December 15, 2011

BBC Radio 4

Sex and the Single Girl

First published in 1962, the book Sex and the Single Girl sold 2 million copies in the first three weeks and soon landed author Helen Gurley Brown the role of editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. But was it just a passing publishing phenomenon or did it really deserve to be celebrated and savaged for changing attitudes and lifestyles? To answer that question, journalist and former sex-advice columnist Karen Krizanovich re-examines the book in its 50th anniversary year, delves into the story of how it was written and considers its impact on more recent popular-culture success stories ranging from Mad Men to Bridget Jones's Diary and Sex and the City.

22 December, 11.30am-12.00pm


The Charity That Began at Home

Mr Hylton, founder of the Church of Humanity, preaches the lesson that "false hospitality is inviting people because you like them. True hospitality is inviting them because they'd like to be asked." His disciple Lady Denison adopts these prin-ciples to the letter when she's organising a house party. Although her daughter takes the same line, her sister has very different ideas...The Charity That Began at Home is a sparkling 1905 comedy by St John Hankin (1869-1909), a prominent exponent of Edwardian "new drama" who was much admired by George Bernard Shaw, but whose plays were neglected for generations after his death. This production, at the Orange Three Theatre in Richmond, follows its acclaimed revivals of Hankin's The Return of the Prodigal and The Cassilis Engagement. Running until 4 February 2012, The Charity That Began at Home offers a dazzlingly comic analysis of the clash between social niceties and genuine humanitarian concern.

Barnard Castle, County Durham

Paquin, Winter 1911

Legendary French fashion designer Madame Paquin (1869-1936) was the first great couturiere. She opened fashion houses in London, New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires as well as Paris, employed more than 2,000 people and won the Legion of Honour. One of her rare and beautiful evening gowns has been put on public display for the first time at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle until 5 February 2012. Like something from Downton Abbey, it is a confection of silk chiffon, satin and net in ivory and black, embellished with beads and a pink silk velvet sash. The inside waistband is labelled "Paquin Hiver 1911". Research indicates that it was probably worn by Martha Sabrina Brinton, daughter of the carpet manufacturer John Brinton, during the Christmas season exactly a century ago.


Hidden Heroes: The Genius of Everyday Things

Someone somewhere had to invent the everyday objects that we take for granted and that dramatically enhance our lives, often without our realising it. So who were the unknown and unsung heroes behind the clothes peg and the clothes hanger, the tin can and the tea bag, the pencil sharpener and the Post-it note? This exhibition at the Science Museum, which continues until 5 June 2012, reveals the often surprising stories of these great creative leaps. The idea for bubble wrap, for example, came when someone looking at the clouds started to wonder what it would be like to be cushioned on one. Sketches and drawings, patent specifications and original adverts accompany examples of these familiar yet iconic inventions.


Tags Not Labels/Street Art

Street Art, a touring exhibition from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, highlights the sheer range of talent to be found in the medium through a selection of bold and colourful prints and stickers. More than 30 featured artists include Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Sickboy, Pure Evil and D*Face. This show has now reached the Ulster Museum in Belfast, where it can be seen until 4 March 2012 alongside a smaller exhibition flagging up the most striking figures on the local scene. A select few are featured in large gallery installations, and elsewhere photographs are used to highlight the impressive and growing diversity of art in Belfast's urban landscape.

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