Culture

Dead Dad Book

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This exhibition displays some of the extraordinary pots and plates made by ceramicists Vicky Lindo and Bill Brookes, who won a major prize for this work.

The pieces represent the journey of Vicky’s dad Michael, aka Mick, from Jamaica to Britain, part of the Windrush Generation. He eventually made his way to Wexford in the south east of Ireland, where he lived in a cabin in a wood for some years and where he died.

It’s a story of migration, fractured relationships, sadness and loss, as seen by a daughter who has been and remains intricately involved. It’s her story too.

John Baldessari: The godfather of conceptual art

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John Baldessari, who died last month, was called the godfather of conceptual art. He played a pivotal role in the development of western art in the second half of the 20th century, both in its move away from painting and sculpture and in its relocation from New York to California, and in particular Los Angeles.

After the Second World War the centre of the art world moved from Paris to New York. Artistically it was dominated by abstract art, and in particular abstract expressionism, with the work of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and others.

Uncut Gems

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There is a moment about half way through this panic-inducing film, where Howard Ratner’s (Adam Sandler) soon-to-be-ex-wife stares him in the face coldly and says, “I think you’re the most annoying person on the planet. I hate being with you, I hate looking at you, and if I had my way, I would never see you again.”

It’s funny because it takes you out of the film for a moment, to acknowledge that this is, indeed, how you normally feel about Adam Sandler.

But his performance in this relentlessly stressful tale about a needy, creepy, diamond dealer in New York is spot on.

Starts Again

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After a globetrotting decade as a backing singer, Tawiah finally releases an album of her own. Ironically titled “Starts Again”, it is the fruit of collaborations in those years with Sam Beste and Alex Reeve of Hejira. She honoured Sam by singing the standard “For All We Know” at his father’s funeral last year. Other backing musicians at its live launch last October in her native Deptford now play in Michael Kiwanuka’s band.

Heavy is the Head

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When word dropped that Stormzy’s new album Heavy Is The Head would be released on 13 December there were, to my mind, three possible scenarios. Firstly, it would be the perfect toast to a stunning Labour election victory. Alternatively, it would offer consolation in the wake of a devastating defeat. Finally, the “Fuck the government and fuck Boris” refrain of Vossi Bop would be the defiant slogan of the continuing struggle.

Waiting Game

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“Break down the walls til patriarchy falls” goes the line in “The Anthem” on Waiting Game, the new album by Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science, a collaboration with Aaron Parks and Matthew Stevens. On No Justice (For Political Prisoners), the words of activists, newsreaders and prisoners echo.

Since becoming the youngest union card holder in Boston aged 10, Carrington has been politically engaged for all of her 40-year career in music, as drummer, producer and educator.

A Hidden Life

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Auteur director Terrence Malick commemorates the life of Austrian farmer Franz Jägerstätter who, when called up for his second round of military service during the Second World War, refused to pledge allegiance to Hitler.

The film is a meditative hymn to commemorate Franz and the life he has with his wife, Franziska, and their young children on their farm in a stunning mountainous valley; a world away from the brutalities of the Nazi war machine.

Oscar Marzaroli

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Oscar Marzaroli (1933-1988) is, unquestionably, one of the finest photographers Scotland has ever produced. His pictures of Glasgow and its people, in particular, are an intrinsic and iconic party of the city’s self-image. It is extraordinary, therefore, that this brilliant exhibition in Glasgow’s pre-eminent photography gallery is the first major show of his work in 30 years.

Anselm Kiefer

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Anselm Kiefer is something of an anomaly in the upper reaches of the contemporary art world.

In a period when the super-rich who set many trends favour the vacuous and decorative, his work engages with big ideas about society and history. He’s not shy of taking a political stand either: for several years he refused to attend his openings in the US, in protest against the Iraq war.

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