Monthly Archives: January 2014

Not just victims

I finished 12 Years A Slave this evening. As I suspected, it’s much more nuanced than the film. The men and women on the plantation aren’t just ciphers. Yes, they suffer. Yet sometimes they find a way to resist. Epps … Continue reading

Posted in Film, History, Literature, Race

Dory & The Lady

Excellent news… Kate Dimbleby is bringing her Dory Previn show to Crazy Coqs next month. That version of The Lady With The Braid, with Naadia Sheriff at the piano, has been rattling around my head for a couple of years now.

Posted in Music


Discovered in a secondhand bookshop: a stash of Trollopes in pristine condition. In the end I bought just one of the lesser-known titles, The American Senator, which has started very promisingly. Over the years I’ve read about 25 of the … Continue reading

Posted in Literature


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

In memoriam: Tom Jobim

Saturday would have been his 87th birthday; 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of his death. To people who don’t know his music that well, Antonio Carlos Jobim will always be the man who immortalized the girl from Ipanema. There was … Continue reading

Posted in Brazil, Music

Can a film be great if you only want to see it once?

Film critic Mick LaSalle thinks “12 Years A Slave” is one of the films of the year. But he has a caveat: One question nags at me — and would nag me even more if I were a member of … Continue reading

Posted in Film, History


Barcelona from above, part of a Buzzfeed feature on aerial views of great cities. “Tout est beau vu d’en haut.”  [Via ArunLeParisien]

Posted in Architecture, Photography


In his will Lenin had expressed the wish to be buried next to his mother’s grave in Petrograd. That was also the wish of his family. But Stalin wanted to embalm the corpse. If he was to prove that “Leninism … Continue reading

Posted in History, Notebook

Claudio Abbado RIP

  Into the sunlight with the Andante from Mahler’s Sixth, played by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. I was lucky enough to see Abbado conduct the same piece in London back in the 1980s. An unforgettable night.  The Economist pays tribute (“Playing … Continue reading

Posted in Music

Taking It Apart

My first five-star review [£] of the year: the long-overdue London première of Stephen Sondheim’s “Putting It Together”.

Posted in Music, Theatre