Rule of Three


The Master and Margarita

by Mikhail Bulgakov

View the book cover

For one night only, you can enjoy the pleasure of witnessing the most terrific performance you will ever see, a heart-stopping display of conjuring performed by Satan himself. The Master and Margarita is a chaotic carnival that romps through Russian society, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Its flamboyant settings include magic shows, department stores, and masked balls alike. At the centre of the novel are a number of oppositions: the eternal battle between Heaven and Hell, good and evil, light and darkness. In his theatrical treatment of these themes, Bulgakov courts both irony and po-faced seriousness. By refusing to fall firmly on either side, he renders the two approaches all but indistinguishable.

Words by Lewis Coenen-Rowe

Devil's Spoke

by Laura Marling

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A quiet, ghostly drone is heard, with sounds resembling footsteps and crows barely discernible in the background. An acoustic guitar fades into focus, soon joined by a troubled tale of two lovers. Playing on the lyrics’ ambiguities, Laura Marling’s vocals move from menace to meekness and back. In the final line of the bridge, she breaks apart words and bends pitches in anticipation of the song’s climax: ‘I am yours till they come’. With the concomitant chord change, the song is sent spinning into a barnstorming outro. The musical momentum is matched by feverish desire: ‘Eye to eye / Nose to nose / Ripping off each other’s clothes / In the most peculiar way.’ The bassline descends one step at a time, before finding home with a final, minor-third leap into the abyss.

Words by John Wadsworth

Pony Island

developed by Daniel Mullins
Video game

View a still from the game

We see a garish menu screen, full of sunbeams, hills, and leaping ponies. But all is not as it seems. If we follow the ‘New Game’ link, the cheerful facade vanishes. The game reloads in pixellated monochrome, displayed as if on an old arcade machine. An ominous hum dogs our every move. This menu is rather less cooperative. Some options are impossible to select, while others malfunction as we click. Once we have discovered and tweaked the game’s pseudo-code, we can play a handful of simple jump-and-click levels, watching our character vaulting over hurdles. We are then prompted to make a decision: proceed no further, or surrender your soul. We must converse with demons, acquire pony lasers, and withstand trials of trickery if we hope to escape.

Words by John Wadsworth

More to discover

The Master and Margarita: You can read an excerpt here, and find a website dedicated to the novel here.

Devil’s Spoke: Listen to the song here, and visit Laura Marling’s website here.

Pony Island: View the trailer here, and watch a playthrough here.

Today's connection

In each artwork, Lucifer guides characters’ actions.

Question of the day

Which artworks related to the word 'Lucifer' would you recommend?
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