German novelists on the fall of the Berlin wall: It was a source of energy we lived off for years

Five German novelists recall the heady days of 30 years ago, and assess their legacy Heike Geissler: For the first few years, I fell into every single consumer trap put in my way Heike Geissler was born in 1977 in Riesa in the former German Democratic Republic. She is the author of four novels, most recently Red Love: The Story of an East German Family, won the European Book prize. Germans like anniversaries; they give such a clear shape to history. At these times you can simplify complicated things a bit, smooth out the contradictions. The GDR, which repeatedly comes back to life on these dates, long ago became a kind of museum country. These days hardly anybody wants to …

Charlotte Gainsbourg: Everything now is so politically correct. So boring

The actor and singer grew up in her parents shadow, and starred in Lars Von Triers most extreme films. She talks about why shes finally comfortable in her own skin When sentenced to several years in jail, must have been mortifying. But Gainsbourg spent her childhood in the public eye, with a mother who epitomised 60s cool and a father often made headlines. There was the time he appeared with Whitney Houston on primetime TV and announced that he wanted to fuck her, for example. On another live TV show, he burned a 500 franc note to protest against what he considered excessive taxation. Gainsbourgs classmates didnt respond very kindly to that stunt. At school, the kids took my worksheet …

Gillian Anderson: I fall in love with my characters

Shes played a host of strong female leads, from Miss Havisham to Blanche DuBois and now Margaret Thatcher. Gillian Anderson talks about living in Britain, obsessive fans and dating Chewbacca Gillian Anderson is a woman of many duelling qualities, and it is hard to know quite what to expect when meeting her. Her old interviews are displays of either surprising candour or frosty reserve. She can be earnest and thoughtful, sometimes to the point of seeming grave, yet she peppers her social media with penis/yoni of the day posts, pictures of things that happen to look like genitals, even when they are not. She speaks with an American accent when with Americans, and with a crisp British accent with Brits, …

Rich territory: how class warfare is taking over the multiplex

Grisly comedy horror Ready or Not joins a vicious pack of films this year that have been pitting the upper class against the poor The thing about rich people is that they need the working poor much more than the working poor need them. The new horror film Joaquin Phoenixs Joker in the upcoming solo vehicle for the longtime Batman villain, another picture about a man with nothing ground down by the whims of one-percenters. It would appear that that atmosphere has also seeped into our multiplexes, too, as shoulder-chipped film-makers work out class resentments in the culturally sanctioned roleplay of the cinema. Betty Gilpin in The Hunt. Photograph: YouTube Even the faintest hint of friction between the blue and …

Edna OBrien: I want to go out as someone who spoke the truth

The Irish novelist on her searing new novel, scandal, regrets, religion and… football In May 2017, I watched Richard Ford attests, a work of profound empathy and grace, its narrative leavened by deftly wrought moments of maternal intimacy that possess a quiet but almost luminous intensity. OBrien is 88. Girl is her 19th novel and she has intimated that it may be her last. It may yet prove to be her most powerful. The idea for the novel came from a newspaper report about a girl who was found wandering in Sambisa Forest in Nigeria. Every day the newspapers are full of novels waiting to be written, but this small item resonated in my inner mind, she recalls. The girl …

Streaming: is the Brazilian film Araby the movie of the decade?

A Brazilian road movie thats been wowing critics for two years finally makes its UK debut I was late getting to this weeks selected film though not as late as film distributors in the UK: it has never been picked up for a cinema or even a DVD release. For more than two years, respected colleagues have been talking up the merits of declare it the best film of this fast-closing decade. Having missed it on its year-long festival run in 2017, I waited for a chance to see it on a big screen. That chance hasnt come, but Mubi has, as it so often does, stepped into the breach. Araby is streaming for free on FestivalScope until the end …

A steampunk fever dream: why Carnival Row is not the new Game of Thrones

This new fantasy features Cara Delevingne, Orlando Bloom, penny farthings and lines like Critch magic is a sin against the Martyr! What I think we can all agree were wanting in these barren post-Cara Delevingne as the lead, who is inexplicably a fairy, and inexplicably also Irish, and Cara Delevingne have an Irish accent?) fairy who washed up ashore and was put to work as a maid, but then she broke out of that house (because she has wings) and will probably, if you can be bothered to watch the rest, lead a revolution. Orlando Bloom is a human detective who is trying to crack a series of murders that hint at a dark power brooding beneath the very city …

A Black Lady Sketch Show Is a Much-Needed Jolt to TV Comedy

The exact particulars of the apocalypse are unclear—what caused the disaster; what precise form, or forms, the fury took—and all that we, the viewers, know of what happened is that it’s referred to as The Event and that Earth’s remaining survivors are four black women. Fortunately, post-Armageddon life comes with delightful upsides."We don't have any mediocre white men getting promoted over us," one points out. "We don't have Sally Mae calling us all the time like I'm fucking her man," adds another. The scene, which jolts and spellbinds with the affecting draw of a Last Poets cipher, is just one of several fluorescent currents from HBO’s dynamic and dynamite six-episode series A Black Lady Sketch Show, which debuts tonight on …

Tattoos, tans and techno: the photographers capturing the unseen Beirut

Ravers, semi-naked sun-worshippers, booming queer culture we meet the photographers chronicling a new generation of Lebanese shaking off the trauma of civil war Parties are a privileged place, a space for exploration, a time for fusion, says photographer Cest Beyrouth (This Is Beirut), at the Hezbollah) into their skin. The men told Ammar that tattoos provided a way to express their solidarity with Hezbollah without carrying out extremist behaviour. Of the typical tattooed subject, Ammar says: Hes not a fighter, he doesnt hold guns or go to war, but his message is, Im not afraid. Ammar also points out, however, that they dont go to pray. Some are partying every night and dating Their life is the opposite from that …

Donald Trump met with Twitter’s CEO

Can you picture a scenario in which Oreo cookies are discussed at a House Financial Services Committee hearing? No? That’s OK. No need to imagine hypotheticals, because as it turns out, on Tuesday HUD Secretary Ben Carson name-dropped the popular Nabisco sandwich cookie on the stand. He accidentally mixed Oreo cookies up with REO, a common real estate term. Casual! After California Congresswoman Katie Porter asked Carson to explain a disparity in REO rates, she took the time to confirm that he actually knew what REO stood for. And it’s a good thing she double checked, because Carson most certainly did not know. pic.twitter.com/GPsOCgQDxT — Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) May 21, 2019 After the hearing, Carson tried to recover from the …

Sole to the highest bidder: Sotheby’s to auction rare Nike sneakers

Nikes famous Moon Shoe and limited-edition trainers produced by Kanye West, Air Jordan and Adidas will be sold Sothebys in New York has announced its first-ever auction dedicated to sneakers. The auction house will sell 100 pairs of the rarest sneakers ever produced, including a sample of one of the first Nike running shoes with a pre-sale high estimate of $160,000. The Nike Moon Shoe is one of only 12 pairs created. It was designed by Nike co-founder and track coach Bill Bowerman for runners at the 1972 Olympics trials and the pair up for auction is handmade, according to streetwear marketplace Stadium Goods, which is teaming up with Sothebys for the event. Other sneakers include 2011 and 2016 versions …

How war-shattered Aleppo is preserving its culture

Thousands of Aleppians are using a Facebook group to share their way of life before the Syrian war Going to the hammam was once a beloved ritual for Aleppo resident Atef Shikhouni and his friends. Recalling the boisterous, joyful experience, the 55-year-old wrote: Here is a man shouting, Where is the soap? while another one is asking for the shampoo and a third wants someone to rub his back. It becomes very noisy. After spending some time in the sauna, it is time for the rubbing man. He uses a rough loofah to rub my body mercilessly and I pray it will end without any damage. But that was before the outbreak of war in Syria. Today, the bath is …

Vampire Weekends Ezra Koenig: Rock music is dead, so it’s more joyful to me’

As his band gear up for Glastonbury, the singer talks about his Jewish politics and how there are musicians far more privileged than him If you have never been to Glastonbury, you will always get people telling you that its just got a different vibe to other festivals, man. Even platinum-selling musicians. Its like being in some weird medieval village, says Ezra Koenig, frontman of Father of the Bride in May, and like the previous two, it went to No 1 in the US and Top 3 in the UK. It came six years after the last one, Neo Yokio, which starred Jaden Smith and Jude Law; he also fell in love with the actor and director west African highlife …

5 Queer People on How They Found Their Chosen Families

It's a fairly common tale in the LGBTQ+ community: Queer people move away from home and build new families of their own. They go to cities, find friends and partners, and form a network. Since many queer individuals are rejected (or just simply tolerated) by their families of origin, this new support network is a place where they can shine and be their authentic selves. Anyone who has ever seen an episode of Pose knows this. Yet, with the spread of social media, messages boards, and apps, the ways in which LGBTQ+ folks find each other has changed dramatically. Some still find their chosen family IRL, but others do it by popping up in someone's DMs. To mark the conclusion …

#KimOhNo: Be Grateful That Kim Kardashian Is Bad at Puns

It’s a Kimergency, y’all: Kim Kardashian has named a line of shapewear Kimono. Japanese kimonos are nothing like full-body fat flatteners. They’re imbued with cultural significance that Kardashian is ignoring for the purposes of a confusing pun. They’re no less than the sixth victim of Kim Kardashian’s kwest to kapitalize on kultures not her own. Naturally, people are pissed. You can watch the roast sizzle over at #KimOhNo, which is both a rallying cry for informed discussion about cultural appropriation and a better pun than Kim’s. Emma Grey Ellis Stop Meme-ing Taylor Swift Emma Grey Ellis MTV's 'Most Meme-Able Moment' Honors Internet Culture—Barely Emma Grey Ellis The Sad Meaning Behind the Game of Thrones Coffee Cup Meme When Kardashian announced …

Spiff Up Your Real-World Skills With Old-Timey YouTube

Early humans probably didn't survive by starting fires the cartoon way, scrubbing a stick between their palms until snap, crackle, poof! It's not that the technique doesn't work; it's just really slow and can leave you with enormous, puffy blisters across your palms. To demonstrate, John Plant, the YouTuber behind the channel Primitive Technologies, flashes his torn-up mitts for the camera, scratching at the yellow sores on his already dirty and calloused hands. Then he sits on the ground, shoeless and shirtless, and hits a rock with another rock until he bores a hole through the middle. He puts a straight stick snapped from a nearby tree through the hole and twists tree bark into twine, which he wraps around …