Monthly Archives: March 2014

The real John Wayne

Seems there was more to him than we thought.  A new biography wins praise from Peter Bogdanovich: The portrait Eyman paints very much resembles the Wayne I knew for nearly 15 years: extremely likable, guileless, exuberant, even strangely innocent. Hawks, … Continue reading

Posted in Film | Leave a comment

The toilet roll as sketch book

Classic Stanley Spencer: a scene from painter Lachlan Goudie’s thoroughly absorbing TV documentary about the Clyde shipyard paintings. (You can watch a short clip on the programme’s website.)  About 15 years ago, another of Spencer’s famous toilet rolls, from a … Continue reading

Posted in Art, History | Leave a comment


Etonians, it is alleged, have problems with such banal conventions as the traffic code. In the old days they disregarded licensing laws. Among Etonians (the accusation has been levelled at myself) the existence of a servant class is taken for … Continue reading

Posted in Class, Education, Notebook | Leave a comment

Christ Church

Peering in, Oxford.    

Posted in Architecture, Photography | Leave a comment


Then he said meanwhile, what about we take in a film this evening? But that was no good to me, because you don’t go into Soho to see films, because Soho is a film, and anyway, most times I go … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Notebook | Leave a comment


I spent yesterday evening at Hatfield House — home to the Folk By The Oak festival —  where Bella Hardy, Martin Simpson & Co premiered The Elizabethan Session, the fruit of a week-long “incarceration” in a house in deepest Herefordshire. … Continue reading

Posted in History, Music | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The murder of Kitty Genovese & the making of an urban myth

Nicholas Lemann, incisive as ever, in a New Yorker article about the 50th anniversary of the case that changed the way New Yorkers looked at their city and themselves: The fact that this crime, one of six hundred and thirty-six murders … Continue reading

Posted in History, Journalism, US politics | Leave a comment


Jeremy Denk brings his version of the Goldberg Variations to London soon. Can’t wait. Here he is, indulging  in a little of his “nerd speak”.

Posted in Music | Leave a comment

The search for MH370

As the world begins to run out of theories, one of James Fallows’ readers wonders if Hergé got their first: The numerous parallels are quite interesting…it’s a crew takeover, they drop out of sight of radar, it all takes place … Continue reading

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Artificial intelligence, genuine attitude

Introducing Victor, the trash-talking, Scrabble-playing robot: When he is winning, Victor is likely to be boastful, uttering such lines as: “I am the current king of Scrabble, Victor the Mechanical Marvel. That’s Victor the Brilliant for short.” When losing, he … Continue reading

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment