Category Archives: Uncategorized

The curse of poptimism

Good piece by Saul Austerlitz on music critics who have lost their nerve: I spend most of my time, professionally speaking, writing about movies and books, and during quiet moments, I like to entertain myself by imagining what might happen if … Continue reading

Posted in Journalism, Music, Uncategorized

The art of listening

Street art in Baden Baden, part of the multi-city Unframed project created by the mysterious figure known only as JR:  “He exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors.” 

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Notebook

The assistant director is trying to set up the last of the medical exams for the insurance company (leading cast members are always insured). And I’m making believe I’m listening to everybody, a phony warm smile on my face,  just … Continue reading

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Sonny

It’s exactly 50 years since the then Cassius Clay won the world heavyweight title. But spare a thought for Sonny Liston, the man he beat. Like Joe Frazier and George Foreman, Liston was ideal casting as the brutal, inarticulate villain. … Continue reading

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New age

My Independent review of Sexplosion, Robert Hofler’s account of how the artists and impresarios of the Sixties and Seventies reinvented the cultural landscape: It all seems a long, long time ago. To anyone under the age of, say, 45, this … Continue reading

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Displaced

A Syrian refugee waits after crossing the border into northern Iraq.  From Journey Without End, Lynsey Addario’s series of photographs for National Geographic. [Via  Time Lightbox]

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Notebook

This little court is the Vatican of England. Here reigns a pope, self-nominated, self-consecrated – ay, and much stranger too – self-believing! – a pope, whom, if you cannot obey him, I would advise you to disobey as silently as … Continue reading

Posted in Journalism, Literature, Notebook, Uncategorized

Notebook

The years I spent as a parent of my young children were the richest and happiest I have ever known, and I am sure that my parents’ lives were arid by contrast. For them, domestic life was little more than … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Notebook, Uncategorized

Out-Basseying Shirley Bassey

It’s a song that’s the personal property of just one performer.  Or at least, I thought it was. But the cover version of “Goldfinger” by soul queen Shirley Jones — taken from the new Scorsese film, “The Wolf of Wall Street” … Continue reading

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I am a camera phone

He went exploring with an expensive camera, as usual. But he found he kept using his smart phone too. The end of an era? I returned with the unshakeable feeling that I’m done with cameras, and that most of us are, … Continue reading

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