Episode 20 The Culture Show

Episode 20

Similar Content

Browse content similar to Episode 20. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Hello, and welcome to the Culture Show. Now, when a royal decree from


Queen Victoria herself set aside the princely sum of �2,000 to


establish the National Portrait Gallery here in London in 1856, it


was the first museum to celebrate, solely, the art of portraiture. Now


156 years later, it's home to a new exhibition celebrating the life and


work of one of Britain's most important and influential artists


Lucien Freud, whose death last year really marked the end of an era. It


Also on the show, Clemency Burton Hill talks to sack -- Zach Braff as


he Scrubs up for the London stage. Charlie Luxton delves into the


darker side of architect Nicholas Hawksmoor.


Alastair sick goes dotty for a Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. --


Alastair six. Mark Kermode and Geoff Dyer journey


into the cult world of Russian classic Stalker.


Singer Emeli Sande performs live for us and chaps took Miranda


Sawyer about taking her place in the limelight.


Michael Smith discovers that some things in life are free.


But first, the reason why we are here. An ambitious new exhibition,


more than 100 works by the late Lucian Freud and the first to focus


solely on his portraits, those whom he collectively described as the


The world of Lucian Freud was one of extremes. He was an


uncompromising reclusive painter. And yet his portraits managed to


capture not just the truth of what he called the Human Animal, but


something of the human artist as well. Nowhere more so than in his


powerfully strange self-portraits, which punctuate the show from first


to last. Born in Berlin in 1922, the grandson of Psycho analysts


Sigmund Freud, he had and idyllic childhood shattered by the rise of


the Nazi party. His Jewish family fled to London in 1933 and a strong


feeling of dislocation is palpable and much of his early work. Here we


have his very self -- very first self portrait, painted when he was


21. It is a reminder that yes, he is a realist but from the start he


was a surrealist, an existentialist, a painter of the human condition,


fundamentally one of solitude, known as, vulnerability. It is a


picture of curious enigmatic details, most of which Freud


deliberately did not explain, these are iceberg shape floating past him,


this bird and the strange silhouette tick -- silhouetted bird.


The only thing he did half explain was this further he which he holds


in his left hand. He said it was given to him by one of his earliest


lovers. Freud's love of women was almost as legendary as his love of


painting. Over the decades he married twice, had numerous lovers


and fathered 14 children. This double portrait of Freud with his


second wife, Lady Caroline Blackwood, was the last he painted


in the tight, nervy style of his youth. It is a dispassionate,


remote picture, bordering on the cruel. In fact, Lady Caroline


herself said she was dismayed to be painted at just 22 as so


distressing the old. Freud was as interested in the criminal


underworld as he was in the aristocracy. He would paint for


long hours every day and then head out to the bars of Soho to unwind.


It was a routine which left little time for his children. Freud often


placed his own distinctly unconventional family relations at


the heart of his work. Nat -- never more so in this picture. It is a


microcosm of Freud's rather messy private life. There are two


different lovers, two different children. Down here is a postie one


of Freud's grandchildren but she was unavailable so he had to borrow


a local child. He was known to take months, perhaps even years to paint


a picture like this and indeed, sitting for him was one of the few


ways that Freud's children ever got to spend much time with him.


Nonetheless, there is still that pervasive sense of alienation. His


style might have changed but his approach and few of the human


condition remains the same. One of the most famous monumental of


Freud's paintings is that of Sue Tilley, the eponymous Big Sue of


Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, which set the world record in 2008 of the


highest price paid by a painting by a living artist, �17.2 million. Sue


had been introduced by her close friend Leigh Bowery to Freud. Often


with Freud's sitters, you have a sense that they are very much his


creatures, that he is the chess player doing what he wants with


them. When he painted the Australian performance artist, Lee


Parry, that was not the case. In these pictures, you have a sense of


artist and sitter collaborating, almost battling with each other --


Leigh Bowery. He took his own control of the situation from the


start. He did not ask Freud but they wanted him to painting clothed


or naked. When Freud came back, he had stripped off. He did not make


things easy for himself either. Imagine having to hold that pose


for months on end. Freud and Leigh Bowery shared an anarchic sense of


humour and a love of London's underworld. The pair often dined


together. Freud would entertain Leigh Bowery with tales of his


nocturnal exploits. Freud's assistant, David Dawson, saw the


paintings come to life and eventually sacked for Freud himself.


The thing that puzzles me most about the picture of you is not why


are you holding the dog, why are you lying -- lying in that position


but whose are these legs poking out from underneath? They are my knees,


my legs. They are an echo of my knees line on the bed. Because it


is such a tall, long painting, we were trying to make the painting


work visually by having some life at the bottom of the painting.


that is you twice but there is something sinister about it.


think it is Joe Keay. You might almost be expiring with your dog on


the bed and there you are having been covered by the funeral drape


underneath. It is the passage of all life. It is very arresting. I


don't think his paintings are about death, I think they are completely


about life. They are totally life- affirming. I think there is so much


humanity in them that it is about what it is to be alive. This


exhibition reveals, for the first time, Freud's Point in the


unfinished final work. I gather there is a documentary which shows


some footage of Lucian Freud working. Yes, there is. Throughout


my friendship, I had always taken still photographs. As technology


improved, in my digital camera is a little movie camera. I have film of


him painting as I am sitting. Painting you? Yes. So you are


seeing what I am seeing. If you could move forward. Aged 88, this


was Freud's last day at work. And that is the only known footage of


him? Yes, it is. It is a good thing to have caught. I think it is


proper, yes. The exhibition continues until the


end of May. Do watch out for that fascinating documentary by Lucian


Freud which will be broadcast on BBC2 in the next few weeks.


From portraits of individuals painted on canvas, to that vast


virtual image of modern society that is the internet. Journalist


Aleks Krotoski looks into the evolving face of the Web 2.0 find


out what it says about who we are. The founders of the Web had a dream,


they imagined a global cyber-utopia founded on the ethos of free


information for all. But the problem with this vision is it


assumes that we are all one people with the same shared ideals. But we


are not. The weather is not neutral. It mirrors the values of those of


us who go on line and it reflects the ideologies of those who build


its services -- the web is not neutral.


Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia believes shared information promotes


democracy. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, says privacy is dead.


And Larry Page and Sergey Brin from Google have decided the most


valuable information should be determined and filtered by the


crowd. These are profoundly political positions immersed in


democratic Western ideas. The Web that the majority of us recognise


and use in the English-speaking Western world, has characteristics


about ideological and cultural values. But the internet's centre


of gravity is quickly shifting away from the West. A new internet world


is coming on line. Of the 2 billion internet users, 272 million are in


North America, more than three- quarters of their population. But


China has 485 million internet users, the biggest number of any


country and that is still only a third of its population. This


burgeoning and colossal online community does not access the


western Web but has developed its own home-grown website like Baido,


Ten Cent and Sino Weibo. But perhaps the greatest difference, at


least like our Western perspective, is the degree to which China's


internet is controlled by government censorship, referred to


as the Great Firewall. It is the perfect example of how technology


can be imbued with an ideology, in this case of top-down control. That


perception of censorship, how or where are the Chinese people of


this? First of all, if you go to China and ask the average internet


users, I would say a big proportion of them probably do not care that


much. Not everyone is a political dissident desperately trying to


access all those sense of websites. You have to think about what


internet users on a daily basis used this platform for. E-commerce


and entertainment and also News. Secondly, it is problematic because


you really miss a lot of what is going on on the Chinese internet


which is such a diverse and vibrant space.


The Chinese internet may exist in unique isolation from the rest of


the virtual world but it is not necessarily that different. Access


to information in the West is also filtered and control. Consider last


month's action by Wikipedia which black itself out in protest over


proposed US anti-piracy laws. All controls -- attempts by governments


to control WikiLeaks. I remember not long before WikiLeaks, Hillary


Clinton made a speech about the importance of freedom of


information on the internet. If you contrast that with the US


government's reaction to WikiLeaks. You can have freedom of information,


except for you. Yes. Well the West has been focusing on the perceived


difference of the Chinese internet, less attention has been paid to new


online communities from elsewhere in the world. Could their presence


change the global digital culture? Global voices on wine is an


international network of bloggers who cover stories from around the


world -- global voices online. It was co-ordinated by a Ethan


Zuckerman. I will call him in his office in Boston by Skype. How are


you? I am fine. You have spent time in Africa and work with African


technology companies for a long time, and I am wondering as the


next million users in Africa start to come on line, how they use of


the Web is going to affect me. Where I think it is important that


technology is getting built in Africa, is not that we are suddenly


going to have distinctly African technology with a distinctly


African vibes, I think that is a bit essential list, I think it is


great but we start acknowledging that Africans are building and


using cultural -- advanced technology because then we will pay


more attention. Nearly a third of the world's population is on line.


India has 100 million users, Brazil almost 76 million and Russia 60


million. And yet, in these emerging economies, the number of people on


line is still a relatively small proportion of their populations.


But the potential for growth in these countries is enormous.


Radically changing the profile of who has access to the Web and how.


Today, the great revolution is that countries who do not have the


infrastructure to support the internet in terms of laptops and so


on, have mobile phones. But I see a very quick transition in the next


few years to people all over the world from Africa, to India, to


South America, Central America, converting those phones into


smartphones. That means suddenly they have access to an immense


amount of information which was impossible to get the four. What


effect will that have won my use of the Web? What we cannot fathom is


the immense creativity that is lurking out there. This next


billion, who knows how many ideas. Even if there are only 50 ideas out


of a billion. That is an enormous amount. More ways of communicating


I think it's quite possible that you won't notice the next billion


who come onto the web, and the reason for that is that as we get


more people on the web we actually seem to spend more and more time


with people who we are culturally close to. It's as if right now


we're all standing sort of in one very narrow aisle of the record


store and essentially saying, you know, I grew up in the land of jazz,


so I'm not going to listen to anything other than Dixieland. And


you know, there's this giant swath of possibility around us on all


sides. We need to build systems. We need to build structures. We need


to find all sorts of ways to make it possible to encounter that wide


world. 40 years on from the birth of the internet, and despite the


dreams of its forefathers, there is no one internet culture that


connects us all, but many. And as we move forward in the 21st century,


cyberspace will become more complex and parochial, more messy and


interesting. We can only wait to see how the next billion online


users will shape and change how we make sense of our world.


That's enough of a high-tech vision of the future for now. Next we turn


to the past and to the concrete realities of architecture. Simple,


solid stuff - or is it? The great English Baroque architect Nicholas


Hawksmoor, who started off as an assistant to Sir Christopher Ren,


is both a celebrated and a scandalous figure. He's also the


subject of a revealing new exhibition at the Royal Academy. We


sent Charlie Luxton on a tour of Hawksmoor's London churches to


delve deeper into this most mercurial of architectural minds.


Keeping a watchful eye over London's higgledy-piggledy


landscape loom these brooding creations. Each one conjured from


the mind of an architect some believe to be the greatest England


ever produced. Eclipsed in his own lifetime by his


more fashionable peers, today his reputation as a true architectural


original has never been stronger. As has speculation surrounding his


involvement with other, darker forces.


Nicholas Hawksmoor was born in Nottingham around 350 years ago.


But the dark rumours that shadow him today only merged long after


his death. By the age of 18, he was employed as clerk to Sir


Christopher Wren, the baroque colossus who built St Paul's


Cathedral. Wren's protege, Hawkmoor, rose steadily through the ranks and


had a hand in St Pauls, but he was to wait many years before his own


talents were allowed free reign. In 1711, Parliament approved the


construction of 50 new churchs to serve the rapidly expanding


population on London's fringes. Nicholas Hawksmoor was one of the


men appointed to build them. Although he would complete only six,


Hawkmoor's London churches would come to define his artistic and


architectural gifts. In all the years spent mastering his trade,


Hawkmoor devoured everything he could about architectural history.


He was inspired by the monuments of ancient Egypt, Syria, Greece and


Rome. This interior says an awful lot


about Hawkmoor's approach because to design it, he's gone back to the


basics to the simple geometry of the ancients, of the cube, the


square, and this is an architectural language almost


foreign in the 18th century, but he's brought that together with


real creativity and imagination, so for example here you have a really


simple, unadorned Romanesque arch. Sat next to it you have these


decorative squashed baroque art. So it's the ancient and the modern. It


is rigour and creativity. But some suggest the prominence of cube


shapes in his work has another explanation. Hawkmoor is alleged to


have been a Free Mason, and the frat eternity's symbolic imagery


reflects members' desires to square actions by the square of virtue.


Outside, the architectural pick and mix continues - the dramatic front


portico was based on the Temple of Jupiter at Babeck in Lebanon, and


this curious stepped pyramid is a tribute to the mausoleum at


Halicarnassus. A few miles further east lies St Mary's Woolnoth, the


smallest of Hawkmoor's churches. Once again, masonic or otherwise,


there is a bold central square, but here each corner throws up triplets


of corn inthreean columns. He is fascinated with the dramatic


possibilities of light and shade in his designs. And no-where is that


skill better demonstrated than here at St Mary's. This is a tiny jewel-


like building, and what makes it so special is the quality of light.


The interior is dominated by this large central lantern on which each


face has a lunette window,an and it provides an ethereal quality of


light that you would never imagine looking at that grimy, quite squat


A short walk deeper into the old East End leads you to Hawkmoor's


imposing Kris Church, Spitalfields. He designed this portico to instil


"terror and magnificence" upon all of those who saw it.


Given his enthusiasm for pagan symbols like pyramids and his Free


masonry, it's little wonder that in more modern times some have read a


more subversive significance into his work. He's even been labelled


"the Devil's Architect". Ian Sinclair was one of the first to


reimagine a more fiendish Hawkmoor in his 1970s poem Lud Heat. When I


was in the '60s and '70s doing labouring jobs in East London, the


thing that hilt you straight away is these were like great ocean


liners moored in the lake of the east - St Ann's Limehouse, St


George in the east and Spitalfields. So I started to formulate a weird


theory there was an interconnection with the buildings and you could


make patterns with the lay lines. It became almost a cult. In recent


times almost a school of occult writing has grown up out of this.


Peter Akroyd's historical thriller Hawkmoor depicts ritual human


sacrifice under the buildings while Alan Moore's grak novel From Hell


connects Hawkmoor and The Ripper, free masonry and the monarchy in


elaborate Victorian conspiracy. beguiling as some of the more


speculative theories might be they are pure fantasy. But they do


emphasise the inspirational quality of Hawkmoor's weird buildings.


Keeping a watchful eye over London's landscape looming these


brooming creations. These buildings are so powerful in themselves they


have created this cult. It's nothing to do with Hawkmoor,


literally the architecture. We have reinvented Hawkmoor as a fictional


version of himself because he's unknowable. Really in a sense


Hawkmoor could disappear entirely, which is the ultimate triumph of an


architect, whereas the structures he's left behind are monumental and


extremely significant. As beguiling as some of the more speculative


theories may be, they are nonetheless pure fantasy. But they


do emphasise the profind inspirational quality of Hawkmoor's


weird and wonderful buildings. He is for me without doubt one of the


real greats of British architecture. And Nicholas Hawksmoor, architect


of the imagination, is at the Royal Academy until June 17. Next we turn


to Scottish singer Emeli Sande. She's now widely tipped as the


voice of 2012. Miranda Sawyer went to meet her to find out how it


feels finally to be in the limelight. To say that Emeli Sande


is a high achiever is an understatement. Inspired by Nina


Simone, she wrote her first song when she was just eight years old,


was discovered at 16 and was so gifted, she was instantly offered a


record deal, every teenager's dream. Instead, she decided to take some


time out to become a doctor. She studied clinical neer neuroscience


at Glasgow University while writing songs for other people in her spare


time. She's penned tracks for mainstream


popstars like Cheryl Cole, Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle. She's


collaborated with Godfather of Grime, Wylie.


Had a number one hit with Professor Green and worked with up-and-coming


super-producer Naughty Boy on Daddy. I heard you wrote someone when you


were eight. Can you sing it to us? It was about an alien from space.


Of course. You were eight. That's why I am not going to sing it.


memory of your family sent a CD out? My mum was sending CDs out to


radio stations. That's a proper mum! Yes. And she also sthemt


video-tape of me singing at the piano at home. She sent it to


London. There was a Trevor Nelson talent search he was doing. To I


won that. That was my first kind of insight into the industry, me


coming from quite a small town this Scotland, it was all so much and so


fast. So what happened after that? You got management, is that right?


Yes. That's when I found my managers. They actually flew up to


Aberdeen and... How was that? were really excited. We were like,


I wonder what they look like. My dad was really strict. He put a


Dictaphone on the table to make sure he knew what they were saying.


I'm glad he did. At the time, I was so embarrassed, but now it's so


important to be protected. # Maybe I'm too quiet for you


# You probably never notice me # # Follow me


# I'll be your river, river # I'll do did running for you


# Follow me # You could have signed a record deal


straight away, didn't you, but you decided not to? Yeah, there wasn't


- because I'd already been accepted to study medicine, it was there. I


did four years. I graduated in clinical neuroscience. Which sounds


incredible. It's interesting to me because things like research and


medicine to me are a very different way of using your brain than in a


creative way. It was definitely one or the other. When I studied


medicine, I just found it very hard to be creative or to write. I found


that very difficult, and now I find it quite hard to be scientific and


to be organised, so I think it's one or the other. I would love to


find a middle ground. A singing doctor... Done!


LAUGHTER So you've written for - A Love for


the People. Is that part of your plan? Did you think what I am going


to do is work with other people, then strike out for myself?


wasn't the plan from the very beginning. I always planned to be


my own artist, but when we wrote for Chipmunk, someone hears about


that then you write for someone else. It kind snowballs, and before


you know it, you're a songwriter. # Because I know diamond rings - #


It really got to a point where I thought even though this life is


great, you need to remember performing and representing your


own work is really special. Did you ever put a song out and nobody


wanted it and you thought, I'll have it then? Yeah, sometimes it


has been a blessing in disguise because you get to a point where


you want your songs to be used so much, and you forget, these songs


are great, and they sound great - you singing them, and if someone


didn't want the song, like River, then it was just such - I'm so


happy that no-one wanted it because I love it, and it's one of my


favourites on the album, so yeah, I'm kind of glad that happened.


# I'll be your river, river # I'll move the mountains for you


# Follow me # I'll be your river, river


# I'm here to keep you floating And Emeli Sande's new album is out


next Monday. Still to come: Scrubs star Zach Braff, Mark Kermode on


Andrei Tarkovsky's classic film Stalker and Michael Smith on a free


art. But next, Japanese conceptual artist Yayoi Kusama has had an


astonishingly long and prolific career. Now 83 she is still as


vigorously productive as when she first started showing how a


counter-culture creations in New York back in the 1980s. A big new


retrospective is starting at Tate Modern.


The Princess of polka dots has produced an amazing and dizzying


range of work over her 60 year long career. Abstract paintings,


sculptures, collages, installations, happenings, films, fashion and


poetry. All very colourful, playful and seemingly joyful works. But


appearances can be deceptive. Like Alice in Wonderland, her work is


rooted in darker stuff. Imagine being a child, looking at a


patterned table cloth covered with large red flowers and then looking


up at the floors and ceilings and seeing that same pattern endlessly


repeated there. Quite weird. May be an optical illusion, tired by his


playing tricks on you. Until you look at your own body and you see


that same pattern endlessly repeated there as well. As a 10-


year-old, that must be pretty terrifying. But it was precisely


these hallucinations which saw the flowering of her extraordinary work.


Yayoi Kusama herself has always been clear about what Hart art


means to her. If it were not to art, I would have killed myself a long


time ago, she has written. Yayoi Kusama has suffered from severe


mental illness or her life. She lives voluntarily in a psychiatric


hospital in Japan. For her, creating those hallucinations is a


way of controlling her obsessive anxieties and fears. I am


determined to create a Yayoi Kusama world, she wrote. So now time to


enter her world. I feel a little bit like Alice in Wonderland about


to tumble down into the rabbit hole. I am not entirely sure what I will


discover. Entering the first room in the exhibition, her early work


is surprisingly muted but what promises to be -- joining us on


what promises to be a sensory trip, are three women of her generation.


What do you think? I do think it is very Japanese. It reminds me of the


fabrics they do with tie-dye with the dogs. For me, I think it is


quite instructive to think of these paintings in terms of the context.


Here is a woman who is not yet 30, who does not speak English, who


arrives in New York and wants to take on the art establishment, the


avant-garde who were there in America, essentially people at


Pollock, the Abstract Expressionists. She has created


these enormous paintings. This is big. Death to the horizon. There is


no horizon. What people say about the classic work like Pollock is it


is pretty macho. This does not necessarily feel macho to me. What


do you think? It is said, Jackson Pollock is just an ejaculation all


over a canvas. And you cannot say that about this. But it is


certainly much more all enveloping rather than an assault on the


censors. One art historian gets quite excited and imagines, if this


is -- if Jackson Pollock is an ejaculation, this is more of a


female organ out -- female orgasm. It is rather subtle, isn't it.


is a piece, it is called Aggregation: 1,000 boats show.


is an expression of protrusions. She was very anxious about the male


sex organ, she said. She is confronting her innermost fears.


what UC here is clearly one of the earliest installations. It is not


just one work here, it is a wholly a mercy of environment. There are


pictures of the boat repeated on the floor and the ceiling.


Repetition, repetition, repetition. Andy Warhol. Totally. He saw this


and a few years later he made some wallpaper of his own. She is


pioneering. She is way ahead of Warhol. In here, we see something


completely different again. It is a film Yayoi Kusama made in the night


60s. It is called Self Obliteration. It's hard to make out what it is.


We see these happenings where she gets people to take their clothes


off. Partly because she is tapping into the counter-culture. She


became the high priestess of the hippie movement. Patricia, you were


living in New York at the time. Do you remember the flower children?


absolutely do. They were fabulous and really against the Vietnam war.


Make love, not a war. That appeals to me a lot. It is politicised,


isn't it. Do you think of it as shocking or a record of an


intoxicating time to be young, alive and a woman. I think it is a


great time to be fun and vigorous. Looking at this, for you, feels


quite natural. I wouldn't say it was quite like that! What is going


on here? It is an orgy. Phallic fields. That is not somebody who is


afraid of the phallus any more. It is contradictory. She never partook.


She is a voyeur. So, this is a piece which she has made especially


for this show. It is one of the Mirror rooms which she has been


making a while but this is made specially for the Tate. There is


water there say have reflections of glowing bulbs. How amazing! It is


like a cityscape. Repeated and repeated. Do you think there is any


sense that you have finally stumbled into her head? Certainly


infinity. And beyond! It reminds me of when you are a child and you see


the mirrors on a dressing table and you see yourself reflected and


reflected and reflected. When you do start thinking about infinity


because you realise there are more images of yourself, it is that kind


of infinity feeling. I feel like in her personal journeys somehow she


has resolved something and at 82, I hope she has! There is much more


calming this. Yes. There is an That show continues at Tate Modern


and will 5th June. From Yayoi Kusama's dazzling spectacle and


told -- to a distinctly dark comedy, a new play written and performed by


American actor Zach Braff, better known for his work in the comedy


Scrubs. Clemency Burton Hill met him to discuss his distinctly


idiosyncratic sense of humour. A suicide attempt may be an


unlikely opening to a comedy drama but Zach Braff's creative


imagination has been provocative from the start. He found fame as


messed-up medic JD in the darkly comic television series, Scrubs.


But he also earned his stripes off camera, writing, directing and


starring in the indie hit Garden State. This is my friend Andrew.


is nice to meet you. Nice to me you. Not content with scaling the


heights of Film and Television, Zach Braff is swapping the screen


for the stage in his latest incarnation as a playwright. He has


brought his production All New People from New York to the UK and


has taken on the lead role for the first time. Nice to meet you!


are the chief of the fire department? Why are you surprised?


Because you obviously have a drug problem. It is not a problem for me.


The comedy tackles the existential angst of a thirtysomething man


whose arrival -- whose existence is entrusted with the arrival of some


people. I know the play opens with an


attempted suicide, it does not sound very funny. Thanks. I guess I


sold one ticket. No, I am kidding. I love to play with the dark. My


family, we have always been people who in the darkest times of


whatever family drama we were going through, we would make a joke.


Someone would laugh, someone would release the tension with humour. I


like art like that. This does open with someone who is about to


attempt suicide, but it is a comedy and it quickly devolves into a


little bit of mayhem. But I think people really enjoy that. Even if


you look at Scrubs, it was the broadest of comedies at times. At


the same time, you come out of a fantasy and the young doctors go


around the corner and then they are dealing with the death of a patient


and it was played completely straight. I have had some good


experiences with being able to operate in that genre. Welcome to


our humble abode expert cool I like your accent. Do you guys have any


drugs? No, stop taking off your coat. Get the hell out! We are not


having a party eczema do you think you are inviting the audience to


look at where Zach ends and Charlie begins?


No, I'm not suicidal, thank God, but I have dealt with a lot of


these themes in my play. There are these themes in my other work,


isolation and loneliness and searching for companionship. I


guess the themes in this play about love but not romantic love. It is


more focused on companionship and love or friendship and how, at our


lowest points, you can be rescued by a love. -- rescued by love. But


is something I like to daydream about.


Before, I do anything I could do to avoid being a lone. I always had to


be scrolling through my phone looking for someone to text. In


line for coffee or a car, I was always talking or texting some one.


Are you lonely, Charlie? Of course, I know only. Then why are you


trying so hard to get rid of us? All New People is set to take on


London's West End but it will not be his first time in the theatrical


spotlight. He has had Stateside so birth -- Stateside success as a


bastion in Twelfth Night and worked in the comedy Trust.


Are we likely to see you in the Royal Shakespeare Company at any


point doing your finest British accent? I don't know if I would


have the courage to bring Shakespeare over here. I have done


three Shakespearean shows but I do not know if I could do it in the UK.


Can you give us a little...? Giving your huge success on


television and film, there will be a lot of scrutiny of this play and


London theatre critics are notoriously tough so presumably it


was more personal when you rate the show and you are starring in it?


Sure, it is personal to me. It is a large piece of who I am and what I


think about. There will be people who love it, people who won't but


hopefully, at the very least, there will be people who can relate and


say, I see myself in these people. Isn't this what you want? You say


you are lonely but here you are, surrounded by people. Maybe it is


like being bone tired, you feel bone lonesome. That is actually a


good way to put it. And All New People is currently


playing at the Manchester Opera House before transferring to


Glasgow and London. The writer deaf trier -- Geoff Dyer


has turned his attention to a wide range of subjects, photography,


jazz, the First World War, yoga. His latest book is based on the


late, great Russian director, Andrei Tarkovsky's celebrated film,


Stalker. Mark Kermode went to find out why the 1979 classic has made


such an impression on him. It is slow going. Stay with it, I promise


Stalker is about as far away from a Hollywood blockbuster as you could


get. It unfolds at its own unhurried pace. There are just 142


shots in the whole two-and-a-half- hour film. That's Tarkovsky for you.


The subject matter is somewhat obscure, a guide or stalker, takes


two men into a forbidden area called the Zone at the heart of


which is the Room where your deepest wishs will come true.


I first saw it when I was at university in Manchester where the


industrial landscape oddly matched that of the film itself. I remember


staying up late at night in student flats discussing what the film


meant. I admired it. I was intrigued by it, not sure I loved


it, but for Geoff Dyer, Stalker isn't just a great film. It's the


reason cinema was invented. For Jeff, the film invokes the hope and


despair of all humanity. His book is called Zona after the mythical


Zone in which most of Stalker is set. Is it possible to encapsulate


why Stalker has become such a profound religious experience for


you? Partly because it's a religious film, so this place, the


Zone that they go to - I think one of the remarkable things about the


film is that the zone is, on the one hand, a perfectly ordinary


place - trees, abandoned stuff, and at the same time, it's also a place


where magical things can happen. It seems both real and absolutely


pladgeical at the same -- magical at the same time. There is a lovely


bit in it. They're in a room, and this bird flaps into the image and


then disappears. And crucially, as Stalker says to one of the clients,


the important thing is to believe, and it seems to me in the course of


the film we come together absolutely in the mysterious powers


of the place, the Zone, which never stops looking at the same time as a


completely ordinary bit of wasteland. Geoff uses the film as a


jumping-off point to delve into the world of cinema and into the mind


of director Andrei Tarkovsky. For those who may not be familiar, can


you describe Tarkovsky's style for me? Oh, yeah. In a word, I guess,


slow and demanding. What Tarkovsky wants to do, I think, is just


immerse you in the particular rhythm of his films and to give you,


crucially, a new experience of time, and if you find his film bores


boring at first, I think quite often that's just because of a


friction between the speed of the film and your expectations. Once


you give yourself to it entirely, then there's no problem at all.


first words in the film are spoken by the wife, and they are...


did you take my watch? Yes, the film has hardly started. She's only


just woken up, and from a husbandly point of view, she's already


nagging - nagging him and calling him a thief. No wonder he wants out.


But of course, we're also getting Your book is about Stalker. I think


it's more about you. Oh, yeah, Stalker takes two clients into the


Zone. One is Professor, and the other is writer, and not


surprisingly, I identify with this writer. He's my embedded


representative in the film, if you like. And I like the way he's some


sort of quite cynical, washed-up writer who is going to the Zone for


This figure of the writer in the film enables me to have a sort of -


it enables me to participate in the film in a way. It facilities that


traffic between what's going on in the film and my experiences of


seeing it and stuff going on in my life. Maybe by going to the Zone,


the writer will be rejuvenated. And I know how he feels. I could do


with a piece of that action myself. I mean, do you think I'd be


spending my time summarising the action of a film almost devoid of


action - not frame by frame,s a exactly, but certainly take by take


- if I was capable of writing anything else? In my way, I'm going


to the Room, following these three to the Room, to save myself. There


is at the centre of all of this this idea that there is a room


which makes your deepest desires come true. It may be a very mundane


thing, though. I guess, if you like, you can imagine the room as


something like the football pools whereby if we won the football


pools or the lottery or whatever, all our problems would be over with.


That is what I want, but actually, it turns it that it's more


complicated than that because what it's revealed to you in the Room is


not what you think is your deepest desire, but what actually is your


deepest desire. We don't really know what our deepest desires are.


My suspicion is that they're revealed in the way that you end up


leading your life as it is at So there you have it, Geoff Dyer's


book Zona is out now. You can still pick up Stalker in most good DVD


stores. Next, we drag ourselves away from Tarkovsky's mesmeric


masterpiece and take it out on to the streets where Michael Smith


discovers an extremely generous art movement.


Street art, a vital part of most urban landscapes, designed to stay


put for as long as it can. But imagine discovering a piece of art


that was actually out on the street, and if you liked it, you could just


pick it up and take it home. Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn't.


Under the banner Free Art Friday, the global online community of


artists create works specifically to leave out on the streets. If you


like the piece you find, they want Three members of the group have


come to London to leave some work out for the unsuspecting public,


but I can't help wondering, is all the publicity stunt a career move


or genuine altruism? Is it seen as a steppingstone into the gallery


world or is it an alternative to that? Not for me personally. From


being gallery artist, if you want to put something in a gallery, you


have to have something that's going to sell or be well accepted. Moving


into free art gives you so much freedom, what you want to do as an


artist. I like the altruistic side of you're giving something for free


- not, this is going to be worth lots of money, or should I be


liking this? Anybody picking it up is doing so for the right reason.


But will the public even notice or want it? The first artist up is


Carl. I'm curious to see how quickly each artists' work gets


snapped up. It might even give us an insight into the artwork's true


street value. Ten minutes in, and the passersby seem totally


indifferent. It's not looking good. I think we have had our first bite


of the day - 16 minutes it took. LAUGHTER


All right? Hello. What made you take it? That really - the free bit.


Yeah, yeah. Did it feel a bit strange taking it? Yeah, I felt


like I probably should have left it, but I wanted - what is is it? It's


a portrait. It's me. I'm sorry I've never heard of you. That's all


right. Not many people have. Don't worry about it. Glad you like it.


Thanks a lot. Cheers, guys. Take The next artist up is My Dog Size.


Can he beat 16 minutes? I suspect that will go first, but I really


hope not. I want that on my wall. Maybe most people are too


subconscious to take it. Something bright and colourful on the tree -


stop and take a look. No! Here we go. Come on. Have a look! Oh, right


Oh, look. Here we go. Oh, here we go. That was a good glance, a turn-


around. They noticed the word "free" possibly. Oh, pictures.


Don't take the can! Don't take the can! Yeah, they... Oh, we're on six,


yeah, not even seven. Hello. We notice you have taken all the free




Nice. So what made you take it? from Malaysia, so I'm going to take


it and bring it to my office and put it in there, so it will be a


nice happy memory. I am quite jealous you got the can. I really


fancied that can. You should have it. It's beautiful. Thank you very


much. Everyone is a winner. Bye! Well, they all went like hot cakes,


didn't they? The last artist to drop his work is Fin DSC.


cannot pick it up. We have finished the seven-minute period. I hope


they're stopping now. Getting very cold.


LAUGHTER Ah, we've got a taker. And it's


gone - the slowest time of the day, yet these pieces turned the most


heads. Maybe the old stopwatch idea is missing the point. Hello. Why


did you pick it up? I don't know. It said, "Take me," on it, and I


thought, why not take a really beautiful piece of art home? Do you


think it's a good thing you can get art for free? Yes, definitely


because it lets people who wouldn't ordinarily have art get art. Thanks.


See you later. As another satisfied customer,


let's hear from some of the people who looked today but didn't take


anything. I was listening to a song by Squeeze that was Take Me I'm


Yours, so it seemed a strange coincidence. I was going to take it,


but I didn't know if I could carry it home. I didn't know you could


just take it. I thought it was part of the environment.


Well, I was a little bit dubious about this Free Art Friday this


morning, but I have really warmed to it. I think they're doing it for


all the right reasons - for the love of creating the stuff and for


the love of sharing the stuff with the people that pick it up. There


is something really generous about that and I think it can only be a


good thing. That's all for tonight. We'll be


back next week with Mark and his annuaanti-Oscar antics, The Kermode


Awards. We'll have Noddy Holder from Slade and his love of cabaret


Download Subtitles