Category Archives: Uncategorized


Walther Funk, who was both Minister of Economics and president of the Reichsbank, told stories about the outlandish pranks that his vice-president, Brinkmann, had gone on performing for months, until it was finally realized that he was mentally ill. In … Continue reading

Posted in History, Notebook, Uncategorized, World War 2 | Tagged , ,


Another of my 20 essential Brazilian songs from the Sunday Times.  The playlist is on Spotify too.

Posted in Brazil, Music, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Transatlantic language barrier

Matthew Barzun, American ambassador to the UK, on adjusting to the local way of speaking English: In my work it sometimes causes difficulties, like when I told a British staff member his work was “quite good,” causing a confused expression. … Continue reading

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Unbelievably rich people & Richard Gere

Oh dear, looks like I’m in danger of becoming addicted to Judgmental Maps. Las Vegas is great fun too. As is London.

Posted in Comedy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,


Slowly, mixed-raced players started to filter through to the big clubs. They were made to feel ashamed of their colour. Artur Friedenreich, the son of a German immigrant and a black Brazilian,  looked white apart from his frizzy hair. Before … Continue reading

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Stanley Kubrick: portrait of the artist as a young photographer

An atmospheric Kubrick selfie, taken in 1947, when he was making his name as a teenage snapper. From the exhibition “Eyes Wide Open” at the Kunstforum, Vienna. [HT: Debbie Norcliffe]

Posted in Film, Photography, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

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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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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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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