Sharp Objects | The Allusionist | Ranger's House | Red Thread | Sabor...
This week, our what's on guide The Week in Colour previews HBO's latest spine-tingling series, a fascinating book about mazes, a very wordy podcast, a private art collection with a difference, and the Spanish restaurant everybody is talking about.
WATCH: Sharp Objects. From the director of Big Little Lies comes this new dark and twisted thriller with more than a hint of American gothic, a fabulous cast and eerily seductive cinematography. Part murder-mystery and part claustrophobic ghost story, the plot centres around young alcoholic newspaper reporter Camille (Amy Adams) needing to return to her childhood home, a spooky old mansion in small town Missouri, to investigate a murder. This is not exactly cosy, considering one of the rooms is a shrine to her sister who died during her childhood, while outside a seeming serial killer is on the loose, with local girls going missing and turning up dead. And creepiest of all, Camille’s mother (Patricia Clarkson) doesn’t seem too pleased to see her. Frosty, wealthy and brimming with malice, she goes about her business as a pillar of the local community while shedding hints she may be hiding some nasty secrets of her own. With surreal hallucinations and growing family tensions Camille begins to unravel in an atmosphere of heightened horror. Get ready for another gripping box-set addiction.
LISTEN: to The Allusionist. This is the most fascinating linguistics podcast out there, regularly taking word nerds on a vocabulary adventure with host Helen Zaltazman in conversation with a variety of special guests. Trace the origins and movements of different words, explore the threats of minority languages, discover the importance of ‘small talk’, learn how to swear properly, and analyse the language of online dating. Whether it’s discussing hyperbolic numerals or broadcasting from America’s second largest crossword puzzle tournament, The Allusionist explores the intricacies and evolution of language in a kajilion (yes, that’s a word) different ways. After a short break, the show is back with Shark Week, episode 81, with Zaltazman and special guest Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder and The West Wing Weekly podcasts, answering listeners questions including the various theories on where and how the word ‘shark’ came from.
VISIT: Ranger’s House, Greenwich Park. Opening its doors to the public again last month, this picturesque Georgian house in Greenwich Park holds some wonderfully dark secrets. The Wernher Collection is one of the greatest private art collections in Europe and it includes diverse objects that share one unusual characteristic...their ‘splendid ugliness’. Amassed by the millionaire Victorian diamond dealer Sir Julius Wernher, this celebration of the beautiful and the macabre is a fascinating window into the darker side of art history. Stroll through gilded rooms filled with ornate and luxurious curiosities, which also include reminders of the transience of earthly beauty. One of the most striking is a piece of delicately carved ivory from around 1500, a dramatically morbid ‘before and after’ depiction of an aristocratic young woman, one side showing her in life, and the other, after death.
For more information on visiting and opening times go to http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/rangers-house-the-wernher-collection/ and visit @EnglishHeritage on Twitter.
READ: Red Thread: On Mazes and Labyrinths by Charlotte Higgins. Driven by a life-long obsession with mazes and labyrinths which was triggered by a childhood visit to the ancient Greek site of Knossos in Crete, the Guardian’s chief culture writer investigates the important role of mazes in her latest book. While highly personal and part-autobiographical, Red Thread explores the lines of mazes and labyrinths through gardens, art, literature, science, mythology and religion. From the history of Sir Arthur Evan’s famous Cretan excavations to interviews with the likes of Adrian Fisher, a builder of over 700 contemporary mazes, and studies on the great Spanish writer Jorge Luis Borges and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, the book’s intricately constructed narrative is itself designed to take readers on a dizzying maze-like voyage through time, dreams, fact and fiction.
DINE: Sabor, Mayfair. Spanish food lovers have been rejoicing at the opening of the capital’s hottest new Iberian spot, which perfectly captures the essence of Spanish cuisine. Launched by Nieves Barragan Mohacho and Jose Etura, the duo who were responsible for much of the success behind Barrafina, this delightful restaurant on Heddon Street whisks diners away on a culinary journey across the Iberian peninsula, from the Tapas bars of Andalucía through to the Asadors of Castille and the seafood restaurants of Galicia. The restaurant is split into three distinct areas: the counter, where diners are served on a first-come-first-served basis and can closely observe the chefs and the in-house fish mongers preparing dishes from a changing daily menu; the bar, where a dazzling range of Spanish vermouths, gins, txakolis, wines and beers are available alongside delicious tapas; and El Asador, where diners sit at large communal tables and enjoy hearty dishes from the traditional wood fired oven or large copper pans. If you make it upstairs to El Asador, try the Galician Octopus or the Castilian suckling pig, and make sure you leave room for dessert, as the sticky, rich and tasty bombas de chocolas will blow you away.
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