The editors' blog


    ~ Posted by Simon Willis, July 21st 2014

    In the winter of 2007, a young estate agent called John Maloof was rootling around in some boxes at an auction house in Chicago. He was looking for old photographs of the city for a book he was writing on the side, and came across a box of negatives. He didn’t know what they were, but he snapped them up and took them home. As he began to look more closely, he liked what he saw. There were shots of a black man riding a powerful horse under a flyover in New York, of an elegant white-haired woman in a lace veil glancing querulously at the camera, of a blond boy in a fur-collared coat crying his eyes out. They were intimate and spontaneous, and when he posted them on a blog the response was an ecstasy of exclamation marks. The pictures, which nobody had seen before, added nothing to Maloof’s book. But they did add a new name to the photographic canon: Vivian Maier.

    read more » AmericaDocumentaryPhotographySimon Willis

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, July 16th 2014The ageism of the film industry is legendary—particularly where actresses are concerned—but it’s never been demonstrated more blatantly or weirdly than in “Before I Go To Sleep”, a British thriller which is released in September. The film stars Nicole Kidman (above) as Christine, a woman suffering from the same form of amnesia as Drew Barrymore had in “50 First Dates”, ie, when she wakes up in the morning, she can’t remember anything that has happened to her since her mid-20s. She can store up new memories as the day goes on, but when she falls asleep, those memories are erased, and she’s back to square one the following morning.

    read more » AGEFilmHOLLYWOODNicholas Barber

    ~ Posted by Tim de Lisle, July 16th 2014

    Our pick of six new songs that you should have on your iPod. Hear a selection on our player below, or find the playlist on Spotify by searching for IntLifeMag. All songs available (or will be) on iTunes.

    Passenger: 27
    How to paint a self-portrait in a few deft strokes.

    John Hiatt: Terms of My Surrender
    The blues renewed with a sly wit and a soft heart.

    Nick Mulvey: Juramidam
    Afro-pop-jazz-folk. More fun than it may sound.

    Grace Jones: Walking in the Rain
    “Nightclubbing” is back, remastered and still resplendent.

    Roddy Frame: Into the Sun
    From a sparkling new album, a pop gem.

    Jenny Lewis (above): Late Bloomer
    A sunny melody, a voice like spring water, and a lyric that unfolds like a good novella.

    read more » intelligent tunesMusicRockTim de Lisle

    ~ Posted by Melanie Grant, July 11th 2014During the 1970s a couple of geeky geologists, Warren Atkinson (above) and Frank Hughes, spent seven years looking for diamonds in the ruthless heat of north-western Australia. Then, on October 2nd 1979, in a dry river creek in East Kimberley, they found some rough pink diamonds that were 1.6 billion years old. Thirty-five years on, Argyle Diamond mine is responsible for 90% of the world’s pink diamonds. 

    read more » AustraliajewelleryMelanie GrantSHOPPING

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, July 9th 2014

    Being a film journalist, I hardly ever go to the cinema. That is, I go to the cinema all the time, but only for press screenings, which means I’m always surrounded by fellow critics with takeaway coffees, rather than paying customers with popcorn. This week, though, I had to catch up with a film I’d missed, “22 Jump Street” (below), so I handed over actual money in an actual cinema for the first time in more than a decade. I was quite excited. For once, I was going to descend from my ivory tower and savour the authentic movie-going experience once again.

    read more » CriticismFilmsmoviesNicholas Barber

    Es Devlin from IntelligentLife on Vimeo.

    She is the most sought-after set designer in opera. And theatre. And rock, pop, hip-hop... Oh, and she also does the Olympics. For our cover story, Matthew Sweet went backstage with Es Devlin. Here, he introduces her work—from Take That's "Progress" tour to Berlioz's "Les Troyens".

    read more » OperaRockSimon WillisTheatreVideo

    ~ Posted by Simon Willis, July 3rd 2014

    In the March/April 2014 issue of Intelligent Life, Bryan Appleyard wrote about Tri-X, the black-and-white film beloved of many of the greatest photographers, which has its 60th birthday this year. Tri-X gave photographers two things: rich grainy visuals and ease of use. It’s the film on which Don McCullin captured his famous Vietnam soldier with the 1000-yard stare, Sheila Rock her London punks and Anton Corbijn his moody, grizzled portraits of Tom Waits. “Grain is life”, Corbijn told Appleyard. What’s more, “if your exposure was slightly wrong,” Appleyard wrote, “you could still get a decent shot”. It was a film that suited “the casual, go anywhere, do anything mood of the Sixties”.

    read more » ExhibitionsPhotographySimon WillisTHE SIXTIES

    ~ Posted by Robert Butler, July 3rd 2014

    In a recent online Q&A, David Hare, Britain's leading state-of-the-nation playwright, was asked "where did it all begin to unravel?" "The key event was the Miners' Strike," he replied, "and to my great shame I didn't realise it at the time." Thirty years on, a gripping new play at London's Hampstead Theatre dramatises the bitter events of 1984-85. "Wonderland" isn't the mature reflection of someone who lived through the period. It is by the daughter of a miner who did.

    read more » BritainPOLITICSTheatre

    ~ Posted by Robert Butler, July 1st 2014

    The man in front of me, on the way in to see "Great Britain"—Richard Bean's raucous new satire about newspapers and phone-hacking—was the playwright Howard Brenton. In the mid-80s he had co-written (with David Hare) the defiant Fleet Street satire "Pravda". Following behind us was Tom Stoppard, who in the late-70s had written his own astute account of the fourth estate, "Night and Day". Last night's first night was also notable for the number of seats taken by people with a professional interest in the play. A few rows in front sat Nick Davies, the Guardian reporter who had done more than anyone else to expose phone-hacking.

    read more » National TheatrenewspapersPOLITICSRobert ButlerTheatre

    ~ Posted by Tim de Lisle, June 25th 2014

    Our pick of six new songs that you should have on your iPod. Hear them on our player below, or find the playlist on Spotify by searching for IntLifeMag. All songs available at iTunes.

    Metronomy: The Upsetter
    Sparkling electro-pop, with a lyric that's a love letter to 1992.

    Beck: Heart Is a Drum
    The album "Morning Phase" is a bit one-paced, but this mellow piano chugger is a gem.

    Hurray for the Riff Raff: Good Time Blues
    Meet Alynda Lee Segarra, the Latina Emmylou Harris.

    Simone Felice: Running Through My Head
    As ballads go, this is an epic.

    Robert Ellis: Chemical Plant
    Country music without the rhinestones.

    Todd Terje feat. Bryan Ferry: Johnny and Mary
    Robert Palmer with a sinuous twist.

    read more » intelligent tunesLifestyleMusicRockTim de Lisle