Monthly Archives: January 2014

Diego Rivera vs The Rockfellers

“What other Worker-Leader could Rockefeller expect me to paint?” A fascinating account of the artist’s attempt to smuggle the father of the Russian Revolution into his frescoes at the Rockefeller Centre.  His patron, understandably enough, was  none too impressed. Rivera … Continue reading

Posted in Art, History

On not enjoying 12 Years A Slave

It’s becoming one of my annual rituals. Along comes the film that the critics are going crazy for, yet when I venture out to see it I’m left feeling irritated and deflated.  Was Gravity really a masterpiece? No, ultimately just … Continue reading

Posted in Film, History, Race

BM (Before Murray)

Archive footage from a more leisurely sporting era.

Posted in Film, History, Sport


Tennis is the sport in which you talk to yourself. No athletes talk to themselves like tennis players. Pitchers, golfers, goalkeepers, they mutter to themselves, of course, but tennis players talk to themselves — and answer. In the heat of a … Continue reading

Posted in Notebook, Sport | 2 Comments

Not quite easy listening

Discovered while browsing through the new releases from Frémaux & Assocs, one of my favourite French labels: four CDs’ worth of arcane philosophical musings. Still, anything is better than punk rock in my book. By the way, Frémaux was also the … Continue reading

Posted in Music

Frank Luntz vs America

Having failed to unseat Barack Obama, the focus group guru seems to be going through an existential crisis.  No wonder he’s moving to Las Vegas. Excellent piece by Molly Ball in The Atlantic: Luntz’s work has always been predicated on … Continue reading

Posted in US politics

Everything you always wanted to know about Woody Allen

“Woody’s other family tree…” The last word in Konigsbergian genealogy charts.

Posted in Comedy

The Great Christmas Tree Massacre

It’s that time of year again: Twelfth Night and all that. I’ve already made the run to the recycling centre.  

Posted in Comedy


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

Posted in Uncategorized