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February 2024 | Issue 44

THE CRITICS MUSIC Norman Lebrecht Soothing sounds in time of war 78 OPERA Robert Thicknesse Operettas for the apocalypse 79 POP Sarah Ditum The curious case of the “Gaylor” affair 80 ART Michael Prodger The erotic art book banned by a pope 81 THEATRE Anne McElvoy A night of spectacle and special effects 82 CINEMA Robert Hutton A sharp satire perfect for Critic readers 83 TELEVISION Adam LeBor Good cops and bad spies 85 RADIO Michael Henderson Great Lives — great, The Essay — awful 86 PODCASTS Ben Sixsmith The Best of The Rest Is ... 87 ARCHITECTURE Charles Saumarez Smith Jam, jute, journalism, Japanese design 88

TABLE TALK Eating Out Lisa Hilton enjoys a quietly superlative restaurant in Chelsea 90

Eating In Felipe Fernández-Armesto advises on matching sauce to pasta, Italian-style 91 Drink Henry Jeffreys sips new malt whiskies at Speyside’s newest distillery 92 Art House Rufus Bird asks whether auction house practices are distorting the picture 94 Deluxe Christopher Pincher goes for a trim at a traditional men’s barber 94 Country Notes Patrick Galbraith calls for a change of attitude towards wild British venison 96 Turf Account Stephen Pollard laments a dispiriting start to racing’s “Premierisation” era 97 Style Hannah Betts recommends a February palette cleanse 98 Hot House Claudia Savage-Gore is irritated by her husband’s obsession with his biome 99

THIS SPORTING LIFE Nick Timothy: More than just a club 100 Boris Starling: The Midas touch 101 Patrick Kidd: Dream teens 102

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THE CRITIC 5 FEB 2024

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