paintings made his


name, because, well, they were so radically different to everything


that had come before. They seemed to suggest that art could be


impersonal and mechanical. They're austere. They're very aggressive. I


think that all of them radiate the same implaqueable presence, like a


fairy Godfather cursing everything in sight. They look like the work


from the end of someone's career. Actually when he made them he was


Frank, I am really pleased that this piece, Delta, is in the show,


because my understanding is this is the starting point for your entire


career? Well, it's the starting point for other people's ideas


about my career. But basically, it's about painting something out.


When I looked at it later I just liked the way it looked. From there


on it just took off. Grape Island is a piece that shows how he was


influenced by his contemporary Jasper Johns and Jackson Pollock


but the black paintings were something new and gained Stella


instant notoriety as an energetic force on the arts scene. Quickly


you went from Delta to this piece, which is... Quickly, yes, two years.


There are several really noticeable things about this. First of all,


it's the strange shape of the canvas. This, to me, is the limit


of shape painting. What do you mean? Because if you were to make


it - shape it more in the centre, take a couple of bands away it


wouldn't work. There's too much negative space and not enough


positive activity. To me this was the limit. The implied square is


These works on this wall date from the early to mid-60s. The thing


that's immediately obvious is that they're really, really colourful.


It's a basic thing to say, but why were you suddenly introducing


colour in such a big way into your work? Well, I mean, that's a kind


of set-up question. Even my father told me after looking at the black


paintings that colour sells. That colour sells? And he wasn't a


specialist. Lots of people say that you were trying to banish pictorial


depth early on, but in a sense you create your own version of depth


because these aren't flat, some colours recede, some come out?


don't think that's any great crime. Look, this isn't a trial! It's a


celebration. But, there was always an onus on abstraction to prove


itself, in other words, you know, why wasn't abstract art just


geometric and academic and this is a pretty good answer to that


question. As in you are trying to say it's vibrant and it's got huge


impact. It gets you here? It can be very visual, very pictorial. I mean,


it's the goal of all our... Stella's great ambitions for


abstraction paid off as in 1970 at the age of 34 he became the


youngest ever artist to receive a retrospective at the Museum of


Modern Art in New York. His response was to rethink his style


yet again. The Polish Village series was inspired by a book of


architectural drawings of Polish synagogues. Why are they suddenly


emerging into three dimensions? They're so different from the 60s


paintings because they are entering their world? That's inevitable with


building, you can construct a platform for yourself and then


inevitably, you are going to build up from there and cover yourself.


You start with a foundation and end At the beginning of your career you


are laying the foundations and then after time... I see! As you travel


through this exhibition, you can see how dramatically Frank Stella


moved away from the ordered minimalism of his early career. His


later work is unpredictable, three- dimensional and unruly. When was


this made? Last year. Right, so it's really recent. And it's


another huge change in your style. Yes, you could say it's building a


painting again. But it is a big difference because what was done


before was really done by hand, even I could participate. But this


is totally built by a machine. is clear from the breath of work in


this show that Frank Stella's artistic vision has been constantly


shifting for more than five decades. There is a restlessness to him.


It's become obvious to me throughout this interview is what


Motors him as a ferocious drive to keep achieving the goals. Do you


consider yourself a competitive person? No, actually, No. The only


thing that really makes me unhappy is something I didn't really push


hard enough. Frank, thank you show much. Congratulations on the show,


I think it's phenomenal. Frank Stella -- Frank Stella: Connections


continues until 19th November. What on earth was post-modernism all


about? Well, it's the subject of a monster new exhibition at the V&A,


ranging across art, architecture, fashion, design, pop culture and


much more besides. Michael Smith went along to see if he could work


out what it all means. Post- modernism has always been a


slippery consent to grass. Maddeningly difficult to gauge the


importance or the nature of. Having grown up in a post-modern world,


I'm curious to see how this great old institution tries to and pick


it off. Post-modernism, style and subversion aims to make sense of it


as an intellectual and artistic movement. But also as a wider


cultural condition. The show focuses on the years 1970 to 1990.


But typically for post-modernism, these dates throw up as many


questions as they do answers. His post modernism definitely dead? If


so, what's its legacy, and what was it all about in the first place?


The exhibition starts with the death of modernism. By the early


70s, some in the architectural world saw the first demolitions of


modernist high rise buildings as a symbolic failure of modernism's


puritanical Utopian vision. An alternative sensibility was first


imagined when architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown


travelled to Las Vegas. In the City's naive, kitsch, colourful


architecture they saw a vibrant alternative to the elitist,


totalitarian vision of high modernism. There is a tangible


excitement in these pictures. A real sense that this one simple,


profound idea was a kind of epiphany. A skeleton key that


opened up a whole new understanding that the world we've built up


around us. Route 66 to Vegas was post-modernism's road to Damascus.


Charles Moore's Piazza Italia or public plaza in New Orleans was


nearly -- was an early example of this new approach. Inspired by both


classical Rome and contemporary Las Vegas. The artist and self said it


is 20th century, commercial bad taste is part of it. Whereas


modernism sought a clean slate free from history, post-modernism in


various guises sought a play for, ironic re-engagement with the past.


Central to this post-modern approach was the idea of a collage.


A term borrowed from the French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss.


What it basically means is assembling something new from


things that are already there, regardless of style or taste. And


it's a way of accepting the world as it is and then reconfiguring it.


Although the original challenge to high modernism sense a genuinely


profound cultural shift, a lot of what followed in Architecture and


Design seems a bit of a fad and clever clogs to me. It becomes very


annoying very quickly. You would think that hate was too strong a


word for kitchen appliances but I do find some of these pieces


genuinely revolting. They just seemed so hollow and smug. They are


like this kind of highbrow in-joke about bad taste that seems like


such a dead end. But maybe this was always there.. Perhaps its


hollowness is its haunting quality, its depth you might even say. For


me, it's when we look at post- modernism in popular culture that


all the ideas of high and low, authenticity and taste seem most


vibrant and important. I think pop music and performance is the


absolute apex of post-modernism. That's because it was always meant


to be on stage and under hot lights. If you think about the 80s, you


think about cosmetics, big hair, you think about big shoulder pads.


All of that stuff was appearing on celebrities on MTV. It was about


not even being interested in authentic personalities any more.


It was just a matter of the effect you could make, turning yourself


into a special effect. For me, that is what talking heads are about,


Grace Jones, it's about freedom of choice. It's about doing what you


like. One of my favourite things in this exhibition are these


turntables that we used by Grandmaster Flash, who was an early


pioneer of hip-hop. He mixed, some cold and scratched old records to


create an exciting form of music. It's a perfect example of post-


modernism. Using what was already there to make something fresh and


new. The exhibition ends in 1990. Do you see that as meaning post-


modernism is dead then? I think post-modernism is a movement has


pretty much died by the late 1980s. But in some ways the story is just


beginning men because post- modernism is an early warning


system for our lives. So it anticipates. In many ways it was


forecasting or predicting the things we were -- the things we are


experiencing now. This show feels like a premonition of the


fragmented and overloaded digital age we live in today. Post-


modernism as an artistic or intellectual movement may have gone,


but post-modernism as a wider sensibility, a condition, is


terminated the culture. It's a fundamental part of our lives.


Post-modernism's style and subversion is at the V&A until the


eighth of January. On the theme of subversion, we tend to Nigel


Kennedy, one of the world's most famous violinists. He shot to fame


in 1989 with a performance of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons that


went on to become one of the best- selling classical discs of all time.


Now, on the eve of the release of his new album, the Four Elements,


he told us about the four golden rules that have underpinned his


I've never been really rebelling against anyone, just not been


prepared to play music on other people's terms. Music is a personal


thing. It's got to have some of your own soul in it. You can't have


your soul dictated to by other Change is vitally important if it's


going to have life. You can't put music or any form of art into a


Stasis. It's got to be an evolving People ask me to play The Four


Seasons quite a lot. It's kind of my calling card. For me, I can't


play it any more straight. I'm doing something completely new with


it at the moment. I can't go back and play exactly the same stuff


that I've done in 1989, it's impossible. I've got Damon Reece


coming in from Massive attack. He is going to do with them. I've got


my quintet from my improvising musicians playing in it. Four


singers, so we can verbally recreate the poems with music.


There will still be The Four Seasons in it but it's going to be


a different viewpoint. I found it and none Sybil at this fear when I


was a musician starting out. I tried doing it wearing the tales


and speaking sweetly and all this kind of sycophantic stuff, see what


goes on with classical music. It's just too much, man, I couldn't live


like that. I thought I'd try and do it my way and if people don't like


it it's not a big loss. I'd wear clothes which are far more natural


than what most classical musicians would wear. I wasn't fabricating


any image, not a classical one, not a jazz one, not nothing. When I was


a student in New York studying was the greatest violence - not violin


teacher around. He asked me to play with him at Carnegie Hall. It was a


great honour. She was saying, if you go on stage with him they won't


give you a classical concert. And I do remember that night. It was a


fantastic night. True to my teacher's word, I lost the contract.


But if I'd not played, that would have just been another little bit


No, I've never believed in genres being important. It's almost as in


my career I've been trying to fight against the dollars and these


categories, I'm not interested in that. So why have written this new


thing called the Four Elements. -- I have written. It's got classical


influences in it, it's got influences ranging from Frank Safed,


Marvin Gaye, some jazz aspects. I like music. To me it's a trip. It


started off at one point, you don't know if you are going to end up


north, south, west or east. See where you finish up when you get


All right, man. Cheers, guys. Kennedy's new album, Four Elements,


was released earlier this week and the tour starts in January. Still


to come, we've got Mark Kermode with Lars Von Trier. Literary


superstar Diana Athill, a visit to Wandsworth prison and the winner of


this year's Golden Lion at the Venice bien Ali, Christian Marclay.


Next tonight, it's the launch of the Heritage Angels Awards. Simon


Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, and Andrew Lloyd Webber,


but Chair of the judging panel, describes a new scheme to celebrate


the efforts of those passionately pulling together to save their


This is ten-mile banker in Norfolk's Fenlands. There are no


shops here and mow pub, either. What the village does still have is


a church. But in 2002, even that was in jeopardy. This is St Mark's


Church. It was finished in 1846 at exactly the moment that the railway


came to the Fens, in the middle of Queen Victoria's rain. One of the


reasons it is so important is because absolutely nothing he has


changed since then. But all of this was at risk because nine years ago,


Why was it in such a terrible state? When they built it they


built the church half on the river bank, which has to be stable for


the river not to burst its banks, and the other end of the church is


built out on to the fields, the Fens, which are peat bogs, and that


is drying out and shrinking. Over the course of 80 years, the


building slowly began to tip into the subsiding peat bogs. That


resulted in the walls cracking, the roof at structure becoming unstable.


But they wouldn't insure the building at that point. We have to


then either decide to close it, demolish it or restore it.


residents of the area decided they wanted to get the church restored.


So they got together and started fund-raising. How much did you have


to raise in total? In the village, eventually we had to raise �60,000.


For a village with a population of just 250, that's quite a bit of


money. Look at that one, it looks like the whole village is out.


There's no doubt in my mind that what the people of this village


have achieved here at St Mark's Church is remarkable. But the good


news is that they are not alone. People all over the country are


coming together to try to save buildings that they care


passionately about. The English Heritage register of heritage at


risk contains over 5500 such places. And it is to celebrate the


achievements of communities and saving them that the Heritage


So, what are the Heritage Angel Awards? They're prizes that are


going to be given to the best rescue of a place or a building on


the English Heritage, heritage at risk register. There are going to


be four categories. The first is a place of worship. The second is for


the rescue of an industrial building.


The third is a craftsmanship award for the best craftsmanship involved


in the rescue. The last one is a prize for a category which doesn't


involve the other three, so it's any other place.


Four applicants will be shortlisted in each category and everyone on


the short list will be invited to an awards ceremony in London.


They'll meet Andrew Lloyd Webber, the mastermind behind the awards


and chair of the judging panel. hope if you win one of these awards


it's basically saying I have done something brilliant. I have done


something for my local community. I have saved a building for the


nation and by doing that I think what you can then do is to get a


culture going where people feel yeah, we got to look at that, what


is that building on the corner? You can't take it for granted. If we


forget our past you will find that eventually the quality of our life


is totally eroded. We have got to celebrate the best that we have.


English Heritage offices around the country have been sifting through


the applications in order to come up with a shortlist. Over the next


few weeks Andrew and I will be examining the shortlist along with


a team of other judges. The awards will be presented in the late


autumn. I think that these awards are a


brilliant opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of


thousands of heritage heroes up and down the country. People like those


here who literally have saved this Church from sinking forgotten into


the Fenland mud. If you look around us now all these gravestones


actually tell the story of this place, its people. And this


building is central to that story. They came here as babies, were


baptised in the font, came here to be married, came here to be buried.


Behind me are my mum and dad. So, just wish my mother was here to see


this today. And next week Simon will be looking


at the four contenders in the industrial buildings category.


Now for another group of people keen to do their bit. Although,


it's not quite a case of village fairs and fun runs but it's all


geared towards rehabilitation and putting something back. Tim Samuels


went to Wandsworth Prison to find out more. The filming was done to


conceal some identities. Wandsworth Prison in south London houses some


of the toughest criminals in the British penal system. But in this


unlikely environment a dying art is flourishing. It turns out the last


bastion of needlework isn't in suburbia, but behind these prison


walls. Fince Cell Work is a charity. Most prisoners are released with


little more than their travel costs, so the opportunity to earn money


whilst still doing time can mean the difference between


rehabilitation and re-offending. Some of the most experienced


stitchers can find themselves working on commissions from


businesses, or even artists like Gavin Turk. When did you first


start doing the stitching? I have done it for six weeks now. The


first piece, I wouldn't say it was bad, but it's all right. That was


my first piece that I done. I thought you could only do one


stitch, that was normal stitching. But when you tpw in a straight line,


I didn't know there was about six different stitches. How much time


do you spend sewing? Sometimes I do a couple of hours. You think you


have done half an hour of it, but you see it's like four hours gone


by. It's something I thought wouldn't be doing, stitching and


that would think would be for old ladies and that. To be fair the


volunteers are probably Something they didn't expect to be either.


Hi, Tim, nice to meet you. I am Jacqui. Why are you here? Good


question. We have been here for about eight years. Eight years,


yeah. Working for Fince Cell Work, the charity was started by a


wonderful woman who was a prison visitor and she noticed how long


people were locked up and was appalled and tried to think what


can people do in a small space and sewing is an obvious one. She


started Fince Cell Work in a minor way and it's grown, we are in how


many prisons? 29. Not us personally, there are groups all around the


country. There must be guys who you have a fairly close relationship


with? You will have seen them over a long period of time and seen them


develop? Yes, we had somebody a long time ago, the most


extraordinary change was we didn't actually like being in the same


room with him. He was a very awkward character. Very angry.


Arrogant. Within a short time he became part of a team. He was


helpful to everybody else and totally changed man. Completely


changed man and he said doing this work made him think about why he


was in prison and how he had got to change and he wanted to do


something for somebody else. It's quite hard to come in a prison and


not wonder, firstly, what would it take for me to end up in here.


Secondly, how would I cope if I did. I am glad you said that because I


have often thought that. We have been fortunate in having very


supportive families, good education and things. But yeah, it's a very,


very fine line. It is easy. Look at this, I mean, it's a very, very


sophisticated piece of work that. This is a man who's possibly never


had an art lesson or a craft lesson. He hasn't. He hadn't done stitching


before he met us. For some of them when we say here's a piece of


fabric - like these here, these were animal cushions we did for


children. They were just given the shape of the animal and they could


do what they liked around it. When they first were given these they


couldn't even choose the colour of the threads. They said no, you


choose for us. We would say no, what do you like? What would you


find pleasing? You realise that in here they're not allowed, they


don't have a chance to make decisions. When somebody said do


you fancy doing some sewing what was your initial reaction?


initial reaction was sewing, like I had to laugh, things that nobody


mix criminals and sewing. I rely on my Granmother outside to send me


money in prison, when I found out money was helping them, that's the


main reason I got it, so I haven't got to ask for family for money, I


can support by doing this. Once the doors are shut for good, that's


when you can get on with your sewing? That's when I can get on,


relax. It's doing me a favour doing the sewing because it takes my mind


off things. When you are sitting there behind the door you have a


lot of time to contemplate on family and things and this helps


take my mind off it and concentrate on something else. It does help me,


it's like escapism in a way. It's good to know the work is going


somewhere useful. I like the baby cushions because they're special.


They're one-offs for a new baby and yeah. There's intricat stitching


going on there. The main stitch, the legs and shorts and t-shirt


that's chain stitch. A loop stitch. The trainers, satin stitch and back


stitch in the middle. Tennis bat is Staten. What is your relationship


with Jacqui and Cherry? relationship is good with them.


They treat us like normal people and it feels good for us. You have


people coming in off the street, they don't get paid. They're giving


time to help us and help us support ourselves in prison. So, and


they're friendly and all. The people that do this, have a lot of


love towards them. How long are you in for? A nine-year sentence, I


have three years left. Have you plans for when you leave? My main


plan, my main goal is to stay out of trouble when I get out. But I


have had that goal so many times in the past and kept coming back to


prison, so I know I have to do something different. It seems a


simple thing, sewing and yet it's having a profound effect on the


lives of prisoners here. The judicial system is even under more


pressure with the recent riots and perhaps it's time to ask whether


there's a better way to do things, a way where prisoners aren't just


doing time, but contributing something as well.


And you can see an award-winning piece by Fince Cell Work as part of


a exhibition which at the South Bank Centre until 20th November.


Next, we join journalist Lyn Barber on a visit to a less imposing


building, in a suburb of north This quiet retirement home in north


London lives one of Britain's most remarkable authors. Diana Athill is


93 and gives hope to all us ageing writers. She didn't become famous


until she started writing her memoirs at the age of 80 and since


then she's been having a good time. Diana had an I will hrus triious --


illustriious career. In retirement she found her own voice, writing


books that laid bare a very unconventional life.


Her latest is a collection of letters written over 30 years to


the poet Edward Field. It's a soul- barring book which takes her life


up to the point when she moved into this old people's home.


important game for being old is one ceases to be a sexual being. This


may be less true of men than it is of women. Indeed, in some men a


freakish sexuality seems to intensify. I have become free to


love men without wanting to go to bed with them, which is


surprisingly delightful. This is your new book and it's


called Instead Of A Book, because it's letters you wrote. My first


book I ever published was called Instead Of A Letter. It suddenly


occurred this book takes the form of letters, so I said, Instead Of A


Book. It's really good, because it covers all sorts of crises of old


age. I mean, you have bad feet and you have to wear dentures and have


an operation, which makes it sound as if it's going to be depressing,


actually it's very, very jolly. As somebody sort of heading nervously


towards old age myself, I thought it's not as bad as all that,


actually. It isn't. It's entirely luck, of course. We did notice


Edward and I when we started the corerespondence, 30 years ago, we


were a good deal younger. We weren't so obsessed. We began to be


towards the end, there was rather a lot about oh, darling how awful! Do


go and see a doctor about that, you know! The other day I went to an


exhibition at the Tate Britain. When it came to it, I enjoyed


looking at the paintings so much that I stopped noticing my


arthritic hips and got around the exhibition very happily. Now you


have all this sort of brohaha of publication. Do you love that?


was a most incredible surprise. Of course, I never thought I was going


to do - I never thought they would be successful. You said that you


found that that you enjoyed being interviewed, you found you enjoyed


talking to audiences. And found a sort of streak of exhibitionism in


yourself that you hadn't known you had. That was a surprise. Do you


sometimes wish that you had had that fame earlier in life? No, no,


I don't. I think that all this fuss is made about - might be quite


corrupting because you start believing it. When ladies come up


to me, as they often do because I am old, and am having a cheerful


time and they say you are you are such an inspiration. And if people


said that to me when I was young I might believe it, now I think it's


For all her lust for life, her early years were defined by a


single tragedy. In her early 20s, she was engaged to Paul, a young


RAF officer. But during the war he tilted her, shortly before he was


killed. Instead of a letter, you talk about the terrible experience


of being jilted by your young man. And you save that devastated you


for a very long time, 20 years or something. I had lots of other love


affairs after that! It did wreck my confidence for a very long time.


But having been jilted, did you think, I can never marry now?


didn't think I could never marry. What I did was I found myself


sheering off a serious love affairs because I felt they were bound to


end badly. I like having frivolous love affairs. I preferred it.


casual sex, too. Can draw sex, yes. Did you meet somebody and jump into


bed that same evening? I've done that in my time, yes! And I enjoyed


it. It made life better. Diana went on to become one of the most


influential women in publishing, turning editing into an art form.


But her books reveal her sometimes exploitative treatment by her long-


term boss, the brilliant but notorious Andre Deutsch. You


suddenly burst out what a horrible man he was. He's been exploiting


you ruthlessly all through your career, and are paying you. I just


thought, why haven't you said that 20 years ago? Why haven't you


demanded money? I've known him for a long time. He was quite funny and


charming when he liked. On the whole, I think the others did, too.


We all floated a long having a pleasant time and didn't make a


fuss about it. Yes, I was really shocked, though. To learn that you


were only paid 15,000. When I finished. Yes. It was absolutely


ridiculous. That was terrible. didn't realise it was terrible. We


lived in this little pocket of everyone being quite poor. To this


day I'm a bit astray about what things ought to cost. To this day,


The success of the Diana's memoirs means that even in her 10th decade


she is still capturing new generations of readers. Don't you


sometimes want to leave some things out? By the time I finished, I did


wonder what my mother was going to think! She is now as successful as


the famous authors she edited. A jury is testament to the virtues of


old age. -- joyous. Are you aiming to live to 100? Please God 0!


not? It's fine why your health is good. But your health might be


going wonky at any minute. It gets dreadful when it does. I've seen it


happen very quickly. Memory going like that. Do you think you will


write another book? I doubt it. I'm not a novelist, I've not got that


sort of imagination. I can't make things up. Yes. I like documentary


writing. So do I. And by the time you're in your 90s, not very much


does happen! Instead of a book Letters to a friend is published on


the sixth of October. Now the mood takes a turn, and how! From the


racy Cannings on from a litter Mary -- literary phenomenon to the dark


Side Of Cinema, as Mark Kermode takes us on a tour through the mind


and movies of controversial film Bunkered down in and abandoned army


training camp on the outskirts of Copenhagen is Lars Von Trier's


studios - a guerrilla cell of cinema. A guerrilla cell with a


golf cart, that is. He seldom leaves Denmark to to a bizarre


assortment of phobias and anxieties. So why have tracked him down here


at this abandoned military base he calls home. Personally, I have a


rather conflicted relationship with Lars Von Trier's films. Some of


them I really like, I was a big film of Antichrist, which was


shockingly dubbed the most ludicrous film ever made. I admired


Dogville. And I'm a fan of his new film, Melancholia, which is


basically a low-key character drama about the end of the world. But


he's also made films I absolutely hate. For example, Breaking The


Waves. Or, more pertinently, the idiot, which got me thrown out of


the Cannes Film Festival for heckling the screen. Lars Von Trier


got thrown out of Cannes himself recently foretelling press


conference he was a bit of a Nazi. An outrageously ill-judged joke


referring to the fact he was raised in a Jewish family and proud of his


Jewish heritage, but learnt on his mother's deathbed that his


biological father was German. He has been apologising for and


attempting to explain away the offence he caused ever since. But


isn't this just another example of him being a provocateur, a


prankster? And just how seriously can we take anything that Lars Von


The Earth is evil. We don't need to grieve for it. What? Nobody will


miss it. At the very beginning of the film we see the end of the


world. The film starts with the end of the world. There is then a very


striking juxtaposition between that and the fact that we then cut away


wedding, which is meant to be the Justine and Michael. You look


blowing today. Never seen you look The world of film describes it as


something a typical for me. It's high-class, my problem with the


film is suddenly when you have a fantastic cast and a fantastic


garden, people in tuxedos and in bridal dresses, everything all the


sudden turns to look like a What star is that, the red one?


underlying atmosphere of everything is this is all going nowhere, this


is all going to end and it's all going to end badly. When I look


around and look at works of art that I like, they all contain


Melancholia to some point. I would describe it as being the source you


put in the food. If you've got to put Melancholia in then you have to


have some Melancholia at the table to put it in, to me to become a


real dish. What a load of crap! For those who don't know why and, I am


Claire and Justine's mother. Justine, if you have any ambition


at all, it certainly doesn't come from your father's side of the


family. Yes. I wasn't at the church. I don't believe in marriage. Clare,


who I've always taken for a sensible girl, who arranged a


spectacular party. Till Death do Us Part and forever and ever, Justine


and Michael. I just have one thing to say. Enjoy it while it lasts.


see it as more a film about a state of mind or a mental condition man-


made disaster film in that sense. - - man-made disaster film in that


sense. My interpretation was that the whole world got depressed, not


the people in the world but the whole world changed. There are


certain themes in Melancholia that are closely mirrored in Antichrist.


The idea that nature is Satan's church. The idea that the Earth is


wicked. I'm just laughing because this is supposed to be something


which should drag you into the cinema. I'm sorry. The musical


numbers are great as well and the special effects are terrific! You


know these things are in the film. I know, I'm sorry. I can't really


tell you why. But they are both I think it's very cool - macro to


put us here and make us know that we are going to die, and make us


know that whatever has step we take will be evil in one way or another.


That is plants and animals, they have a war on each other. I play


around with the idea that this was the only life and would forever be


the only life. That made it not only melancholic but also


interesting, in a strange way. Darling, this is going to be the


most amazing experience we will have in our lives. It will be here


in five days and it is not going to hit us, just like it didn't hit


Mercury. And it didn't hit Venus. And it would hit Earth, as we know


it won't. Claire, look at me. Sweetheart, you have to trust the


scientists. I have always thought with things that you say in public


that I always am inclined to take them with a pinch of salt because I


think a lot of the time you say things... You don't actually mean


what it is that you say. Why did the Cannes thing happen, how does


it now sit? First of all, it hit me much stronger than I expected.


Afterwards? Yes. I am better 1-1, whatever it is called.... One-on-


one. If I say, I am a Nazi, you will say, what do you mean, which


would help me tremendously. What did you mean? The whole thing came


that the fact my father was German. So the joke was that I was not a


Jew, I was a Nazi. He was not a Nazi, he was a freedom fighter. It


was not a joke about the Holocaust. It was a joke about you. It was a


joke about me. I feel very Jewish. For me, that anyone should see that


I was anti-Semitic would kind of her to be. I have to say, when I


heard you say it I didn't think for one minute you are a Nazi. I don't


think that. I don't think so either. But I think you do say things in


public sometimes that you shouldn't say. Yes. But then I shouldn't talk


in public. That's it. That's what I'm doing right now. Exactly.


press conferences are worse because you can't come in and say what


you've just said. I will finish on this. I haven't met you before and


I've seen all your films. Some of them I've loved, some of them I've


hated. I always thought that everything you say in public, I


don't know whether I believe any of that. The interesting thing is


actually, having now spend an hour or so with you, I do think that you


are sincere. Well, then I have manipulated you! Exactly. My task,


that is my job. Melancholia is in cinemas now. That is just about it


for tonight. On Sunday at 5:00pm on BBC Two, there's a Culture Show


special on the best buildings of 2011. Next week, Mark Kermode will


be talking all about Kevin and Grayson Perry will be settling in


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