A daily bulletin of news & opinion

20 February 2015

BOOK: Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev

“For nine years he spent his time in Russia interviewing the weird and wonderful – I don't know how you could put it down – very timely”

Fleur MacDonald, editor of The Omnivore

Born in the UK to Russian parents, Pomerantsev went to the latter country in the early 2000s to work as a TV producer. During his time in Moscow he found unnerving parallels could be drawn between the trashy reality shows he was mostly helping create and the way the political machinations of Russia operate as a whole – led by the puppetmaster-like political presence of Vladimir Putin and the Russian leader’s king of spin, Vladislav Surkov. Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia works as both a pithily entertaining vignette and a perfectly timed satire of a regime.

FILM: The Duke of Burgundy

"Art-house S&M. Go and check it out"

Tim Robey, film critic for The Telegraph

After the it-shouldn’t-really-work-but-it-does horror-tinged genius of 2012’s Berberian Sound Studio, British director Peter Strickland returns with the equally far-out The Duke of Burgundy, a film that combines erotica, roleplay and very dark comedy to create a beautifully shot work that’s never really what it seems. It also seems about as far from Fifty Shades of Grey as it’s possible to run (while remaining in the same multiplex – and genre, supposedly) and shows that with a bit of wit, imagination, and good old-fashioned sauce, you never really know where a date at the cinema might end up.

ART: Louise Bourgeois, I Have Been to Hell and Back, Moderna Museet, Stockholm

“Exceptionally fascinating for presenting a way in which we are rewriting the canon of art”

Francesca Gavin, visual arts editor for Dazed & Confused

Late French artist Louise Bourgeois’s iconic “Maman”, an apocalyptic, sinewy steel-and-marble spider, might be creeping out visitors just outside Stockholm’s Moderna Museet this weekend but we’d thoroughly recommend venturing inside the building to see more than 100 works that span the artists’ career, too. A third of the pieces – possessing the subversive and often humorous style (masking themes such as loneliness and isolation) that she made famous – have never been seen in public before.

COMEDY: Matt Forde, 24 Hour Political Party People

“The top political comic of his generation”

Bruce Dessau, arts critic for London’s Evening Standard

Political comedian Matt Forde occupies a unique vantage point from which to lampoon (and occasionally talking sense with) the subjects of his routine, having been a former political advisor to the Labour Party in the UK. These days he’s more likely to be writing jokes than political speeches and his acclaimed show 24 Hour Political Party People will be at London’s Soho Theatre this Saturday. It’s got our vote.

MUSIC: Drake: If You're Reading This It’s Too Late

“He’s pulling a Beyonce”

Gary Trust, associate director of charts/radio, Billboard

Toronto’s Drake is the rapper credited with bringing emotion to the game rather than pure attitude and If You're Reading This It’s Too Late continues his plumbing of the depths – this time reportedly referencing a bitter ongoing dispute with his record label. Surprise-released with no warning a few days ago, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is as fresh out of the box – both creatively and sonically – as any hip-hop sounds you’re likely to hear in 2015.


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio


  • The Menu