Monthly Archives: November 2013


Shall I say some ominous aunt-like words about peace? I think I will. It is a subject that I have really thought and worked on, you know. So: no one besides yourself will ever help you get to it; everyone, … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Music, Notebook

Paolo C & François O

Concert of the year? Paolo Conte’s shows are always special, but his Festival Hall date on Saturday – part of the London Jazz Festival – was even more atmospheric than usual. (The venue helped. Last time I saw him, a … Continue reading

Posted in Film, Music

The Times’s man in Beijing, 1900

George Ernest Morrison liked to think of himself as an empire-builder in the Cecil Rhodes mould. The Boxers’ siege of China’s capital certainly gave his a chance to enrich himself. This account comes from “Hermit of Peking”. Hugh Trevor-Roper’s biography of … Continue reading

Posted in History, Journalism, Literature


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In praise of the time travellers

I have a feature on those multilingual lounge wizards, Pink Martini, in the Sunday Times [£]. Here’s one of the new additions to their repertoire, sung by the wonderfully named Storm Large (former stalwart of a band called The Balls).

Posted in Music, Uncategorized


“Socially, I am a snob,” Hugh confessed. “I like the world of grace and leisure and the opulence necessary to maintain it. But in fact, though I always look for it there first, I seldom find it in its traditional … Continue reading

Posted in Class, History, Notebook

Eric by Ringo

Ringo Starr’s shot of Eric Sykes on the set of  “A Hard Day’s Night”. From a Mojo article on the Beatles drummer’s sideline as a photographer.

Posted in Uncategorized


Both remained intellectually curious into their ninth decades, and both obviously enjoyed their exchanges. “How literate and wide-ranging the best scientists are!” Hugh exclaimed, after reading a book Perutz had sent him. “I always felt somewhat ashamed of the Arts … Continue reading

Posted in History, Notebook

When Anoushka met Norah

Diwali is a good time to review Anoushka Shankar’s new album, “Traces of You”, which has  a cameo or two from her half-sister, Norah Jones. My other Sunday Times album is Blue Pepper’s “Echoes of Swing”. (Both paywalled, of course.)

Posted in Music


Incidentally, Tuttle took us out to visit Charlie Chaplin last Sunday. Quelle disappointment! Charlie is now a fattish, ageing man, and he insists on being the life of the party. He was bounding around all afternoon, clowning, grimacing, putting on native … Continue reading

Posted in Comedy, Film, Music, Notebook