Alexandra Harris, author of Romantic Moderns and winner of the Guardian First Book Award, considers how we pass, measure and mark time, and ultimately, what it means to us.

Robinson Crusoe, stuck on his island, had no need to keep time with the world. Certainly he had no boats to catch or appointments to keep. And yet he made it a priority to keep track of the passing days. In mid-October 1659, the thought struck him: ‘It came into my mind that I should lose my reckoning of time’. To avert that disaster he put up a large post on the beach and cut a notch in it each day – doggedly, faithfully, year after year. He had sole responsibility for this makeshift calendar and no way of checking it against an external measure, so he faced a problem when he woke up one afternoon having slept, drunkenly, for a very long time. How long? Could he have slept through a whole day? In which case his calendar would forever be wrong and there was just no way of telling…


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by TOAST ( 27.07.11 )

Jo Craven.

I live in the land of big skies. Constable country they call it. No wonder so many artists live here. The fact that this is the end of the line – the train line that is, just a few miles further and you come to a halt in Great Yarmouth – makes this a frontier land…


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by TOAST ( 25.07.11 )

Rachel Seaton.

I never thought that my favourite part of a visit to the theatre would be waking up the following morning… But so it was with a trip to the Barbican to see Lullaby. The latest production from Duckie, a company renowned for their raunchy experimental theatre-come-club nights, Lullaby invites you to spend a whole night in the Barbican pit with the express intention of getting you to… sleep…


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by TOAST ( 22.07.11 )

Nat Lucas.

It is difficult to imagine Orlando Gough entering into anything without total enthusiasm. His full steam ahead approach to life gathers you up in his wake – whether he is discussing cooking, a new rap artist or in this case, the day of events that he has curated for the ‘Voices Across the World’ festival at the Royal Opera House (commissioned by its contemporary arm ROH2). At the heart of the day are twelve of his favourite singers…


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by TOAST ( 19.07.11 )
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